[Review] Last of Us: Left Behind

Published on April 8th, 2014

Left Behind is the long awaited single-player DLC from Naughty Dog’s (Game of the Year) The Last of Us. If you own a PS3 and haven’t played The Last of Us, then I highly recommend you go out and buy it.

The DLC is set before Ellie meets Joel, where you get to play through a prequel story, which gives you an expanded insight into her origins. It is a beautiful story about Ellie and her best friend Riley (who first appears in the prequel comics, American Dreams) exploring and having fun. Also, just being with Riley shows a very human side to Ellie, for the first time you get to see her as a teenager having fun – something we rarely saw in the main campaign. You also get to experience Ellie and Riley’s friendship first hand and some of the events they go through, that shape the person Ellie becomes during the events of The Last of Us.

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Left Behind draws you in with yet another beautiful soundtrack from Gustavo Santaolalla, its beautiful cinematic moments and its great dialogue. The majority of the game is set in a mall; it captures a completely different atmosphere during the game in comparison to the main story. It shows a more fun, light-hearted side, as opposed to the tenseness you feel when playing as Joel. This is definitely what you would expect from two teenage girls hanging out at the mall, exploring and wondering what the world was like pre-apocalypse. I found myself, as Ellie, hanging about in a Halloween costume shop for about 15 minutes just trying to interact with everything I could. I honestly believe I was having more fun than the characters. There is a lot of other cool stuff to do in the mall as well, if you’re willing to have a look about that is. The DLC also flashes forward into winter chapter of The Last of Us, showing events you didn’t get to see before – adding a really cool angle onto this prequel DLC.


As you probably know from playing The Last of Us, Ellie isn’t a macho-invincible character in combat. You can still craft your bombs and health-packs from the items you loot, which is handy. But realistically Ellie isn’t going to be able to take on groups of grown men in a fistfight. She may be a badass, but she has to be smart too. She is ace with her switchblade, can shoot a gun, and is very nifty with a bow, but Ellie can’t go in all guns blazing if she wants to survive. Which is a big difference to playing Joel, a full-grown man, whom had survived two decades in the post-apocalyptic madness with his brother Tommy. Joel is someone who is experienced, that can take on two dudes at a time and beat them to a bloody pulp. I do however find it more challenging and fun to play as Ellie, you have to really think about your next move and try to outsmart the AI without making a mistake, or it could be costly.

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Left Behind also brings a completely new dynamic to the games combat; this is something I really wish was included in The Last of Us. In the Left Behind campaign you don’t just come across humans or infected, you commonly encounter both at the same time. Which can be to Ellie’s advantage. Using bricks and bottles, you can pit the surviving humans and infected against each other – this can give Ellie time to sneak around and get to where she needs to be. Instead of being overwhelmed by too many enemies. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the amount of enemies you have to fight at the end of the game, I love the combat system, but being surrounded by a ton of enemies without any ammo was very frustrating. However, I did get a sense of achievement once I finally outwitted and killed the hostile enemies.

 

Left Behind is truly a great follow-up DLC to an amazing game. Despite being £11.99 for a 2-to-3 hour experience, this isn’t just Naughty Dog cashing in on a successful game. Left Behind is a story worth being told, a story that holds its own weight next to last year’s game of the year. A DLC I’ll definitely play more than once.

Verdict

Despite being shorter than I had hoped, Left Behind lives up to the hype and was worth the long wait we all had to endure. This DLC is by far one of the best DLC singer-player campaigns I have played in a long time, the delivery from Naughty Dog was once again top notch, leaving me wanting more Last of Us! For people who love and played the original game, this is a DLC you must buy. The content within this story helps you understand more about who Ellie is, and gives you a completely new insight to the world of The Last of Us.

9.8 Amazeballs!

This spotlight is brought to you by Sean McBlane, Marvel lover, coffee drinker, and chronic game player.
Catch up with him on twitter here: https://twitter.com/MrTrophyMan
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Images used under creative commons, rights to respective publishers/ manufacturers.

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