If you really think about it, it’s kind of hilarious that we’re doing a review of a game from 2013 in 2023. Even with all the remasters and remakes that have been going on in the gaming world, that still is a bit odd. But when it comes to the “crown jewel” of Naughty Dog’s world, they’ve never had a problem upping it when they can. So not long after their HBO series ended its first season, they brought their upgraded remake to PC. And as you’ll see in our The Last of Us Part 1 PC Review, it still holds up…even with some annoying issues.
Game Name: The Last of Us Part 1 Platform(s): PC, PS5 Publisher(s): Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer(s): Naughty Dog
Release Date: March 28, 2023 Price: $59.99, $99.99 for the Firefly Edition
Why are we putting a spoiler tag on a ten-year-old game? Because we can! Also, this was actually my first time playing this game. Ever. And some people might be in that same boat as they may not have had a PS3-PS5, so bear with us, ok? We will be keeping things light on the story since this is the PC port of the remake that has been out for a while and focusing on how the game handles on PC and whether the content holds up.
So for those of you who somehow don’t know by now, The Last of Us Part 1 focuses on a world where a fungus known as Cordyceps (which is a real thing btw) has infected the population and turned them into monsters. A man named Joel was there at its beginning and the chaos of the initial outbreak caused him to lose his daughter. Fast forward 20 years later, and Joel is a bitter man in an even bitter world. He and his partner Tess are contracted by a group known as the Fireflies to escort a young girl named Ellie to one of their outposts. It turns out, Ellie is immune from Cordyceps, making her the literal cure to the madness. What follows is a harrowing and dark journey full of big character moments, high drama, lots of action, and a third act that many hold in reverence to this day.
While I already knew about the twist ending and some of the scenes, but I didn’t “understand” much of the full story until I watched the HBO show. The game and show are different in key aspects, but the gist is the same. However, there’s little doubt that even for someone who didn’t play it ten years ago, the story, characters, and worldbuilding are all top-notch. Naughty Dog put everything into this game, and it shows. The remake version is incredible because of its visuals and accessibility, but the core game and story are still intact and they were wise not to touch it as it still is incredible.
Are there flaws in it? Yes, and as I noted in a recent episode of the Nintendo Entertainment Podcast, I honestly wonder if we “gloss over” some of these flaws because of how beautiful the story is. But that’s a debate for another time.
One thing I really want to praise in this The Last of Us Part 1 PC Review is the visuals and how the world really comes alive thanks to the details Naughty Dog put into it. I have a decent gaming PC. It’s not the best, but it runs well. And even though I didn’t play the game at launch because of the buggy release. Thankfully, now that several patches have been released I was able to play the game and upon doing so, I experienced a little visual hiccups. The character models, the landscapes, the textures, and the details on some of the models looked amazing, and at times, it felt like I was watching a movie versus just a video game.
I honestly felt compelled at times to go off the beaten path and see what other details I could find or to see if there were small story elements that helped reveal what had happened in the 20 years since the Cordyceps took over. Even with the spoilers that I had, my heart sank when I learned about the fates of certain people, such as the mysterious “Ish,” who tried to save people and then had to sacrifice them and help those who could survive to move on. Or in the DLC, Left Behind, we hear about a pair of soldiers who survived an accident…only to slowly turn on each other and get wiped out. In one building, I found a family that killed themselves to avoid what was coming, and on the ground, they wrote, “they did not suffer,” to tell those who found them not to fear what happened to the kids. That’s horrifying, and yet that’s the world that this game crafts. There’s beauty in that horror, and Naughty Dog did an amazing job showing it.
All of this was punctuated by Joel and sometimes Ellie, who had to react to what happened. To me, it further helped lend to the tone of the game.
As for the gameplay, it translates mostly well to the PC. Whether you play as Joel or Ellie in the main campaign or the Left Behind DLC, you’ll need to focus not only on killing enemies but having the supplies to do so. By the end of the game, you’ll have an assortment of pistols, rifles, melee weapons, and even some mini-bombs to throw at infected, hunters, and others you come across. While I was compelled to search every room for story/worldbuilding reasons, I also made sure to find all the supplies I could. You never knew when you needed that life-saving bandage or those materials to make a nail bomb to save your butt.
Oh, and the combat was incredibly intense at times. I played on the “Moderate” difficulty but died numerous times thanks to ambushes, running out of ammo, mistimed shots, and more. Survival is the name of the game, and there are consequences when you fail. But on the flip side, it’s DEEP satisfying when you one-shot a foe, set them ablaze with a flamethrower, or see them blown apart by your nail bomb.
I also want to give a shout-out to the game’s voice actors. The performances were already incredible ten years ago, with people like Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson heading things up. But with the upgraded models, the performances are given even more weight as you really feel like these characters are alive.
The main campaign took me less than 15 hours to beat, and that was with me searching almost everywhere. Plus, you have the “Left Behind” DLC, which will add about two hours, depending on how quickly you get through the combat scenes. It’s worth every hour. So whether you’re new to this universe or playing it on a fresh system, you’ll have fun.
So now we get to the point of this The Last of Us Part 1 PC Review, where I spell out what’s wrong with the game. Let’s start with the story. Again, this is my first time enjoying it from start to finish, so please understand that when I spell out these critiques.
Is The Last of Us one of the best stories ever written? I’d say so. But there are some flaws. Some of the “seasonal jumps” were rather jarring, and it made me question how Joel and Ellie didn’t bring up certain topics until that new season had come. Second, there were times in the story when certain attacks would happen, but they never explained WHY they happened or how. The attack on Tommy’s power plant stood out as Joel and Ellie were almost shot for just trying to enter, and yet raiders somehow came in force, and no one sounded the alarm until they had already stormed their way in. It was odd.
Going to the gameplay, the controls on PC weren’t the best in key areas. Switching between weapons was not easy in the heat of battle, and I died many times because of it. When you’re fully loaded with weapons, you sometimes forget as you switch whether a weapon is already reloaded or not. If it’s not…? You’re screwed. I also had glitches in the game where sometimes the action commands didn’t work at all! For example, in the assault on the power plant, I couldn’t get Joel to crouch, no matter how I pressed the “C” button. It only fixed itself when Joel died.
As for the infamous PC launch issues, I had to deal with one or two of them. The first was the “Building Shaders” issue which caused me to wait an hour upon first starting the game before I could even try to play. Then, whenever an update had to load, the process would begin again! Thankfully, it took less time in the following attempts.
However, when trying to play “Left Behind,” Steam said that I had to “verify files,” and I’ve NEVER had to do that with ANY game EVER! Apparently, eight of the files “forgot to load” or “didn’t download correctly,” which took a while to fix.
Even still, this game is a near-masterpiece in any form, and the PC version is no different. Yes, it has glitches and issues that hold it back, but to Naughty Dogs’ credit, they are still working to address the issues plaguing the PC port. But if you can look past them, you’ll have a great experience.
Review Disclosure Statement: The Last of Us Part 1 was provided to us by PlayStation for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
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The Last Of Us Part 1 PC Review
The Last Of Us Part 1 on PC is easily one of the best versions of the beloved title. While not everything hits as it should, so long as you have a good PC to play it on, you’ll enjoy the experience.