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Editor’s Note: This is an article from only one point of view. It doesn’t necessarily represent the opinion of the entire CraveOnline Gaming staff.
I’ll admit that when The Last of Us Remastered was first announced, I felt a tinge of excitement. I bought the game when it first came out, and due to it being released at the tail-end of the PS3′s life-cycle, shortly after completing it I palmed it off to my girlfriend, along with the console. I put a few hours into its surprisingly competent multiplayer, too, but when it was announced for the PS4, I relished the idea of diving back into it for a few more hours. But now that I’ve come to my senses, and have been inundated with a variety of side-by-side comparison videos and screenshots, I can see that The Last of Us Remastered is a game that shouldn’t really exist. At all.
I loved The Last of Us. While I don’t belong to the group of people who think of it as Naughty Dog’s magnum opus (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves has yet to be toppled in that regard), it had me hooked more-or-less from start to finish. There’s no need to deal out a wealth of superlatives that have already been used to describe the game, because by now everyone and his/her mother knows just how good it was, and how much of a perfect swansong it was for a great console. But now it won’t just be remembered as the PS3′s final, beautiful breath: it will be remembered as the re-release that Sony plonked into the middle of an underwhelming year for the PS4.
Like most business practices I don’t agree with, I get why Sony has requested Naughty Dog add a bit of shine to the 2013 title so it can be rolled out again for PS4 owners. I get that it’s an easy injection of cash into their coffers that presents minimal risks for them. But that doesn’t mean that I agree with it. The Last of Us Remastered isn’t your typical HD re-release that adds a great deal of polish to an old game – it’s a needless graphical update to a title that looked marvelous to begin with. The Last of Us could have been easily released on the PlayStation Network for $20-$25, but instead it’s been bumped up to 1080p and sold for under $10 less than a brand new title.
But some people haven’t played The Last of Us yet, and these are the people that Sony is targeting. Is that such a big problem? It’s one of the best games of the last decade, so the more people who get a chance to experience it the better, right? The answer to that question is yes, it is good that more people will get to play The Last of Us, but in my opinion it’s not good that they’ll do so by virtue of a “remastered” version of a game that’s not even a year old.
Related: The Last of Us Remastered Review
It’s almost laughable that the biggest exclusive release for the PS4′s first full year on the market is a rehash of a PS3 title, with ridiculous multiplayer booster packs and all. Sure, it may be decent value for money given that it will include the ‘Left Behind’ DLC and a smattering of map packs for the multiplayer mode, but I think it’s still something of a slap in the face to early adopters of the console, especially those who already owned a PS3. It’s a given that early investors in new consoles are going to receive the least amount of bang for their buck. Consoles only stand to grow cheaper over time, and as they grow cheaper they are host to a greater selection of software. If you pick up a console on launch day, then you’re getting the worst deal, it’s as simple as that. However, for Sony to place such a huge amount of backing behind The Last of Us Remastered, even going so far as to release it alongside a PS4 bundle, is essentially them throwing their hands up in the air and saying “We’ve got nothing this year, folks. Here, have a PS3 game. Please stick around with us until 2015 – we promise we’ll have something new for you to play then.”
In many ways, The Last of Us Remastered is the worst example of the gaming industry’s re-release trend we’ve yet seen, but it has escaped a lot of criticism by virtue of the excellent game that’s attached to it. People loved the original game, they love Naughty Dog and they love Sony as a manufacturer, mostly because they simply aren’t Microsoft. Indeed, when Microsoft unveiled theHalo: The Master Chief Collection at E3 2014, they received arguably more criticism than Sony has faced. A myriad of noses were upturned at the mention of the Xbox One’s major exclusive being a collection of the Halo quadrilogy, and I concur with those criticisms, but at least some notable work has been put into it. The collection’s biggest draw, the Halo 2 Anniversary Edition, is a retooled and hugely upgraded version of a 10-year-old game. We didn’t even have enough time to forget how much we loved The Last of Us before Remastered was shoved down our throats.
The most difficult thing about The Last of Us Remastered, though, is that it’s still hard for reviewers et al to not recommend it. There’s no choice of review scores being bumped down to a 6 out of 10 because it’s not a game that has any business being released right now, because it’s still a great game, and if people haven’t had the chance to experience the original, then I’ll begrudgingly admit that it’s a must-buy. However, it didn’t need to be released as a physical copy, it didn’t need to be “remastered” and it shouldn’t be used by Sony as a way of trying to make its customers forget that 2014 is an extremely slow year for the PS4.
If someone want to complain about the lack of AAA games for the first year I get it, what I don't get is how not making TLOUR would have made more games available to people. I guess I aint much clever.
And actually I remember more people complain about TLOUR than Halo MCC... didn't put the link so he don't grab more clicks.
duduspace11 "Well, since we are estimating costs, Pokemon Red/Blue did cost Nintendo about $50m to make back in 1996"
Mr Puggsly: "Hehe, I said good profit. You said big profit. Frankly, not losing money is what I meant by good. Don't get hung up on semantics"
Azzanation: "PS5 wouldn't sold out at launch without scalpers."