The Last of Us PS4 Both Far Exceeds and Is Restricted By Its PS3 Origins, Analysis Finds

A breakdown of all the improvements in The Last of Us Remastered finds that parts of the game are still hampered by the tech made for the PS3.

Tomorrow, The Last of Us Remastered launches on PlayStation 4. It features an array of graphical overhauls, and it runs at 1080p and 60 frames per second. Many people wondered if the original PlayStation 3 version was actually always meant to be on PS4. In a new graphics and performance breakdown, from Eurogamer's Digital Foundry, however, it seems that the PS4 re-release is still occasionally restricted by its PS3 origins.

GameSpot also did a graphics comparison, which you can see above. Digital Foundry then went into technical detail and discovered where the game's graphics shine and where they still come up short. What the group finds is that there are still graphical problems and anomalies that developer Naughty Dog's remastering couldn't fix. As Digital Foundry's Richard Leadbetter explains, "What Naughty Dog has done is to scale up both physical and temporal resolution, but the core technologies are very much PS3 in nature. The mind-bogglingly good anti-aliasing seen in the Uncharted 4 teaser isn't here, for example. Instead, it's a reasonable enough post-process effect."

"Some effects--such as water reflections--put a lot of full-blooded PS4 and Xbox One titles to shame."

He continues: "Lighting can appear rather basic and harsh in some scenes, the pre-baked global illumination isn't a patch on top-end PS4 titles, and while texture detail is enormously improved to next-gen standards, geometry remains unchanged--those hexagonal pipes, squared-off edges and bisecting polygonal foliage textures look jarring in the new current-gen era."

Although certain specific parts fail to stand up to current-gen standards, the group also found that Naughty Dog's work made other elements look far better than games made specifically for the PS4 and Xbox One. Leadbetter writes, "The more detail-rich exterior scenes, enhanced with longer view distances, look especially beautiful bathed in the ambient lighting and god-rays from a setting sun. While effects work can look a little basic in places, the higher precision marries up perfectly in most cases with the full HD resolution, while some effects--such as water reflections--put a lot of full-blooded PS4 and Xbox One titles to shame."

What Digital Foundry suggests, then, is that The Last of Us Remastered moves between two generations. In some parts--especially small-scale details--the game's PS3 lineage is obvious, but in others--environments and water--the graphics surpass even games developed exclusively for current-gen systems. As Digital Foundry concludes, "Some scenes can look rather plain, while others look absolutely spectacular, but the one thing that is constant throughout the experience is that gameplay in The Last of Us is golden." And this is true--gameplay is identical across both versions.

You can check out our review of The Last of Us Remastered here. Tonight you can also watch a stream of The Last of Us' voice actors performing some of the game's scenes live.

Are you planning on buying The Last of Us Remastered? Let us know in the comments!

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Alex Newhouse

An editorial intern on his second tour at GameSpot.
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133 comments
redskinStu
redskinStu

I find it difficult to believe someone spent time doing this. There truly must be nothing to talk about in the game world.

endorbr
endorbr

That's because this remastered version is really for people new to Playstation or people that missed out on buying it for PS3 for whatever reason.  If you're like me and bought it last year and played it on PS3 there really isn't enough difference to warrant another $50 purchase.  But then we're not the ones they really made it for either.

Defender1978
Defender1978

I'm sorry the game I spent $60 for a year ago is restricting your remake.  

Bond_Villain
Bond_Villain

Yeah looking forward to this. Will be my first time playing it. Wohoo!





Kinguard73
Kinguard73

I have noticed more than one light that was more Hex and less 'round' heh

yoda101280
yoda101280

I had this game on PS3 and completed it but I still find myself almost getting the remastered version, if I could get it for $29.99 I probably would but I can't quite justify paying the full release price again.  Problem with games like this is while the story was great and it was a great play through once, the only real reason to play it again is nostalgia, which is fine but nostalgia isn't quite worth another $49.99 for me. :)

warrner11
warrner11

@yoda101280 if u still got ps3 copy, Gamestop will take it and give u PS4 version half off for a limited time.

kujel
kujel

The last of us was a sad excuse for a game and the remake isn't any better, when people are more interested in watching your product then playing it it's called a movie not a game.

lostn
lostn

@kujel Stick to plot-free games like Tetris then.


Or you could, you know.. skip the cutscenes and only play the gameplay parts. Then it's 100% game, 0% watching.

Coco_pierrot
Coco_pierrot

@kujel  like few Sony games : Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls ... or the walking Dead and the wolf among us

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

@kujel  I played it sorry Xbox fan but I have been playing it for some time now.

dcaseng
dcaseng

@kujel  It's nowhere near as bad as Kojima's Metal Gear saga. THAT was basically like watching Casablanca, 2001 a Space Odyssey and Gone with the wind back to back. I don't know if Kojima is interested in making video games, or movies.

RoachRush
RoachRush

@kujel Whoever coined the phrase "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion" is probably facepalming after seeing your post.

endorbr
endorbr

@kujel Comments like this could only come from people who didn't actually play the game.

KimCheeWarriorX
KimCheeWarriorX

thanks for the spoiler alert before watching the video gamespot, no really. i dont wanna hear no, "but the game's been out for so long that you shouldve played it by now!" bullcrap. show some friggin professionalism for christ's sake. i was actually planning on eventually playing the last of us remastered for the first time on ps4 and last time i checked, there wasnt some imaginary grace period when games become immune to spoilers. although despite the spoilers, i still will play it but now the story will be that much less enjoyable thanks to you. something tells me youre going to make some snide sarcastic remark just to be an ass and find a way to turn this around on me somehow and justify how this is supposedly okay. pfft.

MonkerzX
MonkerzX

"The mind-bogglingly good anti-aliasing seen in the Uncharted 4 teaser isn't here"

..what? I'm pretty sure all we've had is a single pre-rendered cut-scene. If you think that's what PS4 gameplay is then you are sadly mistaken.

lostn
lostn

@MonkerzX @lostn Who cares? It was rendered by the game engine, which means the gameplay will have graphics the same as the cutscene. Or were you expecting a conversation/internal monologue to be gameplay?


You said it was a pre-rendered cutscene, which is patently false, because Naughty Dog already said it was not pre-rendered, and they have never done cutscenes not rendered with the game engine and using in game assets. Sometimes it's pre-recorded but always rendered originally with the game engine. It is not their style to use CG, if you have played their previous games. In the Uncharted games, you can change Drake's outfit or even character model to another model and it is still reflected in the cutscenes, which means it can't be pre-rendered.


The article was saying that UC4 teaser had mind bogglingly good anti-aliasing. You were saying that clip was a pre-rendered cutscene, which is false, because it was rendered with the game engine. If you're saying that's still not the same as gameplay, what difference does it make? The anti aliasing will be the same in the gameplay segments if you are conceding that it is game engine graphics. So your comment that it isn't gameplay is irrelevant. If you're not, then you're patently wrong.

lostn
lostn

@MonkerzX That was game engine graphics. Naughty Dog has never done CG.

MonkerzX
MonkerzX

@lostn That's not how that works. The Last of Us cutscenes might be "in-engine" but they emphatically do NOT look like the gameplay. "In-engine" does NOT mean it's the same as gameplay, it's basically a pre-render.

empraptor
empraptor

@MonkerzX  @lostn   What corners can be cut in a cutscene rendered with a game engine?  Fewer, more detailed textures and optimized shaders for the scene?  Or is the difference in cutscene and in-game graphics result of more artist time devoted to details in the cutscenes?

ramtracker42
ramtracker42

The is only so much you can do with a game made from the ground up on 8 year old hardware.  Can't wait to see the UC4!!!

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Easily the best game I played on PS3, without a shadow of a doubt.


I know three 360 gamers that have since jumped ship to PS4 and all of which are interested in TLOU - of course it makes business sense to sell it again.  As it does for the PS3 gamers that never got round to buying it.


That said, I just wish they've have done an upgrade offer to their fanbase that purchased it first time round.  I'd happily buy the game again at a discounted cost but refuse to pay full whack.  Even if the DLC is included.

Triton
Triton

But yet its still the same game we have already played.

DeanoFantasy
DeanoFantasy

@Triton Exactly, but with enhancements, apparently half of the people who have a PS4 have never played the game, so that's why they decided to release it again, it brings in money, just like how they are doing the Halo and Fable re-releases and GTAV 

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

@DeanoFantasy @Triton  except GTAV has far more playability... now if they gave us a city and surrounding areas to run around and fight and hide from each other/clickers  like a GTAV online version of this game THEN this would rock hard core.

RoachRush
RoachRush

@Kinguard73 @DeanoFantasy @Triton GTA V had replayability, until you realized every update was just to add clothes and cars, and not gameplay features we've been waiting forever for (heists). GTA V's multiplayer network is also far more unstable than TLoU's. I've never been dropped that many times since the days of 56k.

DeanoFantasy
DeanoFantasy

They where just making it a little sharper and put in a few more effects here and there, it was never a PS4 game anyway as it was designed on PS3s tech, If you haven't played it you need to and the rest of ND's Uncharted games.

lewishim666
lewishim666

I definitely felt my brain cells committing suicide reading some of these comments, The level of stupid is strong in this one.

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

@lewishim666  No just excuses. No one can leave off simply because I fell it's not worth it. N they have to explain their choices which just all says the same thing. 'because I don't want to' it's not hard to say but somehow they feel the need to justify it. I never played it. That's it. That's why. Simple eh?

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

There is something about water for most devs.. they can make a game with doggy graphics but make water effects particular well.

mtoomb
mtoomb

The Last of Us is simply the best survival-horror story that's been told on any medium I've seen so far... (Walking Dead not included) And that was a year ago on the PS3. I have played hundreds of video games in my life and I can honestly say that for the kind of game it is and the story it was trying to tell, Naughty Dog hit a home run. A game so fingernail-bitingly intense that I played straight through the first time, only to be left drained and emotionally scarred by what I'd experienced... And I guess that is the point of this game, and what people who haven't played it or just didn't "get" it failed to see... Most zombie games are stock up and shoot(ers). If they're not, then they're procedural and mostly boring. The Last of Us picked up the zombie horror playbook and tossed it out the window, poured lighter fluid on it, and watched it burn. From the gameplay to the music and the environment, while Joel's sneaking-soundwave power is standard game-fare, TLoU is top-notch in all other aspects. Taking your time, sifting through the ruins of humanity is also one of the saddest representations of a post-apocalyptic landscape I've seen since I read The Road. However, while The Road is one of a world dying around the characters, The Last of Us is the opposite... And that is what makes it so haunting. That the Earth is reclaiming the cities, the sewers, the freeways of Mankind. Everywhere green bushes sprout from cracks in concrete and brick. Ivy and vines cover everything that isn't already mossed-over, and scattered throughout the world are remnants of those who came before you. Whether they are notes from the beginning of the outbreak or the tape-recordings of survivors trying (and failing) to carve out a place in the new world, these immersive easter eggs paint a picture of a world without humanity... And it is done with just the right amount of tone, action, and emotion. Of course I'm going to pick this up tomorrow. I wanted to play it through again anyway, and headphones on the controller are the best late-night gaming-while-the-kids-sleep invention EVER. Happy gaming peeps!

isshiah
isshiah

Zod damn exclusives...why do you have to be so good?

MasterSatsujin
MasterSatsujin

The graphics don't matter anyway. I spent much more time with Battlefield 4 than this game. I completed this game once and took it back to the store.

lostn
lostn

@beefsquatch @lostn Have you been living under a rock? This game launched before it was ready. The list of technical issues with the game was huge, and so bad that EA/Dice promised they would not release another Battlefield product until this was fixed. Last I checked there were still known problems yet to be fixed.

RoachRush
RoachRush

@lostn @beefsquatch pretty much everything lostn said. BF4 had more bugs than a bee's nest. Even Gamespot started getting on their case with how poorly DICE was developing the game. 

joey2010
joey2010


Why are people so fukking interested in graphics these days? They barely talk about gameplay or other stuff.  Graphics here, graphics there blah blah blah. I wonder what people are going to expect from next gen gaming systems,


What do you people want from these games? Reality? As in the visuals must be the same as your eye's? What exactly? The visuals are okay. You can OBVIOUSLY see it CLEARLY and so what's with all the minor details?


Talking about it won't change it

If you were to create it you wouldn't do better 

Just shut up and play the damn game


I'd much rather have a balance of substance and spectacle (more substance than spectacle) in video games but all these comparisons, complaints and whining about graphics in our generation will make developers focus on the less important components of a video game by trying to please our flat screen TVs.

Spartan_418
Spartan_418

@joey2010 Calm down. The main benefit of a re-release of a game on a new console is enhanced graphics.

You don't want that, fine, just play the PS3 version or whatever. What's the harm in talking about graphics?

porterhoarder
porterhoarder

Exactly. The reason graphics are on the table is because the only thing a remastered version benefits from is enhanced graphics. Anything else would be a sequel.

lewishim666
lewishim666

@joey2010 Maybe..and this is just a thought...they are talking about graphics because that is THE enhancement that this version of The Last of Us got. The only thing that is improved in this version is graphics. I'll say it another way people are buying it on PS4 to experience it on a superior system then PS3 that it's main enhancement over PS3 is GRAPHICS. That's why people are talking about graphics. Is it really that hard to understand? It would be kind of a disappointment if they just released the same exact game with no enhancements at all for PS4. So they did the one enhancement that they could...GRAPHICS. Amazing graphics immerse you in the game world a lot better then sub par graphics. That's just a fact of gaming. I like how people like to act superior because they say stuff like "I don't care about graphics! I only care about gameplay!" when the only real enhancement that we get with each console generation is better...you guessed it....graphics.

Coco_pierrot
Coco_pierrot

@sampson3121 @joey2010  beautiful graphics but very few games can actually render them without frame rate drops. Beautiful graphics like that changed a lot the direction of video games ... they were games and fun ... now we experience them and whatnot.


I still  think this is a big waste of money to enhance this game. The gap between last gen this one isn't huge enough. It was like going from PS2 to PS3.


If at least they waited a little bit more and make a remake Worth it like capcom did with Resident Evil 1.

sampson3121
sampson3121

@Coco_pierrot @sampson3121 @joey2010  this gen just started games will get better, i mean look at second son, amazing graphics and game play, even though story was a little short..that game is a huge leap from last gen...the particle system alone would make the ps3 crash. give it time...uncharted or dare i say god of war? got goose bumps just thinking about that, god of war for the ps4 :)

sampson3121
sampson3121

@joey2010  listen, please don't talk about graphics, i was playing pong when i was a kid and then atari and the first nintendo where i would dream of how great graphics would be in the future..now Devs can actually make beautiful graphics to immerse us in...i do agree that we don't want to take away from the gaming aspect but let them see what they can do these first few yrs by getting the most out of this console.a game with good gameplay is fun, but a game with good game play and amazing graphics is just on another lvl.