Review by bangothebuck

"A brilliant edition to an already near perfect story."

For starters, if you have yet to actually play The Last of Us, please stop reading and play it. (Reason being there are details in the DLC that may spoil parts of the actual game. I won't spoil any story details of the DLC but it is hard to talk about it without ruining some minor aspects of the traditional story. Plus, its awesome and gets better as you go.) For everyone who has experienced its brilliance than you should have a general idea of how this addition to the story plays out. If you have yet to beat the game then I would suggest again, to please stop reading; but back to the topic at hand.

In Left Behind you play exclusively as Ellie. You take her through the exploration of a mall in an attempt to find a first aid kit for Joel. As a fan of the post-apocalyptic genre I welcome the chance to get to further explore the world that Naughty Dog has created. Left Behind also allows you to play through flashbacks to Ellie's life before she became infected. You are also formally introduced to her friend Riley. Riley has joined the Fireflies so there are often conflicts about the moral differences between the two. The flashback parts are also in a mall. I believe it is the same mall in both parts, but I cannot say without a doubt that it is. The DLC seems equally flashback and “current” time. It cuts in and out as your reach key points. It is a seamless transition and I can say that both experiences are enjoyable.

The gameplay has a noticeable, but welcome, change of pace when playing as Ellie as opposed to Joel. Which some of you may have already noticed prior to Left Behind. I actually prefer to play as Ellie over playing as Joel. The biggest difference is that, as Ellie, you cannot muscle your way through combat with the infected. Due to the limited range of what she is able to do stealth will be your best friend. Even though as Joel it is recommended to sneak around, you can blow through everything upfront depending on your inventory. Ellie does not have that luxury. While playing as her I tend to think outside the box on how to get around certain obstacles, may it be infected, or the groups of thugs. Another difference is the ability to introduce the infected to the thugs. There are moments when both groups are in an encounter at the same time. Now you are able to force them to fight each other, thus making it easier to pass through the given area. I really wish this feature had implemented into the regular game because it really is cool and adds an additional level of realism to the game. This may have been introduced in order to make it a little bit easier to play as Ellie.

There are limited instances of combat in Left Behind that are actually difficult; there is a decent amount of combat but it is not on the same level of original story. That is the brilliance of Ellie, you often have to absorb your surroundings and form a plan, even when there are fewer enemies because she gets over run fairly easily. Additionally, the emotion of the original story was not forgotten. Left Behind shows a much more personable Ellie, she isn't as cold as she was at the start of the regular game. She is more open and pleasant. However after playing through it all it became clear as to why she acted the way she did with Joel. She has gone through a lot, although, in a “zombie” apocalypse I think its fair to assume everyone who is still alive has gone through some tough moments. Like I had mentioned earlier, if you beat the regular story then you know how Left Behind ends. The overall story is a welcome look into Ellie's past and a deeper view into her overall character.

To conclude Left Behind is a brilliant piece of DLC. It offers a fresh experience both when it comes to combat, and story telling. It is a vital expansion to any fan of The Last of Us. In order to truly get the entire experience this is a must play. My only complaint is the length, it takes roughly 2-3 hours to complete and I felt as though there was still story that was left to be told.

Pros:
-New Combat
- Fresh look into Ellie's past
- Balance of story and combat

Cons:
- Short


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/07/14

Game Release: The Last of Us: Left Behind (US, 02/14/14)


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