Review: The Last of Us: Left Behind

Slight spoilers for the main game of The Last of Us to follow throughout the review. 

Following the conclusion of autumn, Joel and Ellie have fought off a gang of thugs at the University of Eastern Colorado. During the struggle, Joel contracts a life threatening wound and Ellie is left to fend for herself in the hope of finding treatment for Joel. The opportunity to aid Joel’s recovery may be found in the local shopping centre. After Ellie secures Joel’s safety, she sets off in search and the ensuing locals forces Ellie to reminisce of a time roughly three weeks prior to the main game.

Elle finds herself reflecting on a time shared with her best friend, Riley. The last time Ellie saw Riley was well over a month before she left the military boarding school they both reside in. After a brief reunion and a small reconciliation for Riley’s leaving, Riley talks Ellie into visiting a local deserted shopping centre.

TLOU Presentation
The Last of Us still looks greater than a lot of current-gen games; the Left Behind DLC is no exception. It is graphically flawless, totes a powerful and perfectly timed soundtrack and perhaps most importantly the strength and emotion portrayed through the voice acting is breathtaking. However, all previous statements are testaments that go hand in hand with the Last of Us and for that you can check out our review here.

I am going to focus on Naughty Dog’s work in creating such an interesting and heart felt chapter as the main point of Presentation. Not only is Ellie’s compassionate nature in full swing as she strives to bring Joel to full heath but in her flash back segments, you are treated to a different side of Ellie. A more naive, slightly more innocent and what feels like her being completely ignorant to the true horrors outside her quarantine zone. Basically Naughty Dog have portrayed a much more fragile Ellie in Left Behind, she isn’t quite the totally tough teenager yet that she will become.

It is the relationship between Ellie and Riley that is truly magnificent throughout this journey. The chemistry between Ashley Johnson (Ellie) and Yaani King (Riley) is the pinnacle of the DLC and without spoiling anything, the events they experience throughout their journey reinforce their strong individual characteristics and the strength of their unique relationship. Naughty Dog has completed another marvellous job in character development.

TLO Gameplay
It’s been quite a long time since I last booted up The Last Of Us, i’m sure it’s the same for you. Thankfully, Naughty Dog has acknowledge that it has been over six months between initial launch of the game and the launch of the DLC. When setting up your three hour journey, the option for more generous on screen tutorials are available and greatly appreciated.

Whilst the Left Behind DLC has a more explorative and character developmental focus rather than conflict; there is a great addition to the gameplay which was not in the original game. When the player is confronted by both opposing humans and infected at the same time. You can utilise the environment to turn the Humans and Infected against each other. This is an amazing aspect of the DLC that really immerses you further into this world. After the turmoil concludes it is then at your discretion to engage the remaining forces or to stealthily sneak by undetected.

TLOU Screen3
There are no other new features in the gameplay but that is perfectly acceptable. What is present is more than enough to work with. A small gripe I found was that the unmistakeable ping of the hint button chiming at frequent intervals. Majority of the time this pulled me out of an extremely immersive section of the game.

I definitely felt that the Left Behind chapter was not as emotionally involved as the main game. It did do an
absolutely brilliant job of portraying Ellie as a truer more grounded teenager, the awkward stages of this point in her life are difficult enough without the added stress that the world she lives in forces upon her.

With the character development and exploration being the main focus of the DLC, it does open up for a few fun and engaging mini game segments. With an excellent reference to Jak-X included for fans of the developers to chuckle over. The three hour journey perfectly jumps between a present day predicament and flashback portions, leaving you on the edge of your seat, hanging to find out what happens next.