This new analysis of The Last Of Us Part 1 on PC seems to have identified the issue most gamers have found running it on the platform. It may surprise you to learn what exactly the issue is.
Let’s cut to the chase – The Last Of Us Part 1 uses a lot of the GPU’s VRAM. It uses as much as 12 GB VRAM on Ultra settings, and when it doesn’t get that much VRAM, it leads to performance issues.
This is inherent to how the game is programmed, and it isn’t clear if it’s something that Naughty Dog and Iron Galaxy can fix, or perhaps more importantly, should fix.
As explained by YouTube channel Hardware Unboxed, Steam surveys have indicated that most Steam users are still using older GPUs instead of upgrading. This does work fine for the majority of games that are on Steam, and is even fine for some newer games.
However, The Last Of Us Part 1 is not a port of the PlayStation 3 original. This was a remake built from the ground up for the capabilities of the PlayStation 5. That means Naughty Dog have pushed the game on PlayStation 5 hardware to the best that it can be on this generation of hardware. And so gamers who haven’t upgraded their PCs accordingly aren’t ready to run this game.
The tests Hardware Unboxed made with the game indicated that graphics cards that had 8GB of VRAM weren’t capable of running the game well at Ultra settings. While having 12 GB of VRAM seemed ideal, even graphics cards that have 10 GB of VRAM were still able to provide acceptable performance at Ultra settings, even if barely so.
At Ultra and with 8 GB of VRAM, The Last Of Us Part 1 demonstrated stutters, framerate issues, and other indications that would suggest that the game just wasn’t programmed well. But here’s the surprising solution.
According to Hardware Unboxed, simply dropping graphics quality to High makes The Last Of Us Part 1 immediately accessible to all graphics cards, even those with only 8 GB RAM. It’s implied that most gamers hadn’t tried this simple a test to get the game performing well.
Hardware Unboxed also opines that Naughty Dog shouldn’t have to bend back for backwards compatibility, if they can push the game to perform better, as it’s more forward looking. But it isn’t unreasonable to ask if Naughty Dog could do both.
Of course, when we covered The Last Of Us Part 1’s system requirements, you can see that Naughty Dog did not provide proper guidance that Ultra settings needed cards that had 8GB VRAM or above. Gamers may have just assumed that without that knowledge, it would work fine. Naughty Dog themselves may have made the incorrect assumption that most PC games would have GPUs above 8GB VRAM for Ultra, or possibly, they really intended for it to work but neglected something in the port.
In any case, Naughty Dog had promised to address these issues, so by the time you’re reading they had already made changes so that this wouldn’t even be necessary. It’s still interesting to ponder if gamers really had neglected to make some simple tests to see if their game could have worked better with one small trick.
If you’re curious, you can watch Hardware Unboxed’s video below.