With Sony having confirmed The Last Of Us Remastered for release next month, we took the opportunity to revisit Naughty Dog’s award-winning blockbuster. Having explored segments of the campaign using the all-new Grounded difficulty setting, we then changed our focus to multiplayer.
At launch, the game’s online component was exciting: a refreshing take on the traditional team deathmatch formula. Naughty Dog had taken the core mechanics and dropped them into a multiplayer environment, creating an intimate, tactical affair. Employing stealth, crafting, and resource management, each battle felt like an actual skirmish as opposed to just a mindless firefight.
If you have been out of action for the past few months, then don’t expect a warm welcome upon returning. As with any online game, The Last Of Us has its fair share of fanatics, many of whom have put in hundreds of hours. Needless to say, coming face to face with parties of such die-hards is far from enjoyable. If you aren’t constantly on the receiving end of molotovs, you’ll likely be receiving a facial massage with a two by four or stumbling over well-placed trip mines.
Of course, you can decide to jump into a lobby that filters out parties, but there’s a cost. If you’re keen to try the new downloadable maps, using this matchmaking option means they will only pop up very rarely. Whether or not it’s worth running the gauntlet is entirely up to you. For those looking to test their mettle, there are four new maps available via the Reclaimed Territories pack. Available via the season pass, it arrived a few weeks ago alongside a slew of new player perks and weapons.
Let’s get these out of the way first. Among the new weapons, there is a Grenade Launcher and Double Barrel, as well as the Spectre, a silenced assault rifle. Each of these are special weapons, meaning they have to be unlock during matches, barring them from player’s initial loadouts. The only new regular weapon on show is the Enforcer, a powerful pistol which has become a personal favourite, especially when combined with the silencer.
Eight perk-like Skills are also available, allowing fireflies and hunters to further customise their playstyles. These include core buffs such as advanced movement speed and spawning ammo bonuses as well as damage markers and shortened bomb fuses. Fans will be glad to hear that none of the new skills “break” the game. Some have higher tiers, though all are fairly balanced and useful in a variety of combat scenarios.
Despite spending several hours with Reclaimed Territories, I can’t help myself being drawn to the game’s original map pack. These new inclusions, based on various locales from The Last Of Us, come across as more congested though are still enjoyable. Water Tower and Wharf offer little to no open space, meaning plenty of tight corridor encounters and corner-popping ambushes. Capitol and Coal Mine are far more spacious, however, with a fair mix of indoor and exterior vantage points.
The multiplayer is still an enjoyable affair, especially if you are hankering for something a little different. However, with more hours under the belt than I care to admit, I can feel my journey coming to an end. Each match may serve up a unique narrative of lucky pot-shots and gnarly executions, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. The novelty of TLOU’s metagame has more than worn off with the lack of a cohesive ranking system as well as challenges and better customisation also beginning to grind. Sadly, none of this will likely be changed going into next month’s re-release.