The Last Of Us was my game of the year last year. It offered an experience that genuinely blew me away and exploited my emotions like puppet work. Ever since I finished the game months ago, I’ve been waiting for the singleplayer DLC to release. Now that it is out, I must recommend picking it up. Left Behind is a perfect example of how DLC can change the way you think about the characters from the original source material. It’s a wonderful prequel to The Last Of Us and one that fans should not miss. Even at a price point of $21.95AU, it is worth every cent.
The Last Of Us: Left Behind focuses on the story of Ellie and her friend Riley. Throughout the duration of the two-hour story you’ll find yourself exploring various places, playing through different activities and venturing off into a world that still breathes life. There is a sense of freedom and safety in Left Behind and while fighting isn’t a main course throughout its duration, there’s a whole lot of story to take in. There are small little things you’ll come across and laugh at, there are references to the original story and there are wonderful exchanges of dialogue between Ellie and Riley. The story as a whole is fantastic and it’s one that fans of the game must dive into. Ellie and Riley are only young girls at this point, and their humor speaks true to that. The exchanges between both are always humorous and friendly and it’s a wonderful contrast to the dark and apocalyptic world they’re living in. The sense of safety is always there in Left Behind, but you know that something can always be waiting around the corner.
The writing in Left Behind speaks true to the quality of dialogue Naughty Dog put into The Last Of Us. There are great moments between Ellie and Riley that really ring true to the heart and soul inside you as a gamer. You genuinely feel that these characters care for each other and enjoy each others company. When they’re playful you’re laughing, when they’re in danger you’re heart pounds. Naughty Dog have forever been known as an incredible developer and this DLC further emphasizes that fact. They’ve no doubt spent a lot of time crafting Left Behind into what it is now – that being an amazing experience and as a first attempt at story DLC they’ve done their reputation no harm at all.
The gameplay in Left Behind is more stealth focused this time around. You won’t find stacks of bullets or arrows lying around the place like you might in The Last Of Us. You’re not a grown man with a pocket full of power, you’re only a young girl and trying to take enemies head on will get you nowhere but on the ground, dead. There were some great moments in Left Behind where you could provoke the infected into taking on hunters. Acting as a catalyst for these conflicts was incredibly enjoyable and something that I thought would have fared well in the original game as well. You’ll have to solve a few problems throughout the duration and the enemies do tend to pile up by the end of the DLC but it all coincides together well and doesn’t feel forced.
My favorite part about Left Behind was the exploration. There is so much to see and engage with in the DLC that it’s hard not to just want to wander off and collect all there is to collect. Each area feels different to the last and they all look gorgeous, even if you are used to the 1080p output the new consoles have been giving you. The exceptional use of color and imagery in Left Behind is a credit to the visionary team behind it as each area is a treat to discover and explore.
“There is so much to see and engage with in the DLC that it’s hard not to just want to wander off and collect all there is to collect.”
If I were to pick one bad thing about Left Behind, and this is nit picking at its prime, that would be that the fighting in the DLC didn’t really seem necessary. While it isn’t forced down your throat, the story would be equally as good without the need to run around and take out all of the enemies around you. Of course this was a vital part of the original game, but exploring the world as Ellie was just so wonderful that I’d find myself sighing when some enemies would be introduced. This is only minor nit picking however and the DLC as a whole is exceptional.
The Last Of Us: Left Behind is one of the best singleplayer DLC packages I’ve ever had the privilege of playing. It’s an exceptional look into the world of The Last Of Us and tells an emotional story between two best friends. Ellie and Riley’s relationship is one that is so intriguing and interesting that you have to keep playing until the credits start rolling. Even if you know the ending of their friendship (which you probably do) Left Behind is still a wonderful ride and one that every fan of the game should dive into.
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platforms: PS3 (Reviewed), PS4