The Last of Us Part 1 PS5 Review: Absolutely Gorgeous, But Expensive

The Last of Us Part 1 PS5 Review: Absolutely Gorgeous, But Expensive

The last of us Part I – released Friday on PlayStation 5 – is a retroactive name change, similar to what George Lucas did back in the day with his first Star Wars movie. What is now known as Episode IV – A New Hope was released simply as Star Wars in 1977. And just as Lucas did with Episode IV and its sequels and prequels – toying with them repeatedly over the years, before selling his Lucasfilm empire to Disney – Naughty Dog is tinkering with The Last of Us, first released on PS3 in 2013. This isn’t the first time, as the award-winning post-apocalyptic survival horror title got a PS4 remaster in 2014. But The Last of Us Part 1 is a much bigger undertaking. extensive, with Naughty Dog calling it a “rebuild” from scratch. It’s Lucas on steroids, essentially.

And boy does it look good. The Last of Us Part I now looks, feels, and moves like its 2020 sequel, Part II. (The latter still doesn’t have a native PS5 build – it was the last Sony exclusive on PS4, before the PS5 launched – but it works much better on the next-gen console thanks to mini-updates.) With Part 1 on PS5, there’s more detail in faces, textures and everything around them. And like Part II, The Last of Us Part I now makes use of DualSense, adding to the fright and weirdness of its zombie-infested world.

If you’re coming out of Part 2, though, Part 1 won’t blow your mind, especially if you played the first part on a PS5. But there’s a difference between night and day here, something you can only see when you put the original and the remake side by side. As I did. Loading The Last of Us Remastered onto a PS4 Pro – I didn’t have a PS3 disc and The Last of Us to really send me back to 2013 – I found that the environments, their lighting and the shadows look rudimentary in comparison. And that’s saying something, considering the PS4 Pro Remastered variant claims to offer “high quality shadows” at 4K resolution. I can’t even imagine how much worse The Last of Us must look on PS3.

The Last of Us Part 1 on PS5 makes it feel like the PS3 era was 20 years ago. It’s crazy how far video games have come in the last nine years. (To be fair, the PS3 was on its last legs when The Last of Us released in 2013.)

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The biggest improvement, without a doubt, in The Last of Us Part I is shooting. Dare I say, it’s a thousand times better. Remember the house on fire in the pre-credits sequence, while Joel and Sarah are in Tommy’s car? That scene is haunting now, in a way that not even the PS4 Pro 4K version of the game could. As they drive into town, Austin comes to life before their eyes, with Sarah witnessing the city tearing itself to pieces from the back seat of the car.

Characters’ faces don’t look old-fashioned in cutscenes – there are more wrinkles and they offer more expressions. And player and NPC bodies move more realistically in The Last of Us Part 1. Enemy AI also behaves more believably. If you approach an Infected from behind and try to stealthily take them down while there’s another one looking at you, they’ll look at you and react as you might expect, compared to what enemies would have done in The Last of Us (Remastered).

As with the aforementioned PS4 Pro remaster and Naughty Dog’s recent PS5 remaster of the Uncharted games, The Last of Us Part I offers a choice between two graphics modes: “Fidelity” which targets 30fps at native 4K resolution and “Performance” which targets 60fps at a “dynamic internal resolution” boosted to 4K. If you have a 120Hz screen, you can enable the “Unlocked Framerate” option in your screen settings, which targets 120fps. (Be sure to also change the Variable Refresh Rate, or VRR, in the PS5 system settings.) I was only able to experience Fidelity and Performance due to the TV I have – and given The Last of Us’ slow pace, which prioritizes stealth over fast action, I was happy to compromise on the extra frames, for the minimal increase in quality that Fidelity brought.

Remasters best believe seen, which is why I’ve attached gameplay footage of The Last of Us Part 1, captured on PS5 in Fidelity mode. As you can see for yourself, loading times are almost instantaneous.

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Riley and Ellie in The Last of Us Part 1: Left Behind
Photo credit: Sony/Naughty Dog

However, just like with Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, there’s no 4K 60fps mode or ray tracing functionality here, something the PS5 is said to be capable of. The two remasters are also similar in that there is no multiplayer mode in The Last of Us Part I. For that, you’ll need to switch back to The Last of Us Remastered, which is backwards compatible on PS5. At least it’s still in the store (and part of the PlayStation Plus collection). What you get with the PS5 remake is all the single player content: the complete base story and DLC campaign, The Last of Us: Left Behind.

That said, there’s something new here — in terms of the gameplay experience. The Last of Us Part 1 brings a permadeath feature and lets you do it in three different ways. You can choose to reset the entire game when you die, the current act you’re in (expect to lose 2-3 hours of game time, Naughty Dog says), or the chapter you’re playing (sending back 30-60 minutes). Of course, as you might expect by activating permadeath, you can’t manually save the game at any time. And if you’re asked elsewhere in your real life, giving up in a “dangerous position” is treated as death.

All these improvements – permadeath, DualSense and, above all, the graphical upgrades – come at a significant cost. The Last of Us Part I costs Rs. 4,999 / $70, on par with a new PS5 release like Horizon Forbidden West or the upcoming God of War Ragnarök. This looks ridiculous. Despite all the updates Naughty Dog is offering here, this is still a remake of a nine year old game. It’s not a new title. What are Sony and PlayStation Studios smoking?

Of course, The Last of Us Part 1 is much better than the PS5 remaster for Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy – that one cost Rs. 2,999 at launch – but then again, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection also offered an upgrade route. If you owned Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, or the digital combo pack, you can hop on over to the PS5 version for Rs. 500 / $10 / €10. Heck, even Ghost of Tsushima lets you upgrade to its PS5 version for Rs. 2,497 – a tall order, I should note – and it also had extra content to offer, including an entirely new island to explore.

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The Last of Us Part 1 looks majestic on PS5
Photo credit: Sony/Naughty Dog

As it stands, The Last of Us Part I offers no upgrade strategy, neither for the 2013 original nor for the 2014 remastered edition. You have to pay Rs. 4,999 to access it on PS5 – an idea seems even crazier when you consider what Sony’s biggest rival is up to. (For what it’s worth, The Last of Us Part 1 is a more extensive update than what Xbox has done. Naughty Dog has made the game anew in some ways.)

Since the launch of Xbox Series S and Series X, Microsoft has given us free 4K 60fps upgrades for games like Gears 5, Forza Horizon 4, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection. They’re also included in your arguably superior Xbox Game Pass subscription. Plus, Microsoft’s Smart Delivery system means you can enjoy these titles as you move between Xbox and PC. Even if Sony backtracks and offers an upgrade path, The Last of Us Part I won’t be included in any of the new PlayStation Plus tiers. Not for a few years anyway. And when Part 1 hits PC – “very soon”, supposedly – all PS4 and PS5 players will have to pay full price for it, once again.

Sony’s approach is not only money-driven in its approach to release and distribution, but also why these remasters exist to begin with. While the launch of Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection for PS5 was timed for the launch of Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg Unknown The Last of Us Part I movie exists to serve up the upcoming TV adaptation starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey from Game of Thrones. Originally slated for late 2022, the HBO series is now slated to premiere in early 2023.

As tends to be true with (successful) adaptations – both bridgerton and The Queen’s Gambit have put their respective books back on bestseller lists – Sony hopes to sell more of The Last of Us universe when the show debuts. And now, with the release of this PS5 remake, it has a modern offering instead of a dated product. In Sony’s best-case scenario, customers will buy a PS5 and the game. I can already imagine Sony trying to cash in on PS5 The Last of Us Part 1 bundles in 2023.

With more and more PlayStation games being turned into movies and TV shows, this looks to be the new future for the studios whose properties are being adapted. Naughty Dog’s 2021 and 2022 were entirely devoted to remasters. There is a standalone multiplayer version of The Last of Us Part II in the works, but who knows how its development has been affected by these commercial activities. By the time it releases, Naughty Dog wouldn’t have worked on a new entry in years.

Hope this continues. With Sony expanding its mobile team, a Last of Us mobile spinoff is more likely than Part III at this stage. And if HBO renews The Last of Us for a second season, I’m guessing we’ll see The Last of Us Part 2 for PS5 and PC. Be ready to shell out Rs. 4,999.


  • It looks, it sounds, it’s great
  • On a par with Part II, if not beyond
  • Centuries ahead of the PS4 Pro version
  • Improved enemy AI behavior
  • New Permadeath feature


  • Price like a new PS5 game
  • No upgrade options for PS3 and PS4 owners
  • No 4K 60 fps or ray tracing
  • no multiplayer
  • PC port to be sold separately

Rating (out of 10): 8

The Last of Us Part I will be released on Friday, September 2nd on PlayStation 5. It will be released later on Windows PCs. The Last of Us Part 1 costs Rs. 4,999 on PlayStation 5.

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