And it looks like the respected studio have done it again...
Naughty Dog put time, care and attention into their work. The Last of Us was a forensically crafted, deep title with time spent on characterization never before seen in videogames. It was, by all accounts – including ours – a masterpiece. Now the journey is extended with Left Behind: the first and only piece of DLC for Joel and Ellie’s adventure.
Riley and Ellie in The Last of Us' Left Behind DLC out today: Feb 14
At the heart of The Last of Us’ charm lay a vested interest in extracurricular foraging. Using a shiv to open a door to an otherwise inaccessible room offered up great reward, and extra tidbits of story would be relayed in places off the beaten track. For IGN’s Colin Moriarty, this is one of the aspects that carried over well to Left Behind, which features Ellie’s story before she met Joel.
“The majority of Left Behind takes place in a mall, which I loved simply because two girls going to the mall is something that happens with regularity in the real, pre-apocalyptic world,” he says in his 9.0 review. “There’s an important touchstone to the past here, even if neither Ellie nor Riley necessarily knows that. After all, everything they know about the pre-Infected world comes by way of stories from older folks and their own observations of the decaying world around them.”
Polygon have gained a reputation for being Microsoft-heavy in their praise, but that didn’t stop them awarding PS3 exclusive Left Behind with a healthy 8.0, saying: “Ellie and Riley aren't easy stereotypes, either. They shift between light-hearted banter, tense drama and nearly breaking down under the weight of the post-apocalyptic world they live in.”
Added @pkollar: “They talk about music, friends and romantic interests, but they also spend a lot of time trying to figure out where they belong in a world torn apart by disease and death. The conclusions they reach are surprising, touching and sad.”
Metro, too, were moved to award the DLC with an 8/10. For them, the length of the add-on didn’t justify the price, but that didn’t stop them marveling at some of the mechanics and terrifying situations Ellie and Riley can find themselves in.
There's no Joel in Left Behind
“The games flits back and forward between Ellie’s search for medical supplies and the flashbacks with Riley, with the former reusing the game’s stealth and action elements in some effective set pieces,” writes David Jenkins. “There’s a tense journey through a clicker-filled pet shop and a thrilling showdown with survivors at the end, which uses the idea of setting infected against enemy humans in a more effective way than the main game usually managed.”
Metro weren’t the only ones to bemoan the price of Naughty Dog’s high-end gaming add-on. CVG awarded Left Behind a lowly 7, citing the lofty cost compared to the game’s length. Digital Spy were clearly enamoured, though, giving the 2/3-hour experience a solid 5 out of 5, Perhaps reviewing Left Behind is a futile experience.
The vast majority of Last of Us fans are going to dive straight in, as - like many have noted - any opportunity to revisit the beautifully realised world of dilapidation, terror and intrigue created by Naughty Dog doesn’t take much coaxing.
Fans are desperate to jump back in to Ellie's story