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The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered Review

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One of the greatest games of all time, many are of the opinion that The Last of Us didn’t need a sequel. But not us. And the truth is, Naughty Dog delivered with The Last of Us Part 2, creating a bigger and better follow-up possessing massively improved gameplay and a brave and ambitious story that’s uncompromising and genuinely harrowing at times.

Arriving just before the launch of the PS5, the PS4 version of The Last of Us Part 2 plays well on Sony’s latest console thanks to backwards compatibility. It’s PS5 aware, in fact, allowing it to be played at a silky smooth framerate. It remains one of the best-looking games around, too, with the work put in by Naughty Dog with regards to character animation and suchlike being above and beyond the majority of games out there. But now that the original The Last of Us has a PS5 native remake, it makes sense for The Last of Us Part 2 to have a PS5 native version as well. Enter The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered.

Featuring the original The Last of Us Part 2 campaign along with a wealth of extras and enhancements, The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered is a treat for fans and newcomers alike. In terms of content, there’s nothing new added to the campaign here – it’s exactly the same as when we covered it in our original PS4 review. It now looks and plays better than ever before, however. The usual graphical options you’ve come to expect from a first-party Sony title are available here: you can play in performance mode, pushing a solid 60fps at 1440p, opt for fidelity which targets 30fps at native 4K resolution, and if your TV supports it, you can also independently unlock the framerate. The latter option makes fidelity mode even more enticing, as for the most part the framerate is above 30fps, giving you both visual clarity and performance.

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Whichever mode you choose, though, the graphical enhancements in The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered are plain to see. Textures are sharper and shadows are more detailed – one of the best-looking games of the last decade now has an additional layer of polish that truly makes it stand out. It’s impossible to not be as impressed with the game’s presentation as we were back in 2020. Newcomers would never guess that this is a game originally designed for PS4, while those jumping into The Last of Us Part 2 for the second time or more will no doubt appreciate its facelift.

Related: HBO Has Cast Abby For The Last Of Us Season 2

But it’s the extras outside of the campaign of The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered that makes this re-release essential in our opinion. Some are fun but largely inconsequential, such as the new Guitar Free Play mode which allows you to strum away to your heart’s content. You can choose from a number of character models including Ellie, Joel and even soundtrack composer Gustavo Santaolalla, as well as unlock a variety of different-sounding guitars and apply effects. Some will have great fun trying to recreate classics with it, or simply jamming out.

Those familiar with the game will possibly also appreciate a look behind the scenes. Director’s commentary is now available for the main game which provides a valuable insight, but more interesting is the addition of a trio of Lost Levels that you can now play through. These unfinished scenes, cut from the game generally for pacing reasons, give you a quick peek behind the veil, showing you what could have been while also explaining the rationale for why they didn’t make the cut in the end. Chances are you’ll make your way through them pretty quickly, but it’s nice to be given access to these snippets of game that didn’t make the cut.

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By far the biggest and best new addition in The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered is No Return, a new roguelike mode that’s worthy of the upgrade fee alone. Starting with just Ellie and Abby unlocked and available for play, you must fight to survive through a number of encounters, with you given some choice as to your route to a boss. Between each encounter you’ll briefly return to a safe place, where you can claim a reward in the form of Supplements, coins and spare parts, and then use them to develop your character and manage your loadout before progressing to the next. Die along the way, however, and you’ll have to start again from scratch.

Adding a great deal of longevity and variety to No Return is a large amount of unlockable content and features. As you complete encounters you’ll unlock new characters to play as, for example, such as Joel, Lev, Tommy and even Mel. Each has their own loadout and perks to be considered as well. Ending runs, whether through success or failure, also sees new modes and features being added into the mix, such as Gambits that reward you for completing objectives within encounters, Dead Drops that require you to obtain and drop off specific items at specific bins, and Holdout, which tasks you with keeping a friendly NPC safe from a sustained attack.

All in all, No Return is a substantial offering, and even offers new Trophies to be collected. It’s a new and exciting way to enjoy The Last of Us Part 2, and allows the enhanced gameplay of the sequel to shine in an experience that’s pretty much never-ending thanks to the randomness that’s ultimately on offer as well as the wealth of difficulty options.

Whether you’re brand new to The Last of Us Part 2 or already own it on PS4 and are upgrading to this remastered version for the extra bells and whistles, you’re in for a treat. Thanks to the visual and performance improvements, there’s no better way to experience the grim, shocking and sometimes uncomfortable story of The Last of Us Part 2. And once that ordeal is over, a great effort has been made here to allow you an interesting insight into the game’s development. It’s the elements here that allow you to extend your play that really make the difference, though. From new unlockable outfits to the brilliant No Return roguelike mode, chances are you’ll keep playing The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered long after the credits have rolled.

The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered was facilitated by a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available exclusively on PS5.
Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!