The Last of Us: Part II Remastered

The Last of Us: Part II Remastered

See you next year for The Last of Us: Part I & II Remastered Collection.

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How much do you like The Last of Us? This is the question that pretty much defines this review, because it's the deciding factor in whether you've already determined if this game is for you or not. If you've played The Last of Us: Part II, you already know if you want to play through that story again. If you've seen the show and fallen in love with it, once more your purchase is likely pre-determined.

There has not been a lot of time since the launch of the original The Last of Us: Part II. Less than four years, if you can believe it. The second part of Ellie's story, the gritty, bloody tale of revenge that has her carve a vicious path through the streets of Seattle will still be fresh in a lot of player's memories. And what a story it is, by the way. If nothing else, this is what you come to The Last of Us for. No one is here purely for the gameplay. The reason you get attached to this post-apocalyptic world is because of Ellie. It's because of Joel. It's because of Dina, Tommy, even Abby. However, the stories of The Last of Us often leave you feeling pretty satisfied once you're done with them. As is the case with most of Sony's first-party titles over the last five years or so, once the credits roll, it feels like time to move on to something else.

The Last of Us: Part II Remastered

Of course, this comes down to personal preference, but The Last of Us: Part II Remastered has tried to implement a bit more replayability with No Return, the roguelike mode that is the main excuse for you to cough up £10 to play this new version of the 2020 game and a few more features that unfortunately don't really stand out. The base game was already gorgeous so you barely notice the graphical changes, and the additional extras like the Lost Levels really don't take that much time.

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We're then left with No Return. Offering ten playable characters and a few different game modes within a run, there's a fair chunk of variety here. You also get plenty of enemies to fight, and can tune the difficulty to your liking. Between each mission, you can get new guns, supplies, and more to flesh out your build. Each of the characters have their own unique abilities too, but it becomes clear after a few hours that a lot of these changes are quite minor. If you're not an absolute mega fan of The Last of Us, it's hard to want to do run after run, unlike another Sony roguelike DLC which released late last year. It might seem an unfair comparison to pit No Return against God of War Ragnarök: Valhalla, but where the latter brings a truly fresh experience while sprinkling in the true end to the story we never knew we needed - all of which comes for free, might I add - the former feels like a game mode tacked on largely because something had to justify you spending money on The Last of Us: Part II Remastered.

The Last of Us: Part II Remastered

The skins, concept art, and additional extras are all fine and dandy, but again I'll draw you back to the first line of this review, as they'll only really matter to you depending on how much you love The Last of Us. The Lost Levels are fun, but again do not last very long at all. It's probably best to liken them to playable YouTube videos. It's interesting to hear about what these levels were supposed to be and mess about a bit in them, but they're a bit like going to a museum, or staring at an idyllic painting. How long can you really look before deciding you've given them enough of your time? Results will vary.

And yet, even with a fair chunk of the extra content feeling lacklustre, the core content, AKA the base game that launched back in 2020, is so good that it elevates The Last of Us: Part II Remastered out of middling waters. Naughty Dog truly took a great leap up in terms of writing, pacing, storytelling and gameplay with The Last of Us: Part II (we can finally jump), in a way that few studios have done before. The best example I can think of is Rockstar's work with Red Dead Redemption and its sequel. Even if it's more stressful than it is fun most of the time, The Last of Us: Part II is a worthwhile experience for anyone who wants to see how the medium of video games can push itself, where narratives are involved at least.

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The Last of Us: Part II Remastered

Another run through can be worthwhile, if you can face the stress and dog murdering once more. I particularly found Abby's story a lot more engaging this time around, as now that we're quite removed from the pool of toxic waste that was discourse around this game and this character in 2020, it feels like you can just enjoy the product for what Naughty Dog made it to be. Does that excuse the fact that this is the third remaster/remake in a franchise that has seen the release of two games? Once more, I ask how much do you like The Last of Us?

A game review's job is usually to recommend a title to its audience. And yet, that job seems to have already been done, back in 2020. The Last of Us: Part II Remastered is therefore quite difficult to talk about. Besides No Return, most of the things that differentiate it from the base game are not that noteworthy. Even then, the addition of the roguelike mode will only please those who are impossibly hungry for more of The Last of Us, and want to play as Joel one more time. As what is probably going to be the last bit of content The Last of Us will see for some time (and hopefully the last remaster), it's excusable to get this upgrade for the £10 cost, but even the most die-hard fans should take a moment before shelling out the full £45. If any other developer, with any other franchise tried to pull something like this, they would be laughed at, but people simply adore The Last of Us.

The Last of Us: Part II Remastered
08 Gamereactor UK
8 / 10
The same game you know and love, outstanding story, fits in easily with the rest of the PS5's library in terms of graphics
Unless you're just upgrading from the base game it's hard to justify the purchase, most of the extra content doesn't stand out
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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