Review: The Last of Us Part 1 stumbles onto PC with a not so excellent port

the last of us part 1

The original The Last of Us sits atop my personal list of PlayStation 3 greats and for good reason. It came at a time in my life when I had no desire to play videogames, and although it was incredibly tense to get through, it helped me get over my slump at the time. To this day, it’s an experience that I cherish.

So much so that’s the case that when it was put out again on PlayStation 4, I happily played through that game again and even reviewed it back then. Second time through, I enjoyed it just as much as I had, and thanks to the improved visuals, I was able to pick out details I had previously missed.

With The Last of Us Part 1, the second re-release by Naughty Dog of their seminal game, previously a PlayStation 5 exclusive, things were different. Back when it was first announced, I had finally finished playing through The Last of Us Part 2 as was honestly through with the series.

Part 2 had run its course for me, and even though I did not necessarily love it like the first one, it was okay. For as bloated and overly long as it felt by the end, I felt like it worked as a closing for my time with the series. The idea of going back to that world yet again felt off, especially considering that to me, the first game was such a great time on its own. 

the last of us part 1
Real time footage of the rage-inducing effect that the shader compiling has on anyone playing this game on PC. Just kidding!

Now, having played a fair bit of the PC port of The Last of Us Part 1, I can safely say that my original feelings proved true. For someone like me who earnestly adored my time playing through that game originally and having gone back to it a few times before playing its sequel, this reworked version feels wholly unnecessary. 

As for gameplay, this new version of The Last of Us plays closely to the original. While Part 2 made great improvements to the general flow of combat and traversal, porting over the first one to its engine helped smooth over quirks that made it stiffer to play back then, with deep improvements to inventory management and movement. 

On the other hand, the knife, which served a similar purpose then it did in the sequel didn’t see any changes in this new iteration of the game. That’s probably due to the huge changes that would have to be done to gameplay in order to feature a knife that won’t break and how it’d factor into resource management overall.

The Last of Us Part 1 is a much prettier version of The Last of Us, sure. It sports updated lighting, environments and most importantly, character models. For those just coming into the franchise for the first time now, it’s the best way to experience the first entry, but for anyone else, it might just end up being a rethread too many. And that’s not even getting into the host of issues that plague the initial release of it on PC. 

the last of us part 1
The updated character models look amazing.

This review is based on the launch version of The Last of Us Part 1 post day one-patch that was put out mere days after the release. I’m playing it on the same machine I used to test Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection — that is, a fairly old configuration with a newly installed GeForce 3060 Phoenix 12Gb video card.

Upon a fairly long shader compilation that took my rig over three hours to complete, it’s safe to say that as it is now, this port isn’t up to snuff when it comes to optimization. Then again, once that process was over, general performance of the game was decent enough, running it on as close to ultra as possible, but sub 4K.

When compared to Naughty Dog and Iron Galaxy’s previous release, The Last of Us Part 1 runs somewhat on par, even though the game tends to be way more of a hog when it comes to CPU and GPU usage. Out of the 12Gb of available video memory, it sucked nearly 90% of it, and the same goes for processing power, taking up practically all of my computer’s cores to run. 

the last of us part 1
Ahh! The walking dead have been the humans the whole time!

We’re talking about a game that was reported to run smoothly on PS5, and by all means it should be even better on PC. Surely, it’s bound to get patched up to a satisfactory state most definitely, but it’s kind of crazy that it’s as problematic as it is even after it was delayed last minute. 

Users with varying configurations are reporting serious hardware issues running the game, and even though the worst of my problems happened to be tied to shaders and resources in lieu of crashes and whatnot, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. The Last of Us Part 1 is Sony’s big chance to capture an entirely new audience, and its success will serve as a measure to whether or not there’s a chance its sequel will even come out on PC.

Now, if that is to happen, the responsibility rests on Sony’s shoulders in getting this port up and running well before its disastrous reception ruins what otherwise should be a momentous occasion for PC players. Such an arrival on the platform deserves much better.

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