The Last of Us won many of OnlySP’s 2013 Game of the Year awards, including Overall Best Game, and its first and only single player DLC pack, Left Behind, has been released.
Left Behind is Naughty Dog’s first single player DLC, and it has been highly anticipated ever since its initial reveal in November. The 2-3 hour story, which should be played after beating The Last of Us’ main story, shows the happenings in some of the moments that the main campaign does not tell. It also tells the story of Ellie, the main female protagonist of The Last of Us, and Riley, Ellie’s best friend, before the events of The Last of Us. In short, The Last of Us: Left Behind is a DLC worthy of every penny it costs, and is easily the best single player downloadable content pack that I’ve ever played.
The Last of Us is all about story, and Left Behind is no different. Ellie is at a military base that strictly prohibits Fireflies when Riley, a Firefly from The Last of Us’ companion comic American Dreams, comes to spend some time with her. Without spoiling anything, the parts of Left Behind with Riley and Ellie range from touching and emotional to funny and relatable. You get to see a much more laid back side of Ellie, one where she can be friendly and have fun with her best friend, instead of always being serious as she was in the main story. There were even parts of the story that made me laugh out loud, as Ellie and Riley discover more and more about the world before the Cordyceps outbreak. However, it also made me tear up even more than original campaign’s ending did. There are twists and turns in the story, and it all culminates beautifully at the end.
The other part of the story is action-focused. It shows what happened during a part of the main campaign that was skipped. Few story elements are added here, as those who know the events of the main story know what happens, but it is there for the action as well as to show why everything happened the way they did and add some context to some more ambiguous aspects of the story.
The gameplay in Left Behind is very similar to The Last of Us’ main campaign, with stealth and action elements combined into one choice-based system. There is also still real-time crafting. The one main addition to Left Behind’s combat is the ability to make the Infected fight other humans. The Last of Us’ main story had you fight either one or the other, but never both at one time. Here, you can either choose to fight both the Infected and the humans at the same time, or throw something to make the Infected attack the humans, causing them to take each other out without you having to waste any ammo or supplies. This system is very cleverly implemented, and it is always fun to see the Infected and humans fighting.
The presentation of Left Behind is as good as ever, with Ashley Johnson reprising her role as Ellie and Yaani King entering the cast as Riley. Both performances are excellent, as is expected with a Naughty Dog game. The sound design is mainly the same as the main game, using the same terrifying clicking and screaming from the Infected, as well as comments from human enemies. Finally, the game still looks amazing, with great environments in both parts of the story.
The locations during the game are very open, allowing the choice between action and stealth in gameplay. These open locations also allow for many collectibles to be scattered around the world. As in the main story, there are small story lines in these collectibles that, through each one found, add a new piece to the emotional story of characters we never meet. There are also optional conversations again, which let us know more about the relationship between Ellie and Riley, as well as informing us of other events around the world from the girls’ point of view.
The Last of Us: Left Behind is, simply put, a masterpiece. In its few hours of campaign, it tells a terrific story with great writing, characters, and plotlines. It also shows us what happens during some unknown portions of the main story, which allows for new types of creative and unique gameplay mechanics. The sound is amazing, as are the performances by Ashley Johnson and Yaani King. Left Behind is one of the best pieces of story-based downloadable content ever made, and I exhort anyone with a PlayStation 3 to play it, as well as The Last of Us’ full package, because of everything it has to offer.