Naughty Dog’s prestige third-person narrative game The Last of Us Part 1 is sitting on a Steam user rating (opens in new tab) of Mixed right now, with only 43% of user reviews giving it a thumbs up. Those user reviews on the negative tip say things like, “Hot stuttering garbage even on low settings” and “as broken as my household.” In a word: ouch.
“We know some of you have not experienced the Naughty Dog quality you expected”, begins the developer’s Twitter thread (opens in new tab) addressed to The Last of Us Part 1 PC players. “Our team is working hard to resolve issues currently preventing some of you from experiencing the game to ensure it reaches the quality level you expect and deserve.
“A hotfix addressing jittering on mouse-controlled camera movement, some crashes, and more for The Last of Us Part I on PC is slated for Tuesday. A larger patch with additional fixes will be deployed later in the week. We also encourage players to ensure you are using the latest Nvidia, AMD, and Intel graphics drivers. Our team, and our dedicated partners at Iron Galaxy will continue to investigate and address known issues to deliver the great The Last of Us Part I experience you expect.”
The PC port had originally been scheduled for a March 3 release, but was pushed back to March 28 in part because of the HBO adaptation’s popularity shining a light on it. “And so we want to make sure that The Last of Us Part 1 PC debut is in the best shape possible”, Naughty Dog said at the time. “The additional few weeks will allow us to ensure this version of The Last of Us lives up to your, and our, standards.”
Fast forward to release week, and many players found things did not live up to their standards. Some reported crashes and poor performance, others encountered bugs like levitating NPCs, noodly hair, protagonist Joel having weird-looking bushy eyebrows, and characters who became dripping wet out of nowhere in the middle of cutscenes.
I’ve mostly been one of those annoying “runs fine for me” guys, and not encountering Eyebrows Joel or any inexplicable moistness so far. But even then, it crashed at the menu the first time I launched it and despite waiting for the shaders to finish compiling before I started to play, the framerate constantly bounces between 130+ and the mid-50s. As one Steam user put it, “When it runs, it runs flawless, when it crashes, it crashes 150 times in a row.”
What makes this particularly galling for many is the reputation The Last of Us has as a peak videogame experience, one of those Games You Have To Play to be part of the conversation around the medium. Those who are running it OK, thanks to luck or being well beyond The Last of Us Part 1’s system requirements, seem to be impressed. The positive user reviews say things like, “Great game and story. Better played with MnK rather than controller” and “It was the first time I played it, and I was blown away. I can honestly say that it’s now one of my top 3 favorite games of all time.”
The most recent hotfix brought The Last of Us Part 1 up to version 220.127.116.11, with patch notes (opens in new tab) explaining that “The team is closely watching player reports to support future improvements and patches.” That patch “addresses fixes that improve memory, performance” as well as a few more things detailed below.
- Decreased PSO cache size to reduce memory requirements and minimize Out of Memory crashes
- Added additional diagnostics for developer tracking purposes
- Increased animation streaming memory to improve performance during gameplay and cinematics
- Fix for crash on first boot
Naughty Dog’s list of known issues (opens in new tab) includes a note that says players who encounter issues not resolved by the latest patch should submit a ticket to its support website (opens in new tab). You can also choose whether to let Sony collect full data while you play in the menu, though to add insult to injury, the unchanged in-game text says this will, “Help us build the best PlayStation experience!”