The Last of Us Part 1: Biggest Changes In The Remake

The Last of Us Part 1 is finally here, but what are the biggest changes in the remake? Here is everything that's different from the original version of the game from 2013.

The Last of Us PC
The Last of Us Part 1: The biggest changes from the original version of the game. | © Sony

The Last of Us Part 1 is here, having released on September 2 for PS5. The game is a full overhaul of the original game from 2013, which released on PS3 back then. It's been "only" 9 years, and only 8 since the remaster for PS4. But Sony and Naughty Dog decided to bring out their classic again, including tons of improvements and changes.

But what are the biggest changes between the original and the remake? What is different in terms of graphics, gameplay and accessibility? In this article, we have summarized the most important differences and improvements in The Last of Us Part 1.

The Last of Us Part 1: Graphical Changes

Part 1 is a full-on remake of the original The Last of Us. This mainly shows in the graphics, which have been completely redone to match the visual quality and identity of The Last of Us Part 2. We won't count off all the changes, that would be silly. Everything is different, looks better and sharper. Textures are much more hi-res, shadows are not as muddy, resolution is much higher and the frame rate is at a smooth 60 fps (on performance mode). Cutscenes now seamlessly transition into gameplay and much, much more.

We will focus on some highlights and some of the most important areas in the graphical changes, including changes to faces and lighting.

Different, More Detailed Faces & Characters

The Last of Us Part 1 Joel
The Last of Us Part 1 massively improved character faces. | © Sony

A huge difference is in the faces of the characters, which have been completely changed. Not just in terms of visual quality, they obviously look much more realistic and detailed than in the PS3 original. But the designs for most characters have also massively changed, since every character has been revamped.

Joel and Ellie looked significantly changed between The Last of Us and Part 2. Their designs have been changed, making them look a lot closer to their older versions in the second game.

The Last of Us Part 1 Tess
The Last of Us Part 1 redesigned a lot of characters. | © Sony

Every character model is different in the game, with some having major differences. While characters like Tommy and Bill mainly look more realistic but remain recognizable in their design, others have changed completely. Tess (pictured above) looks like a completely different character now. Not just more realistic, but a lot grislier and weathered.

The impressive remake is also slated to come to PC. See all details on that here:


Changes like this will surely cause controversy, but it can't be denied that the new character models and faces are extremely impressive. It is on par with The Last of Us Part 2, which was already very strong in that regard.

Much Stronger Lighting

This is one of the other major graphical changes in the remake. The lighting is so much better. No shade for the OG TLOU, but the game did come out on a PS3. The powerful PS5 is a much more powerful consoles, and it especially shows in the new lighting.

The Last of Us Part 1 Lighting Changes
The Last of Us Part 1 has extremely impressive lighting. | © Sony / Digital Foundry

The PS5 is capable of dynamic lighting and shadows, which looks extremely impressive. In hindsight, the lights in The Last of Us often look flat and harsh. In the remake, everything looks richer, more realistic and more impressive.

This change is most strongly visible in the scene predicted above. In the original, the light shines through the door in a way that is super ugly and unrealistic. In the remake, thanks to the improved lighting, this scene looks a lot more natural and atmospheric.

Naughty Dog games have always been technically impressive, and it really shows here. There are tons of details that have been changed and improved in the remake. For a very thorough breakdown, we highly recommend the tech review by the always great Digital Foundry.


The Last of Us Part 1: Gameplay Changes

The difference in gameplay are less obvious and eye-popping than the amazing new visuals. However, there are some noticeable changes which promise an "improved gameplay experience".

Here is a short overview of the gameplay changes:

  • Moving and shooting have been completely overhauled, to create a hybrid between the original and Part 2
  • Tons of animations have been redone, i.e. to create more impact, make stealth smoother etc.
  • Level design has been changed at points
  • AI behavior has been overhauled, making enemies more aggressive and NPCs more realistic
  • Bow mechanics have been overhauled
  • Environments are more reactive, with more destruction introduced

Oh, and of course, we cannot forget the best feature: Giraffe haptics! The unique features of the DualSense have been implemented in Part 1, including adaptive triggers while shooting and yes, haptics in specific sequences.

The Last of Us Part 1 Giraffe Haptics
The Last of Us Part 1 includes the special features of the DualSense controller. | © Sony

The Last of Us Part 1: Accessibility Options

One of the biggest changes to the original game is in the accessibility options. The game now includes tons of state-of-the-art features, which make it playable for more players. This includes new colorblind modes, audio description, navigation assistance, alternative control schemes and more. The new accessibility options have been detailed by Naughty Dog in this video: