The Final of Us Half 2 is nonetheless among the finest video games ever made.
It’s a sport that excels in artwork, stage design, efficiency, writing, visuals, audio design, polish, and a listing that would go on endlessly. It’s the best-in-class in so many genres of recent AAA online game growth, and that hasn’t modified since 2020. So why was the announcement of this remaster met with such a combined response?
Briefly, it’s as a result of Naughty Canine hasn’t put out an unique sport since The Final of Us Half 2. The studio which was as soon as identified for its unbelievably excessive tempo of releases has slowed considerably. Naughty Canine launched 4 unique video games on the PS3, two on the PS4, and to this point, none on the PS5. This may simply be defined by the meteoric bounce in manufacturing time, expense, and expectation between generations, however that hasn’t stopped some followers from feeling considerably let down that earlier than The Final of Us Half 2 remastered, the one factor Naughty Canine has launched on this technology of consoles is one other remake.
Whereas usually conflated in arguments in opposition to the discharge, The Final of Us Half 2 Remastered doesn’t share a lot in frequent with the remake of The Final of Us, dubbed Half 1, as a substitute it’s a lot nearer to the PS4 launch of The Final of Us, which Naughty Canine launched early within the console’s lifecycle as a result of unique sport pushing the PS3 to the brink.
The Final of Us Half 2 consists of the bottom sport, full with visible enhancements that deliver the sport as much as the usual of a PlayStation 5 sport. Even in side-by-side comparability movies you’ll in all probability battle to actually see them, however the change is rather more clear while you play the sport. The gameplay is way extra responsive due to variable frame-rate choices, which, on supported televisions, present a mixture of the sport trying its finest and feeling its finest, a trademark of different rehomed PS4 titles like Spider-Man and Ghost of Tsushima.
The haptic suggestions afforded by the DualSense controller is one of the best featured in a sport since Astro’s Playroom, with care and a spotlight paid to not solely intense moments when the controller feels prefer it’s going to blow up but additionally the serene like Joel sprucing a guitar he plans to offer to Ellie. In our interview with The Final of Us Half 2 Remastered director Matthew Gallant, he named it as one in every of his favourite options of the remaster mission, evaluating it to the “blunt instrument,” of the PS4’s rumble engine.
No Return is the most important new addition to The Final of Us Half 2 Remastered. The roguelike mode sees gamers transfer by way of fight arenas from the sport, between which they’ll improve their weapons, crafting talents, and extra. On the floor, this can be a puzzling addition to a sport that’s actually about escaping a cycle of violence, however in follow, it’s way more partaking than we anticipated.
The stealth gameplay of The Final of Us Half 2 is great, and when pushed to its problem limits can lead to a few of the most partaking cat-and-mouse kind encounters with AI but seen in video games. Naughty Canine has stated that this mode was a direct results of the requests of a big group of gamers who liked the fight of the sport a lot that they’d use the chapter choose characteristic again and again to attempt to excellent their runs by way of ranges as soon as they’d skilled it for the primary time in the principle story, and No Return delivers on that.
The opposite headline addition to The Final of Us Half 2 Remastered is The Misplaced Ranges, a collection of work-in-progress ranges reduce from the ultimate sport, alongside context and commentary explaining why they have been reduce. That is, by far, essentially the most thrilling piece of this remaster bundle, and our solely want is that there was extra of it. Whereas developer commentary isn’t something new sport, particularly in releases of this kind, attending to stroll by way of the in-progress ranges provides the mode an nearly museum-like high quality.
It’s additionally fascinating that this type of factor can be included in a sport that famously had massive parts of the sport illegally shared on-line forward of launch, resulting in footage of ranges not in contrast to these within the Misplaced Ranges to be shared on-line, completely out of Naughty Canine’s management.
To see what was clearly an extremely violating expertise being recontextualized with Naughty Canine to steer the gamers by way of content material that historically by no means sees the sunshine of day is a daring step and one we’d prefer to see different builders emulate in such releases. The secrecy round online game growth has solely turn into extra absurd lately, and for Naughty Canine to be main the cost on pulling again that curtain even barely is an excellent factor.
Whereas the content material of the sport has modified, so do has the context wherein it’s being re-released. To launch a sport about coping with the aftermath of a lethal worldwide pandemic in the midst of 2020 was a second of prescience that nobody at Naughty Canine might have probably anticipated. It induced The Final of Us Half 2 to turn into one of the crucial frighteningly well timed items of media ever launched.
Now, in 2024, whereas the echoes of the pandemic persist, and a whole bunch of 1000’s of persons are nonetheless quietly coping with the results as the remainder of the world decides it’s time we moved on, it’s onerous to not get a pit in your abdomen while you enter an deserted grocery store in an early stage, posters advising individuals to put on masks dangling off of the wall.
The Final of Us Half 2 is a seminal sport and that is the perfect option to play it. For house owners of the unique sport, the improve cost is greater than lined by No Return and The Misplaced Ranges, with improved visuals and haptic suggestions a pleasant, if not strictly mandatory enchancment. The Misplaced Ranges supply a glance underneath the hood of video games that’s not often proven off by builders of Naughty Canine’s pedigree, and can hopefully encourage others to do the identical. No Return is unusual on the floor, however in follow it’s a mode that the bottom sport’s glorious stealth mechanics has at all times deserved.