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Three and a half years after its hugely successful launch of what was the PS4’s end of life cycle in June 2020, The Last of Us Part II was and is still is regarded as one of the best titles to launch for that generation of consoles. Flash forward to today and with a 2022 remaster of the first instalment in the series and a hugely successful HBO series taken place in the interim, Naughty Dog has brought one of their most highly lauded titled to the PS5. Is it too soon to even classify this title as a ‘remaster’ and was it even worth the uprgade to the PS5? Read on to find out in our review of The Last of Us Part II Remastered on PS5.

The Last of Us Part II Remastered Review | TheEffect.NetStory

As part of our original review for the launch of the PS4 version of this instalment in the series, we covered the general narrative arc for the Last of Us Part II which you can read here. As we mentioned in our review, this is definitely one of the most emotionally intense games we’ve ever played. Scenarios arise that make you both question and understand your motives, all at the same time and Ellie’s journey is far from easy. Naughty Dog are one of the best in the business when it comes to strong, narratively-driven titles and as expected, Part II is no exception.

The Last of Us Part II Remastered Review | TheEffect.NetFor me, having reviewed the PS4 version for its launch in June 2020, I wasn’t sure if playing through the remastered version in 2023 would be ‘too soon’. As I made my way through the story again though, I was instantly reminded just how well crafted the overall narrative arc is and I almost wish I was able to experience this playthrough as a first timer as it really is one of the most immersive stories in modern gaming.

Gameplay

Again, the vast majority of gameplay aspects from the PS4 version of this game are present here with the PS5’s unique DualSense controller really adding that next level of immersion in gameplay. The adaptive triggers and haptic feedback features are used to full affect with, for example, the crossbow providing resistance during intense combat scenarios and subtle vibrations jumping around the controller when making your way around a rain-soaked Seattle. For a much more comprehensive breakdown of the various gameplay features and aspects in this title, you can read our PS4 review here.

Visuals

As expected, The Last of Us Part II remastered looks absolutely fantastic running on PS5. We played using the ‘Fidelity’ mode as we really appreciate the native 4K resolution and wanted to be able to really appreciate the upgraded textures, shadows and draw distances.

The native 4K resolution in particular delivers ones of the most visually striking and details titles currently available on PS5 with post-outbreak Seattle looking stunningly realised when playing on a 4K display. The improved textures and shadows also increase the overall visual fidelity on display and there are moments you feel like you’re playing a fully realised high-budget TV productions, the visuals are that well executed.

The remastered version also supports 1440p upscaled to 4K in its Performance Mode, and an Unlocked Framerate option for TVs that support VRR along with improved load times thanks to the PS5’s superfast SSD hard drive.

The Last of Us: Part II Remastered Review | TheEffect.NetNew Modes

As part of this newly remastered version of the game, Naughty Dog has included a number of new modes and additional features with the main addition being the new ‘No Return’ mode.

No Return represents a fresh exploration within The Last of Us universe and allows players to chart their own course and challenge their abilities through a series of randomised encounters. These encounters immerse you in familiar locations from The Last of Us Part II’s campaign, such as Jackson, the Channel 13 News Station, and more.

Similar to the recently launched God of War Ragnarök: Valhalla DLC, which presents a rogue-like approach to gameplay,  these scenarios bring a sense of unfamiliarity and unpredictability, featuring unique gameplay twists. It’s crucial to note that death is irrevocable in No Return. Failing a run midway results in the loss of all accumulated weapons, items, and upgrades, necessitating a fresh start with a new set of randomised scenarios.

The Last of Us: Part II Remastered Review | TheEffect.NetProgression during a run isn’t predetermined; players must make choices between different encounters. These choices not only influence the type of gameplay mode you face but also determine the rewards you unlock, potential modifiers you encounter, and more. Between combat scenarios, you’ll return to a Hideout, where you can prepare and select your next fight using a path displayed on a corkboard in familiar locations.

Should you successfully navigate an entire run, you’ll confront one of six progressively unlocked boss encounters. After conquering all six, these bosses will randomly conclude future runs. These encounters feature some of Part II’s most memorable enemies, albeit with unexpected twists. Regardless of whether a run concludes in victory or succumbs to a Clicker or Hunter midway, each run culminates in a score, and your performance earns you a rank.

The Last of Us: Part II Remastered Review | TheEffect.NetNo Return presents challenges across four distinct categories: Assault, where you face waves of enemies; Capture, requiring you to infiltrate a secure location guarded by enemies to access valuable supplies; Holdout, a scenario where you and an AI-controlled companion fend off swarming Infected; and Hunted, challenging you to endure until the timer expires amidst relentless enemy reinforcements.

Overall, this really is a fantastic additional to the overall remastered offering and worth the €10 upgrade price alone for fans of rogue-like experiences featuring immersive and intense gameplay scenarios.

Naughty Dog have also included what they call ‘Lost Levels’ which comprise of sequences and locations which never made it into the original title. However, these three particular missions are experienced in their pre-development stages, so they’re slightly rougher around the edges and serve more as BTS content than actual gameplay expansions.

Other, slightly less significant new modes and features for this remastered version include the self-explanatory ‘Speed Run’ mode which supports a leader board feature along with a ‘Guitar Free Play’ mode, for people who want to mess around with the interactive guitar sequences in the game.

Conclusion

If it’s not apparent already, this really is the definitive way to experience Naughty Dog’s most accomplished title to date. The Last of Us Part II was already one of the most immersive and visually stunning titles in gaming when it launched on PS4 in 2020 and now, with its remastered release on PS5, this truly is a showpiece title for Sony’s latest console and a must play for any who enjoys incredibly well crafted single player experiences.

The Last of Us Part II Remastered Pricing & Availability

The Last of Us Part II Remastered is available as a €10 upgrade option for existing owners of the PS4 version of the game of €49.99 for the PS5 version.

REVIEW: The Last of Us Part II Remastered
  • Story
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals
  • New Modes
4.6

Summary

The Last of Us Part II was already one of the most immersive and visually stunning titles in gaming when it launched on PS4 in 2020 and now, with its remastered release on PS5, this truly is a showpiece title for Sony’s latest console and a must play for any who enjoys incredibly well crafted single player experiences.

John Reilly

John is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheEffect.Net. His favourite gaming series is Uncharted and his favourite film is Interstellar. He is also known to quote 'Father Ted' and Keith Lemon more than is normal. John@theeffect.net