The Last of Us was easily one of the best games from 2013. On February 14, 2014 Naughty Dog released the much anticipated DLC for the game, Left Behind. While fairly short, Left Behind brings back the strong mechanics that made The Last of Us so special, while adding new mechanics to the combat that makes you wish that it was in the original campaign. Fair warning there WILL be spoilers in this review if you haven’t played through the original campaign.
Left Behind starts off with Ellie and Joel as they are leaving where they are ambushed and Joel falls from the second story impaled. The main focus of Left Behind is suppose to be about what happens before Ellie is bitten by an infected when she is with her friend Riley, but it does add additional perspective to what happened during a major point in the main campaign. While the story does not specifically stay on Ellie and Joel or Ellie and Riley it did surprise me that both stories did for the most part stay in a mall setting. Joel is out cold and bleeding badly from his side as Ellie tries to find something to stop it.
To get the best sense of the friendship between Ellie and Riley, I recommend reading The Last of Us: American Dreams. Riley wakes Ellie startling her and asks her to follow because she has something to show her. Not long after they arrive at their destination is where the best moments of the DLC occur. This is really where you see Ellie’s softer side as a young girl or as much as you could expect of a young girl having to live through what she does. As Ellie and Riley explore many items in the mall prompt conversations as in the main game which get the girls talking and joking among other things. You go to different stores searching for objects to interact with trying to see what happens next. This is where Left Behind truly shines brightest with Ellie and Riley just experiencing random things from Halloween masks to a photo booth later on.
This is not all Left Behind is never really staying to long on either story switching after you reach a certain point. When Left Behind is focusing on the girls it’s with Ellie trying to find something to help Joel which is also when you have enemy encounters from the infected and humans. During the early enemy battles it’s just the basic The Last of Us encounters slowly picking off clickers and stalkers. Later though is when Left Behind combat becomes very interesting when you are fighting human hunters and the infected at the same time. With the new mechanics you can pit both enemies against each other giving you an easier time to just pick of what is left of the enemies. Since there are not many encounters the combat doesn’t get too tedious but a few encounters do feel forced to extend gameplay.
Visually, Left Behind is just as beautiful as anything this generation has to offer. Wandering through the mall with Riley and Ellie seeing just the attention to detail on the smallest things is something Naughty Dog is known for and shows why they are one of the best developers in gaming right now. After you haven’t played the game in such a long time you forget how gorgeous the cut scenes are, how pushed to the max the PS3 was with the release of this game and Left Behind adds to it. The Last of Us truly represents the peak of the last generation in visual beauty.
The sound is another strong point to Left Behind. With my Sony Pulse Elites as loud as they can be listening trying to see if I can just get a hint of clicking has to be one of The Last of Us stronger aspects. The voice acting is still superb outside of the random hunters “We got to find her” and “There she is get her” just the pure dialog between Riley and Ellie is something special as two friends having a good time or in a serious conversation. For what its worth, the soundtrack did not stand out not saying, it wasn’t bad it just wasn’t great and you don’t come out with any real.
Overall Left Behind is a very good piece of DLC to a phenomenal game, it doesn’t wander or stray from its main points. It shows you a character in Ellie from when she was just a young girl spending time with her best friend to the hardened Ellie doing what she has to do to make sure Joel survives. Left Behind shows a lot of heart and even though the experience doesn’t last long it makes you feel for Ellie in a new light as to what she has gone through to get to the point of the main game. I would easily recommend Left Behind to anyone who has or will play The Last of Us at any Point.
Left Behind is currently available on PS3.