The Last of Us Part II Remastered Review: Still Devastating, Still Incredible in 2024
January 16, 2024 Andrew Cheng

Truth be told, I have not touched The Last of Us Part II after I reviewed it back in 2020 on the PS4. It’s not because I didn’t like the game; far from it. Rather, it’s because of the story’s devastating, dark nature that makes it hard to get back into the game, even if I do appreciate the gameplay itself.

I need a good reason to return to the game, and reviewing The Last of Us Part II Remastered is as good as it gets. While the storyline is still bleak – though I’d argue it is well-written – all the new content the remastered game brings do make it an excellent title to pick up.

What It Is

Being a remastered title, The Last of Us Part II Remastered comes with a slew of graphics enhancements. These include native 4K output in Fidelity Mode, 1440p resolution upscaled to 4K in Performance Mode, the option for unlocked framerate on displays that support VRR, as well as increased texture resolution.

There is also a new game mode called No Return, which is a rougelike survival mode that puts players in randomised encounters. 10 characters are available in this mode, and some of them are even playable for the first time in The Last of Us franchise. Of course, I won’t list the characters here for the sake of avoiding spoilers.

It’s also worth noting that existing owners of The Last of Us Part II on the PS4 can even upgrade to a digital copy of the remastered PS5 version. For the Malaysian market, the upgrade costs RM40, which is a very reasonable price, in my opinion. After all, you’re getting improved graphics and quite a bit of new content for that kind of money.

The Good Stuff

Before I get to what’s new in The Last of Us Part II Remastered, allow me to touch on the game’s overall storyline first. Even though I already know the plot points of the story already, I’m still thoroughly engrossed with the narrative of the game. Yes, it remains a very heavy story to play through, but completing the game for the second time with prior knowledge of what’s to come does give me a new perspective on the story.

Okay, now let’s talk about the graphical improvements the remastered version of the game brings. While the differences are not immediately noticeable, it does look better than the original game in a side-by-side comparison. But to me, the biggest quality of life upgrade to the remastered game is the faster load times, not to mention the DualSense implementations.

I’ve always considered the DualSense controller to be the best hardware for this generation of console gaming, and it’s exemplified with The Last of Us Part II Remastered. When it’s raining in-game, for example, I can “feel” the individual raindrop with the DualSense. The adaptive triggers also give weapons an added layer of immersion as the trigger tenses up when I draw back on the bow, for example.

And then there is the brand new No Return mode, which I find to be quite entertaining. I’ve always loved combat encounters in The Last of Us Part II – okay, maybe not ones involving the Infected – and the fact that No Return allows me to go from one encounter to another with various enemies adds great replay value to the game.

As a cherry on top, it’s evident that Naughty Dog properly fleshed out this game mode. All 10 playable characters in No Return have their own unique traits that offer different playstyles, and the various gameplay modifiers – such as this wild Molotov Rain mod – add more challenges and complexities to the game mode.

Besides that, The Last of Us Part II Remastered also features new outfits, guitar free play – with a surprising amount of new instruments and effects – developer commentary, and three Lost Levels that were cut from the final game. These additions certainly make it worthwhile to jump back into the game, if you ask me.

With all of these new content in mind, the fact that existing owners of the original game can upgrade to a digital copy of The Last of Us Part II Remastered for only RM40 in Malaysia is fantastic. However, for those who have not played the game before, it’s a…slightly different story.

The Bad Stuff

Priced at RM209 for the full game, some folks may consider The Last of Us Part II Remastered to be, well, quite expensive. This is especially the case for a remastered version of a game that was originally released in 2020, even if RM209 isn’t quite as costly as other newly released titles.

Still, I will argue that this price of entry is worth it for folks who have played through 2022’s The Last of Us Part I but haven’t gotten around to the second game yet. If I was in a similar situation, I would definitely pay the RM209 price tag in a heartbeat.

Is It Worth It?

The Last of Us Part II Remastered is the definitive version of the game – provided Naughty Dog doesn’t release a remake of sorts down the line – and it’s definitely worth picking up for both newcomers and existing fans of the franchise, thanks to the slew of new content.

While remastering a game isn’t particularly well-liked by certain portions of the gaming community, I am happy with the release of The Last of Us Part II Remastered. It gives me a good reason to experience the incredible (albeit devastating) game yet again in 2024, and I definitely see myself spending quite a bit of time in the new No Return mode.

The Last of Us Part II Remastered launches 19 January exclusively on PS5.