Naughty Dog's crown jewel, The Last of Us, is getting the remake treatment. Fittingly titled The Last of Us Part 1, this game is enhancing different aspects of the original game, which has naturally led to some questions about what is changing and what isn't.
If you're trying to discern what's new with The Last of Us Part 1 on PS5, we're here to help. Comparisons of the game and details from the developers paint a clear picture of what players can expect, regardless of whether or not this is their first time with the game.
What is The Last of Us Part 1?
The Last of Us Part 1 is a remake of The Last of Us, the 2013 PS3 game developed by Naughty Dog and published by PlayStation Studios. In it, a fungal infection wipes out massive chunks of the human population, reducing the world to a shell of its former self. A smuggler named Joel is tasked with transporting a girl named Ellie, and the two bond as they struggle across a broken U.S.
The game would then be remastered and released on the PS4 in 2014, with a higher framerate, resolution, and improved texture quality. Unlike that remaster, The Last of Us Part 1 is a full remake, with new assets, adjusted cutscenes, and more detail packed into practically every aspect of the game.
The Last of Us Part 1 is coming to PS5, with a PC release planned for further down the line. If you're interested in trying to grab a special edition, you can consult our preorder guide for The Last of Us Part 1.
The Last of Us Part 1 comparisons
Below, you can see a shot of the dam from early in the Fall chapter of The Last of Us Remastered, running on a PS4 Pro (tap or click the upper-right corner to enlarge the images).
Now, let's take a look at that same area in The Last of Us Part 1, running on a PS5.
As you can see, The Last of Us Part 1 has denser foliage, more realistic fog effects, more detailed textures, better looking water, and an overall higher image quality compared to The Last of Us Remastered.
We can also compare the cutscenes and character models. Unlike the gameplay, this isn't one-to-one, as Naughty Dog has adjusted the camera angles in some cutscenes to better take advantage of the improved facial detail being pulled from the original performance captures. Below, you can see a shot of Ellie and Riley in The Last of Us Remastered on PS4 Pro.
Now, here's that same cutscene in The Last of Us Part 1 on PS5.
The Last of Us Part 1 has two visual modes to choose from, with native 4K at 30 FPS, or dynamic 4K at 60 FPS, allowing players to prioritize a smoother framerate or crank the visuals up as far as possible.
The Last of Us Part 1 gameplay footage
Naughty Dog put together a video going over some of the changes, with comparisons and bits of gameplay footage accompanied by commentary from the developers, which you can see below.
"The original creative vision of The Last of Us, I think in a lot of ways was larger than what the PlayStation 3 was capable of," says game director Matthew Gallant.
You can see an additional comparison clip below, showing an early section of the game in The Last of Us Remastered vs. The Last of Us Part 1.
The Last of Us Part 1 gameplay changes
Outside of the extensive visual changes, The Last of Us Part 1 features improved AI, with Naughty Dog pulling from the advancements made on The Last of Us Part 2. This means that enemies react more realistically and will flank players in more intelligent ways, making many of the game's combat encounters more difficult.
Companion AI has similarly been improved, especially when sneaking around, so there's reduced awkward situations where a Clicker clearly sees Ellie but doesn't react.
The game may technically play the same way, but the feeling has been drastically improved thanks to the DualSense haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, which convey more realistic sensations regardless of what the player is doing.
The team has also introduced numerous new accessibility features, including audio description for cutscenes, removing obstacles that may have kept some players from enjoying the original game.
Thanks to the PS5's ultra-fast SSD, initial loading times for the game will be much faster, so players who resume their journeys won't be greeted by the lengthy loading times of the original experience.
There's also new ways to play the game. The Last of Us Part 1 features a permadeath mode, where dying will send you back to the very beginning of the game. Speedrunners can enjoy the official speedrun mode, which measures a player's time as they go through the game.
Does The Last of Us Part 1 have Factions?
There's one big removal in The Last of Us Part 1: The Factions multiplayer mode will no longer be present.
Naughty Dog originally intended to launch a new version of Factions alongside The Last of Us Part 2, but this multiplayer experience grew in scope and was delayed past the launch of the single-player story, eventually growing to the point it is now its own project. All we have right now is the concept art above, though Neil Druckmann, co-president at Naughty Dog, has stated that more will be shared in 2023.
So for now, if you want to play Factions multiplayer, the only option is playing it through The Last of Us Remastered. If you don't want to buy that older version of the game, it's included in PlayStation Plus Premium.
The Last of Us Part 1 release date
The Last of Us Part 1 is scheduled to launch on Sep. 2, 2022 for PS5. The PC version of the game does not currently have a release window, but is said by developers on the game to not be too far behind the console launch.
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