In the final moments of The Last Of Us, a seemingly relieved and heaving Joel tells an oblivious Ellie that they’d found The Fireflies and there were others, immune, like her. That they’ve stopped looking for a cure, followed by a short ‘Sorry’. Ellie just silently listens and later she tells Joel “Back in Boston, Back when I was bitten. I wasnt Alone. My best friend was there. And she got bit too.”
The Last Of Us, I quote again, is by far the best game I have ever played and part of me never wanted it to end. A part of me wanted more, despite Its 14 hour campaign but I never wanted a sequel. A sequel, might spoil the experience unless Naughty Dog comes up with something ingenious and they did. When news broke that developer Naughty Dog was working on a singleplayer DLC, I was excited. I kept pondering how they’d manage to come up with an equally immersive story and gameplay. The DLC was titled Left Behind and instead of continuing the story of Joel and Ellie, Naughty Dog took liberty to tell a prequel story. Left Behind released on February 14th and I wasted no time in downloading it off Playstation Store.
A quick flashback shows Joel getting impaled at the University leaving Ellie searching for medicines for Joel to recover. Parallely the story unravels as Riley is introduced, Ellie’s friend from the Military Boarding School. I suggest players that you read The Last Of Us American Dreams miniseries by writer, Neil Druckmann and lead artist, Faith Erin Hicks. It makes sense and also extends to being a great companion piece for both The Last Of Us and its DLC. Ellie and Riley’s gameplay revolves around them chitchatting their way through an abandoned mall doing fun stuff while Ellie in search of Joel’s medicines makes for the combat gameplay. Riley and Ellie’s friendship is the key element in the DLC building and developing the character throughout the duration of the DLC. It shifts back and forth between their two stories and frankly I found this a little distracting but the transition from one to another was blended seamlessly.
Once again Naughty Dog unfolds a beautiful story of friendship as Ellie feels loved, cared and most of all, not-lonely in Riley’s company and there are sequences where it seems more than just friendship. For a girl who seems wiser than her age its only normal to be choosing her own sexual orientation. Combat on the other hand once again dangling tensely, pits Ellie against infected as well as human enemies. Unlike Joel, Ellie couldn’t take much damage and felt intentionally powerless. While the infected could be dealt with stealth you can’t do the same with human enemies and there was this level where you had to kill them all. Alternatively there is this nifty addition where you could turn infected foes against human enemies, it was a surprise change. In one scenario I did so and I was left with one infected and I was perched on the first floor thinking the infected couldnt see or get to me. Surprisingly this critter saw me and started frantically climbing on top of tables and reached me, it wasnt until I lost a good deal of health I could shiv it. Coming back to Ellie and Riley, its all about exploring the mall and finding items that triggers conversations with Riley and it goes from having funny, discussing what their future holds for them and even to breaking down towards the end. Its heartbreaking to know what happens in the end.
Clocking in just over 2 hours, its an extremely short DLC especially for its $14.99 price tag. But the story it offers isn’t as passable if you are a Last of Us fan. Even if its extends to a few more hours of gameplay you are bound to enjoy it. Unlike other games that had dudes in the leads, the girls’ nuances here were a refreshing change. Riley and Ellie’s stroll through the mall had been littered with set-pieces both good and bad. I enjoyed every bit of it and was left, once again, wanting more.