Reviews: Ellie is the main star here as she struggles to figure out what is going on between her and Riley, the Fireflies and more.
The Last of Us was one of the best games to be released in 2013 and Naughty Dog has just released the first and only piece of story DLC we will see with The Last of Us: Left Behind. Left Behind is a prequel and focuses primarily on Ellie. You get to see some of what she went through before she met Joel and Tess in the main campaign and are introduced to her best friend, Riley. Left Behind opens up with Ellie sleeping in a dorm room and Riley sneaking in to play a joke on her friend. After an exchange between the two Riley convinces Ellie to sneak out so they can have some fun like they used to back in the day. Even though the Left Behind content is set before the events of the main story, you will want to stay away from it until you go through the campaign. There are spoilers there what will ruin certain segments of The Last of Us if you elect to play this downloadable before experiencing the story itself.
Leading up to the release of Left Behind, Naughty Dog talked about how gamers were going to be introduced to a different side of Ellie that we haven’t seen before, a more playful and less serious side of her. The situation itself is still as serious as it was during the main campaign, however, Ellie and Riley are able to somewhat forget their troubles temporarily and just interact with each other as friends. There is one particular part where they come across a Halloween store and are entertaining each other by putting on different masks and talking to a skeleton that that is the equivalent of the magic eight ball that we all played with as children. Aside from these lighthearted moments you still have to be careful as there are infected and Clickers roaming around and loud noises still attract them. Ellie seems to have “inherited” Joel’s super hearing ability which helps you determine where enemies are and if they are heading in your general direction.
The gameplay and controls are the same and as you progress through this new content you will come across some familiar weapons as well as a familiar foe that Ellie encountered in the main campaign. You will still want to scavenge around the environment for materials as well so you can build health kits and bombs for when you get in to trouble. You will be glad you did later on as the final segment has a pretty big fight between Ellie, Infected, Clickers and some other enemies. The fact that I had some bombs pre-made saved me as I quickly threw one in between two Clickers as they approached me and as they turned toward the sound of the bomb rolling towards them it exploded and they were sent flying in opposite directions.
There isn’t a tremendous amount of combat in Left Behind but there is enough to keep you on your toes and you will still have to sneak around to try and get the best angle you can on your enemies, especially if you are going through it on a harder difficulty setting. There are collectibles to be found throughout the environment and different conversations that you can have with Riley, however, you can miss some of them, so you’ll really have to pay attention and explore if you want to see and hear everything. There are some surprises to be found here and some really nice moments shared between Ellie and Riley that I won’t spoil here. The instances where Ellie and Riley are able to actually act their age and have some fun in the moment is a great contrast to when things become dark and dreary and it is literally kill or be killed. If you enjoyed the main story for The Last of Us you definitely need to play this new content. It is one of the best pieces of downloadable content that I have ever played and the quality level from the cinematics, the voice acting, the emotions and everything is on par with the main story. It solidifies The Last of Us as one of the best games of not only 2013, but of the entire PS3 generation.