The Last of Us: Left Behind Review Stay True to Your Heart The Last of Us: Left Behind Playstation 3 | Naughty Dog | February 14, 2014 Naughty Dog drafted a love letter to fans of The Last of Us, and Ellie specifically, with their first-and-last piece of single player DLC, Left Behind. It’s either cosmic timing or marketing inequity that this game was released on Valentine’s Day because this is a story about relationships and how they define us. Your enjoyment of this DLC is directly proportionate to how much you enjoy Ellie’s character. This is her story, and yours. The DLC’s primary draw is the interaction between Ellie and her best friend Riley. This is a relationship that was hinted at during the main campaign but never truly fleshed out (A tease occurs if you open Ellie’s backpack and look at her Artifacts in the main story). Through a single night of events, players are treated to the full spectrum of how these girls interact with each other, everything they have been through in the post-infected world and what’s most important. This doesn’t play out like Joel and Ellie smashing through hunters, it stands on its own merits. Riley is in not a palette swap character for Joel. Combat returns and is as familiar and capable as it was in the standard game. Ellie has her own feel compared to Joel. You have to be sneakier and more selective with your shots. If an enemy runs at Ellie, she can’t stand her ground. On survivor difficultly you will go down fast. There are no new weapons or tricks; in fact, the weapon selection and enemy type is less the main story. The combat sections are enjoyable but ultimately aren’t anything that you haven’t done before (save for one situation listed in the spoilers below). The Naughty Dog Easter-Egg-Hunt returns and the payoff is better than the Uncharted board game. Naughty Dog plays these loose and fun, willing to be a little self-deprecating at times and nostalgic at others. If you engage in every optional conversation (which you should for maximum enjoyment and trophies) you’ll encounter a series of inside jokes and callbacks to the main story. Players can make it through this in about 2 hours, with an additional hour for trophy mop-up. This is a character centric story that doesn’t add anything to the mythology of the Last of Us but instead details Ellie’s back story. Through her interaction in the past, players better understand where she draws her strength and why she keeps fighting. Score: 9.0 /10 + Captivating Story + Amazing Voice Acting + Pushes PS3 to limits – Meaningless Combat Level Up, Friends! Spoiler Inside: Story Elements SelectShow> The game opens with Joel’s injury, which kicks off the Winter segment of the main campaign. Players are tasked with playing this ‘lost’ segment of time as Ellie procures medicine for Joel and keeps him safe. Naughty Dog kept this under their hat, no preview coverage mentioned these segments. Players alternate between saving Joel (combat) and reliving Riley’s last night (story). The best moment of combat occurs when players are faced with fighting infected and hunters simultaneously. This creates a Mexican-standoff situation where players can manipulate the clickers into attacking the hunters; then deal with whoever is left standing. The worst moments of combat are when wave after wave of enemies, who benefit from late-game gear, attack Ellie, who doesn’t have many supplies, weapons or ammo. The true heart of the game is interacting with Riley in the abandoned mall. There are call backs to The American Dreams comic series and the main series. Players are treated to seeing the first time Ellie “plays” The Turning; Riley narrates the game as Ellie interacts with the controller (it sounds silly but it is a great scene). There is a line about Ellie learning how to ride a horse and the glorious return of Ellie and her pun books. A couple of these jokes are now part of my standard repertoire for small talk. The OMG!?!? can’t believe they ripped of Gone Home moment occurs near the end; when Ellie kisses Riley. Personally, I don’t see how people were taken aback by this. Riley comes home for her last night before being shipped off to spend time with Ellie. Riley states that Ellie is the only one that can keep her from going, even though staying makes her a fugitive from the Army and Fireflies. People don’t take these risks for their friends, but do for their loved ones. There is even a ‘love choice when players interact with the photo booth (which includes a joke at Facebook’s expense). The kiss reveal is a good scene that isn’t gimmicky or overly dramatized and plays out well within the world created. I encourage everyone who beats the game to go back to the Halloween store and shake the magic 8-ball/ skeleton head. Almost every question Ellie asks is pure foreshadowing to what is about to happen throughout the DLC and the main story, a satisfying but macabre moment.