The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered PS5 Review: An Incredible Journey with Limited Advancements
Released in 2020, The Last of Us Part 2 stands out as one of the most emotionally impactful and unsettling narratives ever crafted. Its gameplay loop is deeply satisfying, requiring strategic thinking to navigate through encounters with enemies. Naughty Dog’s commitment to technical and graphic excellence remains evident, solidifying their status as one of the best developers in the industry. Now, after three years, The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered represents an upgraded version of Naughty Dog’s stellar second iteration in the series. However, despite the promise of additional content, some players may find the prospect of upgrading to be pointless.
The narrative remains a benchmark in storytelling for video games, albeit one that hasn’t managed to shake its controversial elements. Little has been updated here, apart from minor graphical enhancements, with the story beats from the original 2020 version retained in all their glory. Its characters, world-building, and heart-wrenching exploration of grief, anger, revenge, and violence are still phenomenal, even on a fifth playthrough, and successfully hold up an otherwise familiar plot that will maintain your interest for its roughly 20-hour runtime. If you were a fan of the game’s story the first time, you’d still love what’s on offer here. If you’re new to it, then you have the definitive zombie apocalypse narrative to enjoy.
“Its characters, world-building, and heart-wrenching exploration of grief, anger, revenge, and violence are still phenomenal.”
The Lost Levels are the most significant narrative change in The Last of Us Part 2. These incorporate early developmental versions of three unexplored levels—Sewers, Jackson Party, and Boar Hunt—not featured in the original game. They feature extensive developer commentary accompanying the levels, offering intriguing insights into the development process. Particularly captivating is Neil Druckmann’s explanation of why each level was created and subsequently omitted from the full game. You can activate chat boxes at specific locations within the levels to have a developer guide you through the design process and rationale behind each element that was going to be in the game. Ultimately, each Lost Level contains a wealth of information, providing valuable insights into the game’s development.
Moreover, The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered introduces DualSense controller support. The inclusion of haptic feedback and adaptive triggers offers a distinctive feel to every weapon, enhancing the game’s overall immersion. This feature has started to become almost expected with every PS5 title, but it’s a welcome addition and elevates the gameplay experience.
“Each Lost Level contains a wealth of information, providing valuable insights into the game’s development.”
No Return is a new roguelike mode introduced in The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered. Following the abandonment of a multiplayer Last of Us game, this may represent the final creative concept for the series until the release of the third installment or a potential Last of Us ultimate edition.
In No Return, your objective is to survive for as long as possible in each run, navigating a path through a sequence of randomized encounters that feature different enemies and locations from the main campaign. A single run involves progressing through five levels before confronting a high-intensity boss fight. Unfortunately, No Return comes with several limitations, with the length of each run being the most significant drawback.
“No Return falls short and doesn’t offer a lasting solution for post-game content in The Last of Us Part 2.”
As previously mentioned, in every run, you’re tasked with completing five distinct levels and a final boss encounter. However, this marks the conclusion of the run and forces you to start an entirely new run, resetting all your progress. Therefore, opportunities to completely upgrade each weapon are limited, and you may not even get an opportunity to be challenged—if you are fortunate with your run. Modifiers, such as invisible enemies and melee kills restoring health, introduce some variation to each round, but these ultimately contribute only minor diversity to the mode, and you’re likely to get bored after playing a few games.
Consistent with the original game, accessibility in this mode is at its peak, allowing players to customize runs by adding or removing specific mods to adjust the difficulty. While this is a commendable feature, the absence of options to extend a run remains a significant limitation.
No Return includes unlockable challenges and skins, providing players with objectives to earn rewards like new characters, skins, modifiers, and additional game elements and modes. Unfortunately, despite these additions, No Return falls short and doesn’t offer a lasting solution for post-game content in The Last of Us Part 2.
“The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered stands as the definitive way to immerse oneself in its emotional narrative.”
Additionally, there is a feature called Guitar Free Play, allowing you to play the guitar with various characters and explore new instruments such as the Banjo or Nylon Guitar. Regrettably, for those like me who lack musical knowledge (or external sheet music), the mode may not be as enjoyable, and I was simply left stranded to create random sounds on the guitar as there is no guidance on what to play.
There are a few other notable inclusions in The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered, including Speedrun mode, so you can record your quickest completion times, Descriptive Audio, and Speech to Vibrations. While these additions are commendable, they sometimes give the impression that they could have been included in a standard update or patch, which sums up the Remastered edition as a whole.
For owners of the original game, The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered is available at a price of $10/£10/AU$20. However, if this purchase sounds more like acquiring an update rather than a completely new game, you might be right. Those seeking an upgraded experience of the adventure could be left disappointed, as there are not many significant changes to justify revisiting the narrative’s emotional depth. Of course, for those embarking on the game for the first time, The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered stands as the definitive way to play it.
Disclosure: This review is based on The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered and not the original game.Game Crater was provided the game for this review.Some links provided in this article are affiliate links. Game Crater will be paid a commission if you use these links to make a purchase.
Last of Us Part 2 Remastered Review
The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered remains an emotional and thought-provoking narrative with satisfying gameplay, and the Lost Levels prevail in adding valuable insights into the game's development. DualSense controller support enhances immersion, but some additions, such as Guitar Free Play, may lack appeal for those without musical knowledge. No Return, the new roguelike mode, falls short with limitations and lacks everlasting content. This makes The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered feel more like an update than a brand new title.