HD ports and Definitive Editions

So, I must confess that the console I’ve been playing the most the past couple weeks is my old Gamecube. I’m a bit OCD and I enjoy going back to polish off games that I never 100% completed. This time around, I took on the task of replaying The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker with the goal of collecting all collectables, including completing the figurine collection. For those who don’t know, there was an item in Wind Waker called the picto-box, that was essentially and in-game camera. by taking a picture of any character or enemy in the game and bringing it to an NPC near the second dungeon, you could get figurines with descriptions to put in an in-game gallery, similar to the trophies that you collect in Super Smash Bros. There are over 100 figures, so it’s a time consuming task to say the least.

All of this is a long-winded (pardon the pun) way of saying that I’ve been looking at old gamecube graphics for a lot of hours. So when I put in my copy of Wind Waker HD, last year’s rerelease for the Wii U, it was something of a shock to the system. Nostalgia might make you remember Wind Waker like Wind Waker HD, but when you put them side by side, it’s a stark difference. As much as I enjoy the collector’s pleasure of owning the original gamecube disc (I never have been able to bring myself to sell games I’ve beaten), there is no way I would ever play through the Gamecube version if I decided to beat Wind Waker a fourth time. Between the graphics and the elimination of some fetch-questing, I’ll stick with the HD version from now on. All in all, the upgrade was worth buying the game again at full price. At least to me.

Why then did I make the opposite decision on another game that many consider classic?  Just recently, Naughty Dog rereleased their critically acclaimed PS3 title, The Last of Us, on PS4.  Being a fan of the original game, I considered upgrading, but eventually decided against it.  Tomarris, my friend and counterpart over on the YouTube side of The Daily D Pad, came to a different conclusion, as you might know if you came here from the link in his Last of Us tips and tricks video.  But for me there wasn’t enough value in the “Definitive Edition” for me to pay up a second time.

First of all, like Wind Waker and its HD counterpart, I have looked at the PS3 and PS4 versions of The Last of Us Side by side in the same room.  To my own eye (and agreeing with the anecdotal evidence), you can tell the difference, but it is slight.  When you use the right stick to swing the camera quickly, the difference is most apparent.  The higher frame rate on the PS4 version is easily seen under these circumstances.  Also, in low light in-game environments, the PS4 version seems to show less shadow because of upgrades to the engine.  Most  of the time, though the graphical differences weren’t glaring to me.  If you have ever been to an eye doctor to have your eyeglasses prescription changed, the difference from 720p on the PS3 and 1080p on the PS4 is like that very last set of choices on that lens device that you look at the eye chart with.  “Is the line of letters clearer with choice A … or B.  A … or B.  You usually need to  go back and forth a few times until you’re sure which lens makes the image clearer.  The subtle upgrade in resolution with the Definitive Edition is like that.  Side by side with the old version, you need to look back and forth a few times to be sure.  It wasn’t like Wind Waker HD, where it was obvious as hell which was which.

In the end, I almost upgraded anyway when Gamestop offered 50% if you traded in your PS3 version, but I balked for two reasons that very likely don’t apply to you, dear reader.  The first is that I mostly play single player, so free multiplayer DLC is not a draw for me.  The second is that the total Hard Drive install on PS3 is about 5.5 GB between the main game and the Left Behind DLC.  On PS4, the mandatory install is 50 GB.  Killzone: Shadow Fall was the same, and at that pace, I can only put 9 games (remember that with firmware, the actually PS4 memory is quite a bit less than 500GB) on my PS4 at a time.  So in the interest of putting off buying a bigger Hard Drive for as long as possible, I’ll stick with my PS3 copy.

-Doug H

Have you played either version of The Last of Us?  Sound off in the comments or email us at thedailydpad@gmail.com.  And be sure to check out our Last of Us content at Daily D Pad on Youtube.


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