The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Review | The Last of Us Part II Remastered is a great upgrade for a not-so-great price

Photo courtesy of IMDb
Ellie Williams voiced by Ashley Johnson in “The Last of Us Part II Remastered.”

The Last of Us Part II Remastered is a remaster of Naughty Dog’s 2020 dystopian action horror game, The Last of Us Part II, exclusively released for the PlayStation 5. 

The remaster was announced back in November after a leak revealed the game’s existence. Since the announcement, there has been skepticism on why a remaster for a game that’s already graphically impressive would come out three and a half years after its release.

The trailer revealed almost little to no changes to the game, which only worsened reactions to its pricing.

For anyone unfamiliar with The Last of Us Part II, the game takes place four years after the first. It follows Ellie, who, after suffering a great tragedy, goes on a search for the group responsible in order to avenge those she lost in this zombie-ridden future. 

The game’s story is fairly divisive among both critics and fans, with some believing the story was a major disappointment following the first game’s story and others praising the game’s powerful narrative, with it even going as far as winning Game of the Year at the 2020 Game Awards.

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In this new remaster, the story remains unchanged. Graphically speaking, there is an improvement that the PlayStation 5 takes advantage of — however, unless you’re spending time pausing and going into photo mode to see how the grass looks clearer, you won’t notice much of the upgraded graphics during your playtime.

The game has two modes: a fidelity mode and a performance mode. The fidelity mode runs the game at a 4K resolution at 30 frames per second. This is the best way to see the new graphical improvements, and the steady 30 fps makes this mode an enjoyable experience.

In performance mode, the game balances both resolution and frame rate, which results in it running with an upscaled resolution of 4K or 1440p — depending on your video output — and a targeted 60 fps. Playing in performance mode is not only super smooth but loses little graphical quality, which is hard to notice when you are moving around fighting a horde of enemies.

The Last of Us Part II Remastered also includes several new additions, such as DualSense support, which adds support for the controller’s usage of haptic feedback; adaptive triggers; and more. Additionally, there are new skins available for the characters and weapons which can only be unlocked by playing the game. 

Another addition in the remaster is the roguelike survival mode No Return. In No Return, players can unlock and play as multiple characters, each of which has their own weapons and abilities, and play through a path of randomized encounters ending with a boss fight. 

At first, I was worried that this new mode would end up being repetitive — however, by unlocking new characters and gameplay mechanics specifically made for No Return, the mode did not get stale after several hours of playing time. The mode was extremely fun and engaging while proving to be a challenge even for veteran players of the series.

If you’re looking for any reason to try out this new remaster, No Return is that reason.

This remaster also added three extra levels that can be played outside of the main story, which were originally for the game but ended up being cut. 

Called the “Lost Levels,” this addition is another interesting element to the game even though they were in the alpha stage of production, meaning several things were missing from the levels — such as dialogue and some other additions.

The last major addition in The Last of Us Part II Remastered is the Guitar Free Play mode, which allows you to play the guitar as Ellie, Joel or even the game’s composer, Gustavo Santaolalla. It’s a simple and fun little mode where you can recreate whatever song you want with different guitars, effects and characters.

All of these additions and upgrades in The Last of Us Part II Remastered are great; however, things begin to get messy when you look at the game’s price tag and the different ways of obtaining it.

For digital PS5 owners, there are two options to get this new remaster: Pay the retail price of $49.99 or — if you’re a previous owner of the digital PS4 version — pay $10 to upgrade your current version.

PS5 owners with a physical disc drive are slightly luckier, as they have the option to either buy a copy of the game for $49.99 or upgrade to the remaster for $10. However, users who upgrade their physical copy of the game can only play the remaster when the disc is inserted into the system. 

Copies of the PS4 edition of The Last of Us Part II are currently selling for around $20 for a used copy and $25 for a new copy. Add $10 to either of those prices, and you end up paying roughly $30 to $35 for what is originally a $50 title.

It’s hard to recommend The Last of Us Part II Remastered to anyone who is currently looking to experience this game at its current price — simply because there is not much added or improved upon to justify that price. 

However, if you can upgrade the game for $10 or purchase a PS4 copy of the game and then upgrade, then the value of what you get for the price you pay is more justified.

Although it has only been around four years since the original release, The Last of Us Part II Remastered is a more detailed version of an already well-rounded game. That said, for a game that is generally worth $25, the upcharge of another $25 is not a great value for what is essentially the same experience plus a fairly fun game mode and a couple of small extras. 

If you can get the $10 upgrade, this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss out on. However, if you are stuck having to pay $49.99, maybe wait for a sale to pick up The Last of Us Part II Remastered.


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