Ellie and Joel driving in The Last of Us Part 1

The last of us part 1 review

The last of us part 1 review

need to know

what is it? The groundbreaking PlayStation post-apocalyptic narrative adventure.

Expect to pay: £50/$60

release date: come out now

Developer: naughty dogs

Publisher: game console computer

commented on: i7 9700K, RTX 2080TI, 16GB RAM

multiplayer game? No

Association: Official Website(opens in a new tab)

You have of course heard it by now. Sony’s unanimous 2013 stealth action flick The Last of Us Part 1 has yet to arrive on PC in stellar form. The performance issues were numerous and severe, and they persisted despite two patches from developer Naughty Dog and a driver fix from Nvidia for more than a week after release.

It should be so different. The internet’s servers are under the weight of all the Bella Ramsay and Pedro Pascal memes that were spun off from the TV adaptation of The Last of Us, and this accidental time PC version should be ours Opportunity not just to stream a well-known classic in its best form, but to enjoy it as a companion to a hit HBO series of the moment.

(Image source: Sony)

That’s not to say. Instead, it’s a battle with the shader cache, with load times longer than even the most unoptimized console emulator you download from the darkest corners of a retro gaming internet forum. There are reviews on the game’s Steam page claiming that the two-hour refund period expires before the shader build is complete, and they’re not kidding. Fortunately, Steam made an exception by offering refunds to all players who purchased TLOUs, no questions asked. It’s an indictment of how bad the launch situation is.

I’ve installed the game three times on two different systems, and the fastest time I’ve seen TLOU complete a shader build is 40 minutes. The slowest, by the way, was after the game’s patch, which took just over two hours. I’ve seen users with RTX 4090s report shader build times exceeding an hour.

performance anxiety

What happens if you don’t wait until it finishes building shaders? In my experience, a “The Last of Us” flip book. On RTX 2080 TI and 3060, due to incomplete shader cache, the performance level is very low and cannot be played. Even if I can live with the framerate spikes, on-screen graphical artifacts are a real problem to contend with. For me, Joel’s hair and eyebrows turned into blocks of blocky color in one cutscene. In another scene, Sarah’s bedroom becomes a nightmare of floaters. After compiling the shaders, I didn’t notice any visual artifacts. Well, the wait is basically mandatory.

(Image source: Sony)

On high graphics settings and higher, this is the best the game has ever seen. But the two systems had inconsistent frame rates on medium settings, and frankly, it wasn’t much fun during combat sequences. Cycling between presets didn’t alleviate the stutter, and aside from the low preset, I didn’t notice a significant increase in frame rate.

However, what I’ve noticed is that when I run the game, my CPU completely crashes. My 2080 TI is running at 100% system resource capacity, but more worryingly my i7 9700K – not quite a 64 core monster, but rarely a bottleneck in any other games I play – has been It’s at 99% or 100% because it’s my system memory. This is a recipe for freezing and crashing. To be fair, I’ve only experienced CTD when using the alt-tab key, but on the streets of Boston, freezes are much more common. And don’t get me started on the load times.

All of this means that while the game is technically playable at launch, it’s not enjoyable. In fact, it still needs several patches and driver updates to be enjoyable.

Sony’s other PC ports have been exemplary lately, and while Horizon: Zero Dawn’s shaders aren’t in a rush to compile either, the problem isn’t as obvious as it is here. Considering the fact that this PC port was specifically delayed to allow time for further optimizations – well, I’m confused.

(Image source: Sony)

You can also see the detail and effort that went into this build. Audio settings are about as comprehensive as you’ll find in the game’s options menu, and while tweaking graphics options isn’t as clear and straightforward as Resident Evil Village, it comes with a handy GDDR capacity counter, but it’s by no means a light set to tweak level parameters. These issues don’t happen because no one checks that the game works, or because the developers aren’t diligent or hardworking. But here we are.

buff daddy

Let’s talk about games, shall we? The chances of it becoming playable in the near future are slim. I happened to be on the staff of Official PlayStation Magazine UK when it first launched in 2013, and I’ve only known the office’s enthusiasm for it once or twice in my career. It’s a post-apocalyptic story that seems to have oversaturated us in an industry—urban areas “reformed by nature” are as ubiquitous as bows and arrows in 2013—but nonetheless, it stands out immediately because It puts the focus on people, and to incredible effect.

The influence of TLOU’s mature tone has diminished in 2023, but that’s partly because Naughty Dog’s scripted dialogue and style of performance capture have become so influential. “This could be a movie or a TV show”, we all said to each other when that famous intro started playing. Sarah wakes up in a uniquely convincing home, pacing alone in half-asleep while sirens and strange noises blare outside. With barely a word, TLOU puts you in a real-world setting and asserts that there will be no Uncharted here.

(Image source: Sony)

Like 2013’s other big game, BioShock Infinite, it’s a study in fatherhood. Unlike the former’s infinite loop and bearded man becoming his own father, Joel’s story is stripped, raw, and messy. That’s what Doomsday does best, as a scene — cutting out all the extraneous noise in life and leaving only what’s absolutely necessary. How can humans win when all the infrastructure around them is cut off? The trickiest part is: how do you maintain your personal humanity?

Joel is sad. He uses this grief to his advantage, shuts down his feelings, and does what he needs to do to survive. Until he’s on a mission to smuggle a 14-year-old girl who reminds him of his daughter, at which point some long-dormant fatherly love is awakened and he and you are pulled in both directions – both wanting the best for Ellie. OK, but you’ll have to do some pretty horrific acts to keep her safe. With every fight, you’re using a little bit of your humanity to protect hers.

go this way

You really get that feeling, past and present. It’s especially impressive that you’re so emotionally involved, so early on, while the game mechanically does very little to entertain you. For the first two hours, you either walk from point to point while someone is by your side explaining the world, or moving ladders into place. Taken from an old PlayStation mag alumni – this game may have gotten a BAFTA, but Uncharted goes the extra mile to keep you entertained on a mechanical level.

(Image source: Sony)

While TLOU does ask for more from you than deftly holding the left stick forward, its combat presents you with a choice: pull out your shotgun and go in and cause mayhem, or weave between cover, Put a homemade pocket knife around someone’s unsuspecting neck and, well, make it a little quieter. Metal Gear Solid 5 isn’t, and never was, but the quality of the animations and weapon and item crafting system lift it above typical meat-and-potatoes action game combat.

Of course, fighting was never about fashion. You’re not Doomguy, jumping between elaborate melee moves synchronized with deathcore crashes. You’re a person wearing a smelly-looking shirt doing something that your circumstances absolutely compel you to do. As a result, combat is never flashy, and rarely particularly satisfying. And that, combined with the relentless “Rainy Monday Morning Manchester” palette, always keeps me from TLOU more than anyone else.

(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

It remains an important part of the game’s history. It’s a big moment when a AAA developer decides to try and tell a story in as cinematic and mature a way as possible, focusing on the subtleties of the performers. There was little interruption in their voices. The lingering look. Nothing to say. Honestly, I never cared about Fireflies, Giraffes, or the long list of desperate survivors who betrayed Joel and Ellie. But I’ve always respected the consistency of tone.

It’s a shame The Last of Us has to get such a low score from the reviews. It feels like bashing Citizen Kane because its Blu-ray features aren’t up to par, such is the game’s stellar reputation. But the state of the PC version isn’t just disappointing or annoying – as of this writing, it’s actually a real hindrance to your normal gameplay experience. There is a long dormant issue behind all the issues, but currently on PC, this issue is not happening.

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Bart Thompson
Bart is's List Writer . He is from Houston, Texas, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in creative writing, majoring in non-fiction writing. He likes to play The Elder Scrolls Online and learn everything about The Elder Scrolls series.