The Last of Us Part II Remastered review

by on January 16, 2024
Release Date

January 19, 2024


I remember being stunned when the credits rolled for The Last of Us Part II, feeling emotionally scarred and numb following the final act’s events. It was much bleaker than the original, twice as long, and more ambitious with its gameplay. Naughty Dog also took a massive gamble in making the player take control of a character that many would automatically hate after those violent, heartbreaking events in that cabin’s basement. The Last of Us Part II Remastered welcomes players back to the story of Ellie and Abby with a ton of new features and improvements, and yeah, it’s fantastic.

The Last of Us Part II Remastered is a technical marvel. It plays like a dream, looks phenomenal, and runs without a hitch. The loading times have been improved significantly, and while not at the same level as the likes of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, it’s much quicker than it used to be. Visually, everything has been improved wherever you look. Not only does the level of detail in everything seem so much more impressive, the lighting and textures have all been enhanced to the pinnacle of what’s possible on the console. The moment these improvements became noticeable for me was when crawling around the shipping yard after the halfway point of the game.

I was trying to evade a bunch of clickers, and while moving under one of the huge crates, I saw the reflection of the distant buildings in one of the puddles I had to crawl through. It was a fleeting moment, and one you’d not normally pay any attention to, but it highlighted just how much effort Naughty Dog has put into making this game as realistic as possible. Every memory of the original looks astounding, and seeing them again, whether it’s the warm and welcoming sights of Jackson, the overgrown streets of Seattle, or the poignant events at the Wyoming Museum of Science and History, it’s simply stunning.

Perhaps the biggest addition to The Last of Us Part II Remastered is the rogue-lite mode No Return. We were treated to God of War Ragnarok: Valhalla at the very end of 2023, and it spoiled us. Honestly, it’s stolen a bit of the thunder of No Return, but it’s a cool mode that offers plenty of replayability and some tense moment-to-moment gameplay across a host of familiar locations. Each run starts off with picking a character, unlocking more as you go. Ellie and Abby are your two main choices, but you’ll soon be able to play as previously unplayable characters like Jessie, Dina, and Manny.

Each run starts off at the Hideout where you can pick which encounter to attempt, upgrade your weapons providing you have enough parts, improve your skills via supplements, and spend coins for new weapons and gear. These encounters all have different objectives, where enemies act differently depending on which one you select. Assault sees you fighting off waves of enemies, and Hunted is all about surviving constant attacks for a set amount of time. New ones unlock the more you play, such as Capture which sees you attempting to reach a safe in a set time to grab a ton of supplies, and Holdout, which pushes you to survive against Infected.

Whether it’s the W.L.F, the Infected, or the Seraphites, you’ll be challenged more and more. Random encounters only reveal themselves when you click on them, so there’s always a risk and reward to choosing your path to the end of the run. Sometimes you might get an ally to fight the enemies with, and there are also modifiers that will be applied, such as speed boosts after vaulting, screen filters and heavy fog, bombs dropping from enemies after death, and all crafting options being available. There are separate challenges called Gambits you can undertake for more crafting parts, coins, and supplements, which might see you needing to land a certain amount of headshots, and points modifiers for each encounter that make them even harder.

If you get to the end, you’ll have to face off against a boss, which caps off a stressful journey throughout each run. Depending on who you pick for each run, they all have certain skills and benefits, as well as restrictions in how they play. Tommy, for example, uses a sniper rifle, but in close-quarter combat, he can’t dodge. These changes switch up how you approach each run, making every one different from the last. A lot of work has been put into No Return, and it offers a refreshing way to experience the gameplay of The Last of Us Part II Remastered. The ability to customise runs and take on daily runs set up by Naughty Dog means you’ll spend a ton of hours with it alongside the already phenomenal main story, even when it gets harder to survive.

The Last of Us Part II Remastered expands on the original story with three lost levels that can be played at any time, and while they’re relatively short and unfinished, they’re still decent enough to provide more context to the story. My favourite was one that was cut when Ellie gets knocked into the river by a clicker on her way to the aquarium. There’s a moment that highlights Ellie’s PTSD following the ‘golf club’ scene which the commentary over the scene talks about why it was cut, and I’m so glad it was. There’s another involving a boar akin to the rabbit scene from the original, and one in a fair in Jackson, where fans of Part II are going to enjoy the additional context.

This background to the story continues in the commentary that can be applied to cutscenes involving the likes of Neil Druckmann, Troy Baker, Laura Bailey, and Ashley Johnson, and like the first remaster, it’s heaven for fans who want to know every little detail about how it was made and what they all thought about it. The Last of Us Part II Remastered is a magnificent achievement by Naughty Dog, but adding further content like the Speed Run mode, Guitar Free Play, and new unlockable skins for Ellie and Abby on top of everything else I’ve mentioned makes it the perfect version of an already incredible game.

The Last of Us Part II Remastered offers players a wealth of new and exciting content that not only adds more context to the story, but provides new ways to play. No Return is a lengthy addition and features a well-crafted rogue-lite across familiar locations, with tense gun fights and plenty of replayability. I would have loved to have seen more lost levels, but perhaps that’s being greedy. The ones included are bitesize inclusions that offer more depth into Ellie’s story, and with commentary over the top of them, players are going to appreciate what’s been included. It looks even better than it did before, and minor tweaks such as different haptic feedback for the various weapons and new accessibility features show the amount of work put into making this more than just some re-release.


No Return is excellent
Visuals are stunning
Lost levels and commentary are great


No Return's difficulty ramps up significantly

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

The Last of Us Part II Remastered is a dense collection of content that fleshes out the main story, with a rogue-lite that is a lot of fun.