Ellie in The Last of Us Part 1 PC
Image Source: Naughty Dog

The Last of Us Part I PC Review – Not Enough Shaders

Endure the framerate hitches, survive the crashes.

The Last of Us Part I on PC

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The only thing scarier than a Clicker lunging at you from out of nowhere is a Clicker lunging at you from out of nowhere, followed by a hard crash sending you back to desktop, I suppose. The Last of Us Part I has finally gotten its long-awaited PC port, following a successful first season of the HBO TV adaptation. And if you’ve been following the news even a little bit, you’ll quickly learn that the game’s PC port has been less than stellar, to say the least.

After getting two solid days’ worth of playtime in with The Last of Us Part I on PC, I can safely report that while some of the complaints and negative reviews seem to have been overblown, this is certainly not a great port, and might very well be the weakest PC port of a PlayStation exclusive game we’ve seen so far. By and large, Naughty Dog’s beloved post-apocalyptic zombie adventure looks great on PC –and it looks especially beautiful on my ultrawide monitor– but there are clear areas for improvement where optimization is concerned.

The game ran fine for the most part, though there were noticeable framerate drops and hiccups especially during action sequences. Over the course of my playthrough, I also experienced a handful of crashes, though nothing as severe as hard crashes every 20 minutes as some user reports have suggested.

Image Source: Naughty Dog via Twinfinite

That being said, it’s worth noting that The Last of Us Part I does seem to suffer from some egregiously long loading times on PC as well. While the initial load times on PS3 and PS4 had also been fairly lengthy, they were particularly noticeable on PC, especially since I had the game installed on an SSD and generally expected it to load just a tad faster. Every loading screen seemed to take up a considerable amount of time, whether you were booting the game up for the first time, or waiting to load a previous checkpoint after dying.

I also had trouble getting the shaders to properly build and load; the game starts the building process whenever you boot it up, but it literally takes forever that you’d probably end up sitting around for half an hour before you get to actually play anything. You can start up the game while the shaders are still loading, but do be warned that this is likely one of the main causes for the reported crashes.

So, all in all, not a great first outing for The Last of Us on PC. On a graphical level, I appreciated all the little visual options and settings I could tweak on the fly, and as someone who’s grown a deep appreciation for games with ultrawide support, I couldn’t help but be taken in by The Last of Us’ graceful nature-y settings all over again. The lighting effects are stunning, the character models and animations are crisp, and it’s just a fantastic looking game overall.

boston qz in the last of us
Image Source: Naughty Dog via Twinfinite

With this being a port of the PS5 re-release from last August, there are quite a few new bells and whistles to look forward to as well. Speedrun and permadeath modes are welcome for players who want to challenge themselves, not to mention the improved AI behavior, which helps the game feel more immersive. As someone who used to always snicker whenever Ellie would straight up dash in front of her foes and watch them be completely oblivious to her movements, it was nice re-experiencing the game with somewhat of an increase in degree of realism.

10 years on, and The Last of Us still feels as timeless as ever. It is, without a doubt, the crown jewel of Naughty Dog’s catalog, but for now, I’d hold off for a bit if you’re thinking about picking it up on PC. Fantastic game, but maybe wait for a patch or two to smooth things over first.

3
The Last of Us Part I
10 years on, and The Last of Us still feels timeless as ever. It is, without a doubt, the crown jewel of Naughty Dog's catalog, but for now, I'd hold off for a bit if you're thinking about picking it up on PC. Fantastic game, but maybe wait for a patch or two to smooth things over first.
Pros
  • Still a solid narrative adventure.
  • Holds up really well graphically.
  • A few new tweaks and additions to spice things up if you've played it before.
Cons
  • Pretty bad framerate hitches.
  • Occasional hard crashes can be very frustrating.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review. Reviewed on PC.

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Author
Zhiqing Wan
Zhiqing is the Reviews Editor for Twinfinite, and a History graduate from Singapore. She's been in the games media industry for nine years, trawling through showfloors, conferences, and spending a ridiculous amount of time making in-depth spreadsheets for min-max-y RPGs. When she's not singing the praises of Amazon's Kindle as the greatest technological invention of the past two decades, you can probably find her in a FromSoft rabbit hole.