The Last of Us left a mark in my 2013. It was my game of the year. When I was done playing, it kept me wanting to come back for more. And at the same time, I didn’t want to returnto its desolate, pandemic post-apocalyptic world right away – it would be too much to digest again. That game was that powerful to me, in a personal level. Still, when the season pass that included a soon to be released new single player scenario was announced, no time was wasted grabbing that deal.
And what a deal Left Behind is. It was most definitely worth the long wait. It picks up at a point in The Last of Us‘ story where Ellie is fending for herself in search of medicine for Joel side by side with cuts to her back story involving Riley, her best friend. The storylines clash constantly, showing two different Ellies from two completely opposite moments of her life: the scared, but battle-hardened Ellie that lived through all sorts of hardships with Joel, and the naiive but soon to be shaken up teenager in military school.
That clash is all so evident in where the DLC takes place in for most of its run, in the two sides of the story. Both play out in abandoned shopping malls, with completely opposite deliveries. In one, Ellie is alone and cold, hiding in the shadows and completely exposed to danger, while in the other, she’s with her friend, like two kids out in the mall… if it weren’t for all the debris and overgrown vegetation.
The tone of Left Behind slowly changes during its three to four hour run, and by the end, the same sense of dread mixed in with the knowledge of what’s to come, from playing the main game’s campaign, is perfectly suited to close it out. The innocence of the Ellie and Riley sections plays out extremely well, even with that pre-existent knowledge. We basically give them a pass for a few hours to act like normal kids would act outside of the destroyed world that they live in. So much so that they go and do what girls would do at that age – cuss, sing and have fun.
On the other side, back to the point in which Left Behind ties in to the continuity of The Last of Us, we’re introduced to a new and very well implemented side to combat. In the main game, we rarely got to see both infected and human sides clash in battle, but Left Behind‘s fights are mostly set in with that possibility in mind. As attested during the Winter portion of The Last of Us, Ellie is a vicious gun fighter, but not at all comparable to Joel in hand to hand, so the possibility of having enemies fighting amongst themselves is a thrilling addition that makes for a lot of the tenser moments during Left Behind.
My particular play style tended to side with the infected, so in my own way, tucked in a corner, I helped them out during those skirmishes, poking away at the darn humans who just wanted to bash poor Ellie’s skull in. Still, that decision sometimes came back to bite me in the butt, providing some of the game’s most fun, but oh so hair-pulling parts.
If you’ve played through The Last of Us, there’s little reason not to download Left Behind via the US$15 season pass. Even if you are not a big fan of multiplayer and won’t give two wahoos about the new maps included, Left Behind proves that quality far surpasses quantity, in spades.
Oh and hey, that making of documentary tucked in the extras for the season pass is also pretty damn awesome. You should watch it.