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Game review: The Last of Us Part II Remastered
Thu, 18th Jan 2024

Naughty Dog has always been one of the best game developers in history. The studio first got famous releasing the excellent Crash Bandicoot series on PSOne, but more recently hits like Uncharted and The Last of Us have taken the world by storm. 

Sadly, though, Naughty Dog still hasn’t released an entirely new game in the PS5 generation. Naughty Dog has released remasters and remakes such as Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection and The Last of Us Part 1. It’s now 2024, and another rerelease is here with The Last of Us Part II Remastered out exclusively for PS5. 

I’m usually not a big fan of remakes or remasters if the original game came out recently. For example, the original The Last of Us Part II came out in 2020, and it still looks and plays amazingly on a PS4 Pro console. This is unlike Capcom’s Resident Evil remakes, which have superior graphics and gameplay compared to their PSOne counterparts. 

That being said, The Last of Us Part II Remastered can thankfully be bought at a cheap price if you already own the original game. For those that already own The Last of Us Part II on PS4, they can upgrade to the PS5 version for only $19.99 if you live in New Zealand. This is much better than The Last of Us Part 1 remake, which was only available at full price!

Before I talk about the main game, The Last of Us Part II Remastered comes with three new game modes not seen in the original 2020 release. One of the more interesting additions to this release is some deleted playable levels. Deleted scenes are usually included in movie Blu-rays, so it’s interesting it has been added here in this game. 

There are three deleted or ‘lost’ levels that are playable in this game, and all of them feature Ellie. Aside from playing through the levels, they offer some insightful director’s commentary, too, explaining why the levels had to be deleted in the first place. The levels are a bit rough because not all of the voice acting was recorded, and some animation is lost. 

The first deleted level is a cool scene where there is a party happening in Jackson City. This level is actually cool because Ellie can socialise with the locals and even play some fun carnival games. It’s the only lost level that I feel should not have been deleted in the first place. 

For the second level, I can understand why it was deleted. Here in this level, you play as Ellie, and you have to navigate your way through some dirty sewers. I thought this level was boring and redundant, so I’m glad it wasn’t included in the final game. 

The final level is a bit sad because Ellie is hunting a boar for sport and not for food. I can understand why this level was cut because it’s sad, and they didn’t want to show Ellie in a negative light killing an innocent boar. 

The biggest new game mode in The Last of Us Part II Remastered is a mode called ‘No Return’. This is a new rogue-like survival mode where you only have one life bar, and you have to survive through levels featuring waves and waves of human enemies and infected. It’s similar to the zombie modes you may see in modern Call of Duty games. 

At the start of this mode, only Ellie and Abby are playable characters. However, if you unlock certain conditions, other characters from the main game can be playable. Some of the other playable characters include Joel, Tommy, Dina, Jesse, Lev, and more. Some bonus skins are also available if you want to dress them up!

Many of the levels are based on the locations that you encounter in the main game, and you are free to choose your own difficulty level. Much like the main game, the human enemies are far easier to defeat than the infected baddies. If you go far enough in this mode, you can also get to face some boss battles, too.

You can also unlock unique game modifiers, customising your experience if you want to make this easier or harder on yourself. For example, you could customise the game mode by only including human enemies if you hate fighting against the infected. This game mode is fun, and I’m sure most people will spend the majority of their time on No Return. 

The last game mode you can play is free playing on the guitar. If you are good at playing a guitar in real life, you can play some awesome tunes. I didn’t spend too much time on this mode, though, because my knowledge of musical notes is minimal. It should be a fun mode for those more musically talented, though. 

As for the main game itself, The Last of Us Part II Remastered looks absolutely gorgeous on the PS5 system. This version of the game offers 4K visuals and faster framerates. People with a keen eye can also pinpoint some better textures with this release. 

That being said, the gameplay and graphics are not a huge leap compared to the PS4 Pro version I played already. Remember, this game is a remaster and not a remake, so don’t expect to see or experience many drastic changes. This game isn’t like a Resident Evil remake where both the graphics and gameplay have been overhauled completely. 

Not to mention, people who hated the story of The Last of Us Part II are unlikely to come back for this release, either. I’m not going to spoil anything in this review, but I highly doubt haters of the original game want to revisit this remaster because nothing has changed.

I still enjoyed playing the campaign for a second time, but I don’t think this remaster is a necessary one for casual fans. If you already own The Last of Us Part II on PS4, you don’t really need to play this remaster unless you want to spend the extra $20 on the newer game modes. 

Overall, The Last of Us Part II Remastered is a rerelease that features some fun new game modes and nothing else too major. Sure the graphics are nice, but the gameplay is the same and it’s not really an essential purchase for those that already own the original game.  

Source: 8.0/10