The Last of Us Part 1 review

The danger of having an opening as memorable as The Last of Us’ first 15 minutes is that, nine years later, everyone already knows what to expect. The birthday present, the wake-up call, the desperate drive into town… it’s all very much chartered territory at this point. And yet, by some magic, that reliable crutch of familiarity is gone in The Last of Us Part 1 on PS5, yanked away by the breathtaking detail that refashions every frame, leaving you as vulnerable to the sequence’s raw deluge of emotions as you were when playing it for the very first time.

The hysteria of societal breakdown heaves under the weight of an atmosphere rendered more oppressive by cutting-edge lighting and physics. The horror of the newly infected’s screams, a gargled cocktail of rabid rage and abject fear, is heightened thanks to 3D audio that pinpoints their location with terrifying accuracy. And then there’s the opening’s final moments, where the anguish of a father’s grievance is more palpable than ever – the previously hidden nuances of Troy Baker’s performance brought to the fore by Part 1’s hyperreal facial animation.

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