Naughty Dog is back with a reimagining of arguably their best work yet. Not a remake from scratch, but more than a remaster, his PlayStation 5 The Last of Us Part 1 blends old and new very effectively.
The story of Joel and Ellie needs no introduction and nothing has changed on that front. What has changed is the experience, thanks to his updated Naughty Dog engine that powers the sequel. This revived PS5 version of him benefited greatly, but it’s more than just a port. That’s likely because it’s based on the updated PlayStation 4 remaster code with the latest rendering technology inside Sequel’s updated engine. Today we’ll dig into the new version’s improvements, the performance modes available, and how it all looks and plays compared to the original version.
Many new rendering techniques, such as oil-painting-like materials from around the world, impeccable character models, and skin rendering with cinematic-level physically-based shading, bring The Last of Us up to date. It was helpful. This is the biggest leap from either of his two previous editions, with many of the models seen in the sequels. The facial animation and bone rigging have also been improved, significantly improving mouth vowel formation and adding a broader and more emotional set of facial expressions. Some characters have also been redesigned from the ground up, with Tess standing out as a dramatic change from the original. Fidelity improvements can’t be argued.
I say “nearly” because not everything can match the newer games. The Naughty Dog team is still using old core game engine code, motion-captured vertex movements, and 10-year-old performance capture. Some of the original sequences for both PS3 and PS4 were all in-engine, but not real-time. Instead, they were pre-rendered to video files in his 2013 via his PlayStation 3 render farm. Here on PlayStation 5, they’re all real-time, but based on the exact same core data. In other words, models, animations, etc. are limited to some areas. Issues like characters warping from grabs and battles to new positions are much better than in the remaster, but the moment-to-moment gameplay and cutscene movements and timing are consistent. , improve post effects, and upgrade shading quality. This can be seen in increased light sources, character edge lighting, and even small changes to motion and skinning. But at the core of the PS5 version is an old canvas with one smear of the finest digital paint available.
Beyond models, material compositing, post effects and more. – This includes better per-object motion blur, depth of field bokeh, subsurface scattering, improved decals such as gore – level building, foliage, assets and even textures and Many of the materials have all been improved, increased or further improved. completely remake. Many shots have significantly increased polygon counts, improved brick textures, altered debris and debris, and more objects and details present in the world. Area changes to move walls, gates, signs, etc., and reduced water bodies eliminate the cubemap issues seen in the original. Part 1 uses screen space reflections mixed with projected cubemaps. This improves the accuracy of reflections, but can cause blending issues when drawing and drawing when the camera moves.
Improved character models and includes all-new modes. This is aided by the memory leap that the PS5 offers, with much more character diversity, less reuse, and ubiquity. This is useful for changing the look and feel of many scenes during play. It’s by no means a night and day difference, but it again highlights the effort and care that went into rebuilding most of The Last of Us. It remains the original high-resolution version of the PlayStation 3, both in the output to the screen and in the textures, even when displayed in the light of the . It’s 10 years old next year, but it still stands out perfectly here, highlighting how Naughty Dog was ahead of its time, and that he definitely led the way in how to get the most out of the PS3. doing.
From a presentation standpoint, the voice capture, sound effects, soundtrack, big action scenes, and combat are all virtually identical to the original. In other words, the TLOU Part 2 evasion mechanism is not here, nor is the enhanced limb amputation gore system. Only the gore system from the original game. It’s certainly still a violent game, with blood puddles, decal effects, and other additions, but combat, using both weapons and melee combat, plays just like the original game. This is likely due to the animations and AI scripts in the remastered code limiting some of the choices here. This is similar to what we discussed earlier about improving model bone rigging. Although more polished and improved than the source version, the scope of these improvements is still limited. This means enemies will react the same as before, running towards you or attacking you in the same way.
Other tweaks come from the capabilities of the DualSense controller. This includes the use of haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, improved sound mixing with 3D audio, and tons of customization options for playing exactly the way you want. Tutorials and menu popups have also been improved so they no longer interfere with gameplay.
There are two performance modes to choose from: native 4K fidelity mode and dynamic 4K performance mode. A third variable refresh rate option is also available if your display supports it.
Fidelity mode targets 30 fps, but when the screen is 120 Hz, it targets 40 fps, a 33% performance improvement. This is simply due to the required frame time, 40fps requires a new frame every 25ms, which can be split between 120Hz and 30fps, requiring 33.3ms, which is not the case.
Performance mode, on the other hand, targets 60 fps no matter what screen you’re using.
Finally, if you have a display capable of variable refresh rates, a third option will become available to unlock the framerate in either mode. This means you can exceed the 40 fps target in Fidelity mode or the 60 fps target in Performance mode.
The developers at Naughty Dog have done a commendable job of leveraging the PS3’s notoriously difficult hardware architecture in the original The Last of Us. It was, and still is, a fine piece of work that highlights how much that machine can do in the right hands, in quiet moments running at a 30fps target. But when the action heats up, alpha effects, light sources, shadows, and high polygon load strain the system, and framerates can drop into his early 20s.
The PlayStation 4 remaster more than doubles the PS3’s 1280x720p resolution to a full 1080p. Additionally, we not only solved the performance issue, but also doubled the frame rate to 60fps. That said, the framerate isn’t locked and can drop in battles and movies, and a later PlayStation 4 Pro patch offered him a 1800p/60 mode. Performance here may dip again in the late 50s to early 40s, but for most segments it shouldn’t matter. It was technically the same as the PS3 version (aside from better resolution and textures), just better performance.
Starting with the PlayStation 5’s performance mode, it has a dynamic 4K resolution, offering a locked 60fps in every section we tested. You can definitely afford it. The only dip comes from camera cuts during the cinematics. This is intended to help stabilize physics or swap assets between shots. The short version here is if you want to experience the most consistent level of performance, turn on this mode and never look back.
However, the need for native 4K output is likely to be strong, and 30fps mode is the same story, and our tests in unlocked 40fps mode show there is room to spare. It can reach 50fps in quiet sections at 3840x2160p. However, in action or real-time cutscenes, it can be around the 45 fps mark. That means you get about 50% better performance than the 30 fps mode. This really highlights the performance headroom that the high end mode leaves. is rare in all my tests. As such, it offers the cleanest image quality at a very smooth performance level, feels closer to 60 than 30, and can be a big draw for many. However, I’d like to mention that, although very rare, you can still get a dip into your early 30s when trimming in this mode.
The final mode is the unlocked performance mode, which is also about a 65% increase over the previous 60 fps cap, and although the engine can even hit 100 seconds in rare circumstances, it’s still a good choice for general action and cinema The tics are somewhere in the middle, the frame rate is always higher than the 60fps base due to the mode VRR needs to work. Fastest mode here. Again, the only change between this and the Fidelity mode is that this will be dynamically scaled down from that his 4K mode and possibly his 1440p base. However, some sections may be at or just below the same 4K target. So the focus is on balancing pixels and performance. The additional responses that this mode provides are useful in combat sections. Given how much it pushes at times, we were impressed with how fast and clean this mode was. It means that you will definitely find it.
A remake or remaster could be a blessing or a curse, and The Last of Us Part 1 is the second revision of Naughty Dog’s apocalyptic action game in a decade, so this version wasn’t needed yet. Some might say However, the in-depth upgrades offered here cannot be ignored. The Last of Us is as close as his 2020 sequel has in model and world detail, and looks better than ever. It’s not the same level of fidelity, but it’s certainly close enough in the vast majority to make the PS5 proud. If you look closely, you can see that the original version area is still there underneath. Accidental object polycounts are low, and real-time cutscene models and lighting can sometimes look much better than in-game. That said, whether it’s your first time playing or if you’ve already played and completed this great game, this update is the best way to play, systematically upgraded and improved across the board. . If you go looking for additional storytelling you’ll be disappointed, so don’t expect anything different from the old version aside from better visual quality and performance. But that’s the beauty of new versions like this : Many people have never played this game before, and the PS5 houses the absolute best way to enjoy it for the first or fifth time.