Translating a beloved video game franchise to TV or film is a famously dicey move. But so far, HBO appears to have done the almost-impossible with its adaptation of Naughty Dog's 2013 masterpiece The Last of Us, churning out an outstanding show with a stellar cast while staying true to the soul and mechanics of its source material. (Read Mashable entertainment reporter Belen Edwards' review for the full scoop.)
If watching the first episode has you itching to boot up a PlayStation, you're not alone: The acclaimed third-person survival horror game and its sequel are starting to sell out at major retailers in the wake of the show's Sunday, Jan. 15 premiere. Here's a quick rundown of all of your buying options (in order of release date) and their online availability at the time of publication.
The Last of Us (2013)
A PS3 release, the original TLOU earned a slew of awards upon release and quickly solidified itself as one of the greatest PlayStation exclusives of all time. (Read our review from the Mashable archives.) It's best as a collector's item nowadays, since there are better-looking remasters and remakes available, but you can still play it if you've held onto an old console.
The Last of Us Remastered (2014)
Naughty Dog gave the game a minor facelift for the PS4 a year after launching in the form of TLOU Remastered. This one includes the single-player campaign in full 1080p with improved visuals, higher-res character models, and several gameplay updates, plus an expansion pack called The Last of Us: Left Behind that adds several new chapters about Ellie and her friend Riley and two bonus maps for the game's Factions multiplayer mode. (Reddit says it's still alive and kicking, for what it's worth.)
PlayStation Plus Premium subscribers can download TLOU Remastered for free. Otherwise, grab a new copy of the game from the PlayStation Store or Best Buy for $19.99, or save a few bucks with the pre-owned version at GameStop for $17.99. (Amazon and Target's inventories were both wiped within the last few days.)
The Last of Us Part II (2020)
Set five years after Joel and Ellie's original post-apocalyptic journey out west, TLOU's grueling but gorgeous sequel lived up to players' astronomically high expectations (and then some), nabbing over 300 Game of the Year awards to become the most-awarded game in history; it was only just dethroned by Elden Ring. Note that the first season of the HBO series only covers the events of the first game, but a second season that continues the story seems very likely.
There are two editions available for the PS4, with a free performance patch for PS5:
The base game of TLOU2 retails for $39.99, but you can get it on sale at Walmart for $19.96 or on Amazon for $26.99. It's currently stuck at full price at Best Buy, GameStop, and the PlayStation Store, and sold out at Target.
Digital Deluxe Edition
For $10 more, you can upgrade to the Deluxe Edition through the PlayStation Store for a digital soundtrack, a mini digital art book, a dynamic theme for your console, and a set of six exclusive PSN avatars.
The Last of Us Part I (2022)
Naughty Dog re-revisited the first TLOU last year for a PS5 remake that features a complete visual overhaul and modernized gameplay with new controls, new enemy AI, enhanced combat, haptic feedback, better audio, and more accessibility options. (Psst: It'll be coming to PC in March 2023.) Like TLOU Remastered, it also includes the Left Behind single-player DLC. Choose from two editions:
Digital Deluxe Edition
This edition sets the player up for success with early unlocks of skill upgrades, weapon upgrades, weapon skins, a gameplay filter, and a speedrun mode. It's up for grabs in the PlayStation Store for $79.99.