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The Last of Us Part 1: Is the Remake of a Classic Game Worth It?

Naughty Dog have remade their most popular title – The Last of Us – for PS5. Widely considered one of the greatest video games of all time, The Last of Us won countless awards when it was first released for PS3. But the franchise is not without controversy. Some fans disliked the character arcs of the sequel, released in 2020. Part 2 offered flashbacks to the original game in cutscenes, remade with the latest technology. Not long afterwards, the remake of Part 1 was announced, drawing mixed responses.

Some fans were happy to revisit a cult classic. Others argued that the remake was unnecessary after the 2014 remaster. And more still were opposed to the hefty $70 price tag. But is The Last of Us Part 1 remake worthwhile? Let’s find out.

The Pros


The world of The Last of Us is a big part of what made this game such a runaway success the first time around. Whether you’re exploring the gloomy decay of post-apocalyptic Boston, the southern gothic vibes of Bill’s Town, the deceptive pastoral charm of Silver Lake, or the dank horror of infested sewers and basements, The Last of Us is a world rich in atmosphere.

Bill’s Town

The remnants of humanity face a desperate struggle to survive. Not only must the last remaining humans go up against the infected, but one another. Resources are scarce. And the world is as much a character as Joel or Ellie.

Naughty Dog show a remarkable attention to detail in every location. Lighting is exquisitely rendered. The rippling of water and the carefully textured leaves on trees add a realism that was previously lacking. The whole world is visually stunning and feels much bigger as a result. Between bouts of combat, there’s a real temptation to linger and take in every detail – which you can capture with the new Photographic Mode.

Improved Character Models

If you thought Joel’s loss at the climax of the opening chapter couldn’t get any more heart-breaking, you’d be wrong. With his and Sarah’s terror shown in full HDR, every drop of emotion is squeezed from this pivotal scene. The nuance of characters’ facial expressions makes the game even more compelling.

In addition, Black characters’ skin tones and hair textures have also significantly improved. Natural hair was easily one of the weakest graphics in the original game, weirdly static and without definition. But now Riley (Ellie’s first girlfriend), Marlene, Sam, and Henry all look dramatically more realistic. And the care Naughty Dog have taken with these characters really shows.


Combat is even more richly rewarding in the remake. Enemies’ depth of vision, the patterns of their patrol, and their responses to the player have all evolved dramatically. This makes The Last of Us even more challenging. The fact your enemies are more intelligent, more responsive, creates a fully immersive gaming experience. Part 1 now matches the quality of Part 2.

The sophistication of the engines that went into crafting the remake mean that the world is more responsive to combat. This is never more noticeable than when Joel comes up against the tank in Pittsburg. As bullets rain hellfire down upon our characters, fragments of cement chip; objects are sent flying. The world responds in a believable way, adding to the intensity of those scenes.


The Last of Us Part 2 broke new ground with accessibility in gaming, with more than 60 accessibility settings. Options focussed on fine-motor and hearing, as well as features made specifically for low-vision and blind players, opened doors that had previously been shut in the faces of disabled gamers. Some called it the most accessible game ever made.

The Part 1 remake builds on that success. It comes with audio descriptions for cutscenes in all available languages, haptic feedback for dialogue, and the ability to set alternate controls.


For the Trophy Hunters among us, The Last of Us Part 1 offers fresh opportunities. There are 29 trophies in total: seven gold, seven silver, fourteen bronze – and one platinum for earning all the others.

In the original game, achievements relating to speech were notoriously buggy. Even if you listened to all of Ellie’s (horrendous) jokes, the That’s All I’ve Got trophy often failed to materialize. Even more frustrating was the I Want to Talk About It trophy. In the University Level (Go Bighorns!) there were multiple Firefly tags to comment on – but unless you picked a certain one, it didn’t count towards your total optional conversations.

Fortunately, these glitches have been ironed out. But do be aware that you need to find a total of 97 collectibles in Left Behind as well as The Last of Us to unlock the Chronicles trophy. The same goes for jokes and conversations.

New Features

Naughty Dog really listened to what fans wanted. They’ve added significant new features. For gamers who like a challenge, there’s a Permadeath mode. This setting adds a whole new layer of urgency to a survival horror game. If you lose all your health, you go back to the start or the chapter or even the very beginning of the game, potentially losing hours of play. When the stakes are that high, like Joel said to Ellie, “you make every bullet count.”

There’s also a Speedrun option for players who want to know just how quickly they can complete The Last of Us. This is a real test of skill. Keeping a level head and making the most efficient choices is not always easy when hoards of infected threaten to swarm Joel and Ellie.

The Cons

Remake vs Remaster

Naughty Dog advertised The Last of Us Part 1 as a remake to justify releasing the same game for a third time. But some players dispute that claim. While characters, combat, and settings have all been rebuilt from the ground up, many aspects of the game are unchanged.

Naughty Dog are using the same motion capture and voice performances of the original. They’ve kept an identical soundtrack. Collectibles are in the same locations. Resources are in the same locations. And the map of every area remains exactly the same. If you’re looking for an entirely new reworking of the game, you will be disappointed.

No Online Gameplay

The Last of Us originally came with an online, multiplayer option that proved hugely popular: The Last of Us Factions. Players could opt to join the Fireflies or Hunters, teaming up to take down the enemy. It’s a testament to how beloved this feature is that nine years and two generations of console later, people still play Factions.

Unfortunately, Naughty Dog chose not to include online gameplay in the remake. Which left many long-term disappointed. If multi-player is your thing, The Last of Us Part 1 isn’t for you.

The Price

We talked about how many people were brought in by the game’s accessibility features. But now we need to recognise that just as many will be shut out be the $70 price tag. The Last of Us Part 1 isn’t the only PS5 game to cost so much. But $70 is not cheap. There’s no getting around that fact.

When you consider the thousands of hours of labour and skill that go into crafting a video game, and the countless hours of enjoyment players find in it, that figure doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable. But – as many have pointed out – it’s not exactly a remake. Gameplay is extremely similar.

Naughty Dog already had the voiceovers, motion captures, and soundtrack necessary – and all of those savings could have been reflected in the price, passed on to players. Instead Naughty Dog charged towards the upper limit of PS5 games. And with The Last of Us Part 1 being released just months ahead of HBO’s TV adaptation of the story, some consider it a cynical cash grab on Naughty Dog’s part.

The Verdict

Should you play The Last of Us Part 1? If you can afford it, yes. It’s one of the most visually striking games ever made. The characters, world, and premise are thoroughly compelling. And the remake is the closest you can come to the joy and wonder of playing the original for the first time.


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