Can you improve perfection? Should you even try? These and many more questions raise their troubling heads in this latest edition of the 2013 post-apocalyptic Sperm Heart.
In a world ravaged by a plant infection, everyone is turned into a zombie, a grieving father and a feisty teenage girl on a journey across America in search of sanctuary. As a game, it was flawless nine years ago on PS3 when the first version was released by veteran studio Naughty Dog. We were amazed by the landscape art. We were amazed at the development of the emotional bond between Joel the grizzly and the wide-eyed Ellie. We were startled by the outrageous and outright violence the couple witnessed and perpetrated as they overcame both savage and infected bandits and ruthless soldiers. Most of all, we were impressed with the final blow, where (spoiler alert) one’s survival needs outweigh many.
Make no mistake, Part One of The Last of Us is a definite entry in the emergence of gaming as a legitimate art form, only surpassed in the genre by its 2020 sequel and with themes that echo literary greats like Cormac McCarthy.
But wait, wasn’t this paraphrased before? Good call, sensei. Naughty Dog didn’t wait more than a year after the initial release to produce a remastered version for PS4 – one that’s still available to PS Plus subscribers for free.
So here we are almost a decade from its inception and it has been redesigned. We have to ask why, although it is not as if this is not a common practice in other arts. How many variants of classic albums have we seen? Casablanca is getting an Ultra 4K re-release this month. The books are frequently reissued with a new cover and a different introduction.
The Last of Us Part 1 takes the original masterpiece and doesn’t change the storyline of this PS5 upgrade. Of course, subtle visual improvements regularly make themselves known – water splashes on the camera, increased accuracy of facial expressions. But none of that was bad at first. Will Bogart and Bergman’s doomed relationship be further damaged if Casablanca is revived in color? of course not.
Meanwhile, Ellie’s AI demeanor allows her to fly into the glare of enemies often without reacting. Could it not have been fixed?
This new enhancer also includes Left Behind DLC but blatantly removes the multiplayer element altogether. We also get some behind-the-scenes made content that gives an insight into the process of Naughty Dog. As we saw in The Last of Us Part 2, Naughty Dog is fully committed to accessibility for mobility-challenged players. The replay of Part One includes many new options to help anyone struggling with motor skills. It allows any player to set their own difficulty level thanks to the help of goal events and quick time. As features, they are all welcome but do not change the basic equation for the audience as a whole.
However, Sony wants to charge 70 euros for this brilliant offer but slightly more than the original? It’s not the end of the world but it’s a bit cocky.