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Review: The Last of Us Part I


Posted on August 31, 2022 by Rebecca

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  • 9.5/10
    Total Score - 9.5/10
9.5/10

Summary

Visual improvements take a backseat to groundbreaking accessibility options to solidify The Last of Us Part I as the definitive version of an all-time classic.

Developer – Naughty Dog Studios

Publisher – Playstation Game Studios

Platforms – PS5

Review copy given by publisher

Accessibility content curated and edited by Alison Nyugen

Hi. I’m deaf. This article will review one of my favorite games and a look at the expanded and first-class accessibility options Naughty Dog, and Sony have promised with this iteration of the Last of Us Part 1.

My experience with series is different than most due to my disability. During the pandemic, I lost myself in gaming and exploring accessibility options as they matured in the last couple of years. Leading the charge has been PlayStation. Ghost of Tsushima and the Last of Us Part II have led the charge with groundbreaking features for players like me.

For people who haven’t played the original title, you play as a character named Joel. You must lead a young girl named Ellie through a world ravaged by a deadly outbreak and survive in a bleak post-apocalyptic civilization.

For everybody else, you know this story. This remake isn’t like the Resident Evil series of remakes, this is an update with new graphics, AI improvements, and immersion, but the show’s real star is accessibility.

Before we get into these options, let’s talk about some of the core gameplay features and additions this remake offers.

Every combat encounter is designed and balanced to perfection. Last of Us follows a linear path with solid pacing rather than open-world bloat. Exploration is still fun, but no matter what you do, it always seems you have the right amount of ammo and health kits for the next battle.

The stripped-down, sometimes simplistic gameplay systems help keep the focus on the action at hand. The Last of Us Part I provides an intense, white-knuckle combat experience. Open world bloat is traded in for refined combat depth and pure intensity. Obtuse skill trees are gone in favor of player creativity.

Every combat encounter can feel like a puzzle, primarily if you use stealth. Between enemy types, your weapon set, and the lack of resources on hand, survival is challenging and matches the plot’s tone. To execute a plan of attack and have the skill to manage the crowd and single out threats, you should make it out of a battle with good health but scarce resources.

Outside of the sublime combat, the visuals astound. Every location is so vast and detailed that it was hard not to think about how much was rebuilt to bring new life to each rendered frame.

I enjoyed playing through Last of Us Part 1 and playing it for the third time felt tremendous due to the various improvements to the core of what makes The Last of Us a classic.

ACCESSIBILITY IS KEY

Outside of enhanced AI, immersive combat improvements such as enemy dialogue, and tons of crimson, the accessibility options are the star of the show. The following subset of accessibility options is available to all players.

  • Accessibility Presets
  • Vision Preset configures the game for players who are blind or have low vision.
  • Hearing Preset configures the game for deaf or hard-of-hearing players.
  • Motor Preset configures the game for players with a physical or mobility disability.
  • Alternate Controls
  • Magnification and Visual Aids
  • Motion Sickness
  • Navigation and Traversal
  • Text to Speech and Audio Cues
  • Combat Accessibility
  • HUD
  • Subtitles
  • Game Difficulty

A complete comprehensive list of changes is located on the PlayStation Blog here.

The vast display options are not just essential for somebody such as me. These features can help players tailor the experience to their needs.

As a deaf player, many options have been tried and true for years, but one option, dialogue through vibration, is a game changer. I often have to read faces and character body language to show a pivotal scene’s impact. The pulse for dialogue feature on the Dualsense haptics is a game changer. It’s the single best feature I have experienced as a deaf player in my lifetime of gaming. I can finally feel the impact of each yell, conversation, or silent moment in a way I could only imagine before.

Kudos to Naughty Dog for innovating and leading the charge for players such as myself, and I hope other studios and developers look at this game and build off of its example moving forward.

The Last of Us Part I is a sublime experience that uses modern technology to tell one complete story. Players can now leap at Last of Us sagas without the whiplash from moving between games and console generations.

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About

Australian / German Single Momma. Freelance Video Editor/Gaming Journalist. They / Them Deaf, writing for disabled gamers whenever possible! Advocating for Female and Disabled Gamers LGBTQ PRIDE!

About The Author

Rebecca

Australian / German Single Momma. Freelance Video Editor/Gaming Journalist.
They / Them
Deaf, writing for disabled gamers whenever possible!
Advocating for Female and Disabled Gamers
LGBTQ PRIDE!