Left Behind is a side story to last year’s astonishing The Last Of Us in the form of DLC. While the original game was primarily Joel’s story, LB puts the focus on Ellie. You can read my review of The Last of Us here, where much of the gameplay and story (just a little) will be discussed.
The game takes place from two different settings within the original game’s universe and regularly switches between them. One half of the game is an “interquel”, meaning it takes place during a period within the original that wasn’t touched upon. It’s filling in a blank. The other half is a prequel, focusing on Ellie’s relationship with her friend Riley, and it’s the star of the show.
It’s interesting that it’s the star because this part of the game does not have any combat whatsoever. Ellie and Riley wonder through a shopping centre that’s obviously abandoned (due to that post apocalypse thingy that occurred) and just do what two young teenage girls do: fun stuff.
I can’t really relate to what being a teenage girl was like…let alone what growing up in a post apocalyptic world is like, but I was on board to experience something different from the perspective of these two normal girls in a non-normal world. A minor gameplay addition was making choices related to dialogue. It’s seems superficial when you think about it, but it’s surprising how much it added to the experience. I also enjoyed playing games in the arcade and the water gun fight with Riley. Does that also sound superficial? Yes, but believe me I won’t forget it, plus some of the other surprises I’ll leave you to discover.
The other half of the game is combat and exploration driven, quite similar to the original. I won’t discuss the story premise as that will spoil the main game. Ellie isn’t as well equipped as Joel, so this makes combat slightly harder, yet also more satisfying when enemies are cleared. One advantage Ellie does have is a proper knife that doesn’t break after use, unlike Joel’s small supply of shivs. A new feature in this part is that it’s possible to pit the hunters against the infected, creating another survival tactic.
I wasn’t sure if Left Behind was going to be as remarkable as the original or just a cashed out DLC typical of the entire AAA game industry. I was going to take a point off because the DLC seems a bit expensive and can be completed in fewer than two or three hours but…I’m not going to. It’s a case of quality over quantity and you can play it over and over.
You’ll want to play it over and over, because even though players who have beaten the original game will already know the ending to Ellie and Riley’s saga, everything that leads up to that point feels so poignant and tragic. There’s even a message at the end that gave me a new perspective on the ending of the main game.
If you’re one of those people who value games based on who many hours you’ll get out of them, then maybe wait for a sale or discount on this DLC, but for the rest of TLOU players, I truly believe that Left Behind is worth every dollar because I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I finished it.