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The Last of Us Part I PC review — A great experience in an awful package

The Last of Us is a post-apocalyptic action-adventure game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony. It was first released for the PlayStation 3 way back in 2013 and then remastered for the PlayStation 4 a year later. The game has since amassed great critical and commercial success, has spanned a successful sequel and TV series adaptation, and has won numerous awards for its storytelling, gameplay, and graphics. 

After all its success and accolades, the game was remade for the PlayStation 5 last year as The Last of Us Part I, and now in 2023, the remake is available on PC, making it the fourth time it has officially been released and the first time the series has been made available to PC players. However, while PC players now have access to the best possible version of the game, it’s unfortunate that the port of that version is in very bad shape.

For those somehow unfamiliar with the game, The Last of Us takes place in a world where a fungal infection known as the cordyceps virus turned most of the population into zombie-like creatures called the infected. Without spoiling too much, the story follows Joel, a smuggler tasked with transporting Ellie, a teenage girl who may hold the key to a cure for the infection, to a group known as the Fireflies. Through gameplay and cutscenes, we follow the pair’s adventures traveling across the US along with their experiences and hurdles dealing with both survivors and the infected in order to complete their mission.

The Last of Us’ narrative is why the game is still one of my absolute favorites to this day. The story succeeds in making players fall in love with its world and well-written characters by letting us play through and experience their several challenges and difficulties. The first game also perfectly ends with an open-ended message that still prompts a dialogue to this day. 

While the gameplay in The Last of Us is far from innovative, it’s still highly satisfying due to its mix of survival horror and action-adventure elements. Players scavenge and explore their surroundings in order to acquire resources, such as weapons, ammunition, and healing items, by finding them or crafting them with available materials.  Weapons include a range of guns and melee weapons each with its own advantages, disadvantages and upgrades. 

One of the remake’s main highlights is the improved performance and upscaled graphics. Immediately upon launching the game on High settings, I noticed several major and minor differences in the visuals compared to the older version. This includes more detailed and vibrant backgrounds, crisper animations, more realistic models, more precise motions, clearer and more detailed reflections, and a lot more. If you’ve never played The Last of Us, I can confidently say that the remake is worth grabbing for the graphical improvements alone. Unfortunately, my enjoyment of these positive features was very short-lived, as the longer I progressed the game, the worse it ran. 

Mere hours into the game, I started to notice several consistent bugs, including characters frantically glitching in place, the frame rate tanking significantly and consistently, textures popping in and out, shaders taking almost hours to load, and a lot of crashes. It’s worth noting that the game runs better on lower settings (at least on an RTX 3060), but not without some of the aforementioned issues occasionally appearing. This is unfortunate, as while The Last of Us Part 1 is a great remake of an excellent game on the PS5, PC players will have to wait for the port to be fully fixed via updates that are still being rolled out at the time of this review.

However, when it works, Last of Us Part I provides players with an unforgettable experience with a remake that sports improved graphics, performance, loads of accessibility features, highly immersive DualSense features, and much more, making it almost objectively the best version of the game. That said,  PC players can experience all it has to offer once the game has been fully patched and optimized. For now, though, the title is not in its best shape on PC, so I’d advise players who want to jump in to wait until it is.

45

Below Average

The Last Of Us Part I

Review Guidelines

While The Last of Us Part I is arguably the game’s best version, its PC port is incredibly sub par and currently needs a lot of fixing.

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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