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

The last of us First part – released on PlayStation 5 on Friday – is a retroactive name change, similar to what George Lucas did back then with his first Star Wars movie. What is now known as Episode IV – A New Hope came out simply as star wars in 1977. And just as Lucas did with Episode IV, and its sequels and prequels – playing with them many times 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. It’s not even 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 company much larger, with Naughty Dog calling it “rebuilding” from the ground up. It’s Lucas on steroids, basically.

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 doesn’t have a native PS5 version yet – it was Sony’s last PS4 exclusive, before the PS5 launched – but it plays much better on the next-gen console thanks to mini-updates. ) With Part 1 on the PS5, there’s more detail in faces, textures, and everything else around you. And like Part II, The Last of Us Part I now uses the DualSense, adding to the fear and weirdness of its zombie-infested world.

If you come out of Part 2, Part 1 won’t wow you, especially if you played the first one on a PS5. But there’s a night and day difference here, something you can only achieve by putting the original and the remake side by side. As I did. Loading up The Last of Us Remastered on a PS4 Pro – I didn’t have a PS3 and The Last of Us disc to really send me back to 2013 – I found that the environments, their lighting and shadows looked rudimentary by comparison. And that’s saying something, given that the PS4 Pro Remastered variant claimed to offer “high quality shadows” at 4K resolution. I can’t even imagine how much worse The Last of Us must be on the PS3.

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

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Arguably the biggest improvement on The Last of Us Part I is shooting. Dare I say it, it’s a thousand times better. Remember the burning house from the pre-credits sequence, when Joel and Sarah are in Tommy’s car? This scene haunts now, in a way that even the PS4 Pro 4K version of the game couldn’t handle. As they drive into town, Austin comes to life before your eyes, with Sarah watching the town tear apart from the backseat of the car.

Character faces don’t look dated in cutscenes – there are more wrinkles and they offer more expressions. And player and NPC bodies move more realistically on The Last of Us Part 1. Enemy AI also behaves more believable. If you approach an Infected from behind and try to stealth kill them, while another is looking at you, they will look at you and react as you might expect, compared to what enemies would have done on The Last of Us ( Remastered).

As with said remaster on the PS4 Pro and the recent PS5 remaster of Naughty Dog’s Uncharted games, The Last of Us Part I offers a choice of two graphics modes: “Fidelity” which targets 30fps at native 4K resolution, and “Performance” which targets 60fps at “dynamic internal resolution” upscaled to 4K. If you have a 120Hz screen, you can enable the “Unlocked Framerate” option in the display settings, which targets 120 fps. (Also be sure to invert the variable refresh rate, or VRR, in the PS5 system settings.) I could only experience fidelity and performance because of the TV I have – and given the slowness of The Last of Us which favors stealth over speed. fire, I was happy to compromise on the extra frames, for the minimal quality improvement that Fidelity provides.

Remasters are viewed better, which is why I’ve attached a gameplay video of The Last of Us Part 1, captured on the PS5 in Fidelity mode. As you can see for yourself, load 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

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

That said, there’s something new here – in terms of gameplay experience. The Last of Us Part 1 brings a permadeath feature and lets you go about 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, according to Naughty Dog), or the chapter you’re playing (you returning 30 to 60 minutes). Of course, as you might expect by enabling permadeath, you can’t manually save the game at any time. And if you were to be required elsewhere in your real life, quitting in a “dangerous position” is treated as a death.

All of these improvements – permadeath, DualSense and especially graphics upgrades – come at a significant cost. The Last of Us Part I is priced at Rs. 4,999 / $70, on par with a new PS5 release such as Horizon Forbidden West or the upcoming God of War Ragnarök. It sounds ridiculous. For all the updates Naughty Dog offers here, it’s still a remake of a nine-year-old game. It’s not a new title. What are Sony and PlayStation Studios smoking?

Sure, The Last of Us Part 1 is way better than the PS5 remaster for Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy – this one costs Rs. 2,999 at launch – but then again, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection also offered an upgrade route. If you own Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy or the combined digital pack, you can upgrade 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 big ask, I should note – and it also had additional content to offer, including a whole new island to explore.

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last of us part 1 ps5 review horses last of us part 1 ps5 review

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

As it stands, The Last of Us Part I does not offer any upgrade strategy, neither for the 2013 original nor the 2014 remastered edition. You have to pay Rs. 4,999 to access it on the PS5 – an idea that seems even crazier when you consider what Sony’s biggest rival has done. (For what it’s worth, The Last of Us Part 1 is a more comprehensive upgrade than what Xbox did. Naughty Dog remade the game in some ways.)

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

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

As tends to be true with (successful) adaptations – both Bridgerton and The Queen’s Gambit are putting their respective books back on bestseller lists – Sony will expect to sell more The Last of Us universes when the show premieres. And now, with the launch of this PS5 remake, it offers a modern offering rather than a dated product. In the best-case scenario for Sony, customers will buy both a PS5 and the game. I can already imagine Sony trying to cash in on The Last of Us Part 1 PS5 bundles in 2023.

With more and more PlayStation games being made into movies and TV shows, this seems to be the new future for studios whose properties are adapting. Naughty Dog’s 2021 and 2022 have been all about remasters. There’s 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. At the time of release, Naughty Dog reportedly hadn’t worked on a new entry in years.

Expect this to continue. With Sony expanding its mobile team, a Last of Us mobile spin-off is more likely than Part III at this point. And if HBO renews The Last of Us for a second season, I guess we’ll see The Last of Us Part 2 for the PS5 and PC. Be prepared to shell out Rs. 4,999.


  • Look, sound, feel good
  • On par with Part II, if not beyond
  • Centuries ahead of the PS4 Pro version
  • Improved enemy AI behavior
  • New Permadeath feature

The inconvenients:

  • At the price of a new PS5 game
  • No upgrade options for PS3, PS4 owners
  • No 4K at 60fps, no ray-tracing
  • No multiplayer
  • PC port for sale separately

Score (out of 10): 8

The Last of Us Part I was released on Friday, September 2 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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