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Left Behind reminded me why I loved The Last of Us so much. It was easily my favorite game of 2013, and possibly my favorite game of all time. When the first and final single-player DLC, Left Behind, was announced, I couldn’t wait to jump back into the incredible world that Naughty Dog created.
Left Behind takes place before the events of The Last of Us. You play as Ellie and are accompanied by your best friend, Riley. This takes place before Ellie ever met Joel. In addition to playing as a slightly younger Ellie in the events that took place before The Last of Us, the game also fills you in on what Ellie was up to while Joel was nearly bleeding to death during the campaign. At first, it may not make sense as to why the game shows these two events together, but it becomes more clear as the game progresses that there is a correlation, mostly emotional, between the two events.
Playing as Ellie feels a lot different than playing as Joel, as one would imagine. Ellie can handle herself well, but she’s not as hardened of a killer as Joel is, obviously. Ellie dons her trusty switchblade, but don’t let that make you feel comfortable. I found that it’s better to be as stealthy as possible, especially when playing on Hard or Survivor difficulties.
I absolutely love the relationship between Riley and Ellie that developed over just a couple hours. It made me think about my best friend growing up, and just how special a friendship between two teenage girls can be. It was nice to meet someone that Ellie cared about other than Joel, and it really made me realize why she is so scared to lose someone again. She needs Joel as much as he needs her.
Gameplay: Like I said before, playing as Ellie feels much different than playing as Joel, and it’s definitely more difficult to play as Ellie. However, the combat is very refreshing, and it felt good to kill Infected again.
Appearance: As expected, environments and all visuals are absolutely gorgeous. I really missed this world, as weird as that may sound. I know Ellie would kill for the opportunity to escape that world as soon as possible.
Sound: The voice acting performed by Ashley Johnson and Yaani King is superb. Their friendship is absolutely beautiful, and this could not have been fully realized if not for the incredible acting performances. The music is borrowed from the main game’s soundtrack, and is beautiful, as always.
Bottom line: Any fan of The Last of Us cannot afford to miss this brilliant story expansion. If you have not played the main campaign, please do not play this DLC; it will mean almost nothing to you. However, if you played and enjoyed the incredible universe that Naughty Dog created, do not miss out on Left Behind. At $14.99, it may seem a bit pricey for just over two hours of gameplay, but it’s totally worth it.