The Last of Us Part II Remastered Review | PlayStation 5

It is easy to see why The Last of Us Part II has won so many awards four years ago.

By AndresPlays, Posted 09 Feb 2024

What can be said about The Last of Us Part II that has not been said before? A timeless masterpiece, a divisive sequel, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And yet, I am compelled to write this review because it means so much to me. The trauma the characters have overcome once the dust has settled, the beautifully rendered rain of Seattle, how it all wraps up and leaves you in shambles.

Naughty Dog cut its teeth by making completely different kinds of games decades ago, and yet, it found its stride with cinematic adventure, starting with Uncharted. By the end of his saga, he was a charismatic and carefree Indiana Jones-style adventurer who realized he could not keep up chasing those wild dreams of fame and fortune and finally settled for a family life. Although his story remained comedic and had light overtones of drama, their ambition for a heavy narrative finally developed into The Last of Us.

The Last of Us Part II Remastered, Review, PS5, Gameplay, Abby, Female Protagonist

The story of Ellie’s failed attempt at sacrificing herself as humanity’s savior due to Joel's unwavering love resonates with millions to this day. Many still argue it should not have had a sequel. The way that story ended, ambiguous in Ellie’s feelings towards him but not as open-ended as a “To be continued” title after the end credits, felt satisfactory. Why mess with greatness, they argue. And so it goes: The Last of Us Part II was made.

Ellie is all grown up and living a life of peace in Jackson until circumstances beyond her control take her on a perennial journey of revenge. Caught up by events set in motion years prior, she sets out on her eponymous quest to balance the scales according to her. Accompanied by newfound lover Dina, she tasks herself to eliminate everybody who was involved in the killing of one of the most important pillars in her life.

With increasingly violent methods to eliminate anybody in her way, the gruesome deaths of the militaristic Washington Liberation Front and primitive but deadly Seraphites at Ellie’s hands start to take their toll on her as well. This is directly shown in her body’s bruises and in the unimaginable psychological trauma she inflicts on her enemies as they scream in pain and lament their friends dying at your hand.

Losing almost everything in her relentless endeavor, this is where the players can get to ask themselves about Ellie’s actions. Was it worth it? As The Last of Us Part II Remastered's main protagonist, she has the final say in how things end, dictated by her remorse for not being able to save what she loved the most. Santa Barbara's beautiful beach is juxtaposed with the worst impulses to ever exist in people, and its long-winded conclusion leaves much food for thought as you stare into the endless sea.

The Last of Us Part II Remastered, Review, PS5, Gameplay, Lev, Female Character

The dual narrative approach of The Last of Us Part II Remastered is an extremely risky one that tries to evoke empathy from the player by applying all the old tricks in the book. Once you take control of Abby, your bulky nightmare, it would be understandable to want to stop playing, perhaps forever, as that character is someone you just cannot help but relate to your worst fears. And that’s where the interactivity comes into play. Abby plays ball with a cute puppy and is extremely afraid of heights. It turns out that underneath that muscle mass is a beating heart aching to be loved.

Abby’s story is decidedly different. Deeply related to two fugitives, Lev and Yara, from the Seraphites who were exiled from their community for their life choices, they are in direct parallel with Abby questioning her own decisions. Having to confront her fears, showing true strength when all hope is lost, and intoxicating combat are the pillars of her story.

Because the game already knows you have been getting accustomed to its gameplay mechanics for the past 15 hours, Abby's side of things feels heavy, like it's throwing everything at you. Leaning into her rage, her infected encounters are much more action-packed and where a handy flamethrower comes into use. This is also where one of the most horrifying boss fights in survival horror happens with the Rat King. The tension building just before each attack is palpable.

Ending on a more hopeful note, as her counterpart, Abby’s story goes through a life-changing narrative, her personality is forever impacted. Thanks to Lev for being her moral compass, her determination to not be a victim of circumstance any longer and take control of her destiny in a gamble that is open-ended leads her to believe that in the universe of The Last of Us Part II Remastered, not everyone has to live in a dog eat dog world.

The Last of Us Part II Remastered, Review, PS5, Gameplay, Abby

Memories are the stories we tell ourselves, and Ellie & Abby told themselves a narrative of complete hatred that permeated everything they did until the end. Why yes, The Last of Us Part II Remastered is a tale about the vicious cycle of violence; it is also about the resilience of the human condition and how devastating it can be if left unchecked. We do what we do each day because we tell ourselves it is the right thing.

What succinctly elevates The Last of Us Part II Remastered is its precise soundtrack. At times hopeful, at others reflective, but always expressive, what the musical department accomplished here is undoubtedly a work of art that can single-handedly put to rest the inane debate as to whether video game music can be taken seriously. Adding Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam's lyricism with the song "Future Days" and Ashley Johnson’s profound rendition of “Take on Me” are just the cherries on top.

Now, what earns The Last of Us Part II the remastered moniker is plentiful. For starters, the new Guitar Free Play mode lets you play the guitar in several locations seen in the main story and with different characters. The Argentinian composer Gustavo Santaolalla makes a cameo in there for a nice touch to honor his work. There are plenty of videos on YouTube of guitarists recreating classic guitar riffs from many genres.

For the curious fans who want to get into the nitty-gritty of The Last of Us Part II Remastered development, there is more than enough here to satisfy their queries as it pulls the curtain back on it. The newly released Grounded II documentary is available in full, painstakingly detailing each part of the game-making process. After beating the game once, it is possible to turn on the director's commentary that plays along with the cinematics, showing the creators' intention as they were shooting each scene.

The Last of Us Part II Remastered, Review, PS5, Gameplay, Abby, Female Protagonist, Makeup

One of the most attractive new options of the behind scenes options is the Lost Levels, cut content from the original name, now presented in their unfinished pre-alpha state, that shows you what could have been, what was the original intention with such levels, and the process of why it was cut during development. Finally, the concept art, which can be unlocked by earning points from collectibles, gives a glimpse of how each area was envisioned before it came to life.

To tie the extras with a bow, a slew of options to modify your New Game Plus playthrough and make it unique are available. A gallery with an 8-bit pop poster or the more traditional Sepia filters can be chosen. Gameplay modifiers such as the mirror world and cheats like the bullet speed mode, which reduces game speed to 25% while aiming or infinite ammo, give each playthrough a replayability value that is hard to deny.

Graphically speaking, The Last of Us Part II Remastered looks as crisp as ever, just as the original pushed the PlayStation 4 hardware to its limit to deliver such quality. Now rendered in 4K at 30 frames per second or a variable 4K at 60 frames, to the average consumer, it might look the same, and it would be hard not to agree with them, but to the trained eye, every little detail was carefully enhanced. Post-apocalyptic Seattle has never looked better.

One of the strongest arguments for The Last of Us Part II Remastered to exist is the new No Return mode. Working as an unforgiving roguelike with randomized combat, you must defeat every enemy in close quarters that culminates face-to-face with an extremely aggressive boss. If you die, the encounter fails, returning to the beginning to try again. And again. And again.

The Last of Us Part II Remastered, Review, PS5, Gameplay, Joel Plays Guitar

Mods are randomly implemented on each stage to make your gameplay easier or more difficult, keeping things interesting. Enemies that drop pipe bombs each time you kill them, increasing your health with each risky melee attack, or the feared invisible foes are all in the roulette each time you choose your next level. For veterans of No Return, there is a custom run where you can tweak the many options available to suit your needs, defining what mechanics, enemies, and mods will appear in your personalized run to make it right for you.

An incentive to keep trying this mode ever more is its unlockable characters and outfits. Playing with the rewarding Dina, ferocious Lev, or the ultimate father figure Joel, each with unique abilities is a reward on its own. The outfits are impressively detailed and show care and style. Who would have thought Ellie to fit in a sci-fi character's futuristic clothes so easily or Abby to rock an 80s punk look like she belonged to that era? These all can be used in your New Game Plus playthrough, becoming an enticing option for those who want a bit of flavor when reliving the story.

A plethora of accessibility options gave this game multiple awards because it once again shows how important it is to have them make it as approachable as it can be to a variety of players. Customizing the control, especially now that the PlayStation Access controller is out, lets you play most comfortably for you. Features to reduce motion sickness, guide you in traversal, and audio and visual cues, among many others, make the game experience accessible to all.


Well-documented leaks muddied initial opinions of The Last of Us Part II by now, but with the benefit of time, it is easy to see why it won so many awards four years ago, and it will stand the test of time as one of the greatest games ever made. The parallel storyline, risky payoff, immaculate soundtrack, and iconic performances, now remastered and with more meaningful content than ever, will always be there for us when we wish to relive a harrowingly told tale as old as time.

Luis Aviles (@AndresPlays93)
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PS5
Publisher(s): Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer(s): Naughty Dog
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Horror, Violence, third-Person Perspective
Release Date: 2024-01-19

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