The Last of Us Part 1 Mobility Review — Can I Play That?

Carlos Moscoso5 minute read

The Last of Us Part 1 Mobility Accessibility

Mobility

The Last of Us Part 1 is an impressive remake and does a lot for mobility. It falls short in areas with slow AI, no dodging, and clunky combat with an uncomfortable focus on stealth with overwhelming combat.

  • Assistive tools for traversal
  • Single stick and remapping
  • Automatic looting
  • Toggles and holds
  • No dodging available
  • AI can be slow to help
  • Overwhelming combat

The Last of Us Part 1 is Naughty Dog’s latest blockbuster endeavor. Aimed at bringing its post-apocalyptic magnum opus to the current console generation as a remake. The title is complete with updated visuals and performance in the same way the Uncharted Legacy of Thieves collection was. The Last of Us Part 1 also comes packed with a vast suite of accessibility options.

This PS5 review focuses primarily on The Last of Us Part 1 for the motor-function accessibility suite. You can read our more hefty accessibility review here.

For the uninitiated, the story takes place 20 years after Cordyceps fungus has mutated to create a variant that now affects humans. The majority of the population has become hideously deformed bloodthirsty abominations — survivors, violent scavengers with little to no morals left. The player assumes control of Joel, a smuggler living in the Boston Quarantine Zone who transports contraband.

Mobility and Hints

From an accessibility perspective, the biggest draw of The Last of Us Part 1 PS5 remake is that it attempts to incorporate accessibility features found in more recent Naughty Dog titles. While this definitely sounds excellent in theory, its execution is a mixed bag as it works better in some areas than others.

One feature that is a welcome addition is the ability to have Joel automatically retrieve ammo and crafting supplies. This saves those with low mobility the hassle of repeatedly pressing Triangle to pick them up individually. The joysticks can also be set to an assistive mode, allowing the left stick to control both the movement and turning if desired. This eliminates the use of the right hand almost entirely.

An infected is lurched over Joel on the floor, they struggle. A button prompt appears indicating to be pressed.

Repeated taps can also be changed to holds and sprinting can be set to toggle along with many other actions. This helps a great deal during an early chase sequence, and later, a retreat from a jeep. However, the accessibility suite often falters in regards to combat and the hint system. It’s here where I find its biggest flaws.

I wouldn’t recommend this to those who struggle with stealth. Stealth is heavily encouraged, and not only is an attacker’s field of vision difficult to detect because the indicator is transparent but you are never explicitly told when you are properly hidden. With the assistive mode enabled, pressing L3 orients Joel in the direction of his goal by both showing an arrow and physically turning him. For reasons unknown to me, it often points him in the wrong direction.

Joel, on a beach. An arrow for assistive navigation appears.

One aspect of the game that I appreciate is the option to automatically vault over obstacles. This made the aforementioned jeep retreat a breeze because I no longer needed to press X while holding forward to vault. The extra few seconds shaved off by both not having to press X or use the right stick to turn are the difference between life and death here.

Apart from all of this, controls are fully remappable in any desired combination. A ledge guard indicator that vibrates when Joel is about to go over an edge has also been carried over from The Last of Us Part 2.  

Problems with Open Combat

Dramatic photo of Joel, holding a shotgun after firing it. Red and slightly Infected body bits can be seen blurred to the right.

The Last of Us Part 1 incorporates the same aim-assist feature found in both The Last of Us Part 2 and Uncharted 4. Nearby enemies are targeted automatically with this on. The trouble with using this system in this title is that because stealth is such a big part of the experience, even when aim-assist is active, It’s difficult not to be swarmed. There are often more enemies than available ammo.

The Last of Us Part 1 contains an option in the accessibility menu that prevents allies from being grabbed. However, at the time of writing, it doesn’t seem effective. On three different occasions, allies were grabbed and killed by the infected. Friendly AI also reacts slowly to Joel being grabbed and commonly fails to prevent his grisly demise.

Joel aims at a hunter who is keeled over in pain behind a bar. A reticle appears over them.

If there is any aspect of the combat that I wish had been brought over from the sequel, It’d be a dedicated dodge button. One of the biggest gripes I have always had with the combat of the first entry is that the counter system for melee combat has no set parameters. Since there is no surefire way to dodge, I’m often hit by attacks I can see well before they land simply because the prompt doesn’t appear. If there was a dedicated button instead of a contextual one, there would be no need to wait for a prompt.

Conclusion

The Last of Us Part 1 has its fair share of accessibility flaws and the AI may not be quite as responsive as the original. However, new character models, higher fidelity, and an impressive motor-function accessibility suite make it the definitive way to experience the seminal masterpiece.

A review copy of The Last of Us Part 1 was provided by the developer / publisher.

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