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The Last Of Us Part 1: Enhanced Listen Mode Explained

Iconic action-horror game "The Last of Us" was released for the PlayStation 3 back all the way back in 2013, but PS5 players are now going to be able to experience it in an entirely new way. "The Last of Us Part 1" remake is set to launch on Sept. 2, 2022, bringing several upgrades to Naughty Dog's dark masterpiece. The differences between the original and the new PS5 version include completely redesigned visuals (that have some fans divided), enhanced graphics, and reworked gameplay. The new release gives a new coat of paint and polish to one of the most beloved games of the last decade — and seems likely to replace the enhanced PS4 edition as the best way to play "The Last of Us."

In addition to all of these major changes, there will also be a few more subtle new features and modifications added to the game that may go unnoticed by most players. The official PlayStation Blog posted a piece listing all of the new accessibility features that are coming to the game. Several of these will be features that already existed in "The Last of Us Part 2," while others are entirely new features that have never been seen before. 

Game Director Matthew Gallant stated, "We're expecting this to be an accessible experience for blind players, for deaf players, [and] for players with motor accessibility needs." One of the biggest ways the developers seem to be doing this is through a feature called Enhanced Listen Mode. A version of this was previous utilized in "The Last of Us Part 2," and here's how it works.

Enhanced Listen Mode turns sight into sound

There are three different accessibility presets that will be available in "The Last of Us Part 1": Vision Accessibility, Hearing Accessibility, and Motor Accessibility. Enhanced Listen Mode is part of the game's Vision Accessibility Preset, which Sony explains, "Configures all the recommended settings designed for players who are blind or have low vision." This is designed to help those who have difficulty seeing navigate the game using more auditory cues.

"The Last of Us" games have a mechanic called Listen Mode. When triggered, Joel or Ellie crouch down and listen really closely for nearby enemies. In spite of the name, the basic version of this usually works by giving the player visual cues as to where these people and creatures are in the surrounding area. PlayStation states that the Enhanced version of this "enables the ability to scan for items (circle) and enemies (square) while in listen mode. Send out a scan triggering audio cues at the target's location. The pitch of the sound changes based on the target's height relative to you." This mode can also be used by simply pressing L3 in order to locate the most recently scanned enemy or item, as long as Navigation Assistance is also enabled. Adjusting Scan Range and Scan Time can also be used to adjust the distance that Enhanced Listen Mode covers, as well as how long it lasts.

This is a good addition from Naughty Dog as Enhanced Listen Mode will undoubtedly be a valuable tool for players who require vision accessibility features.