Platform: PlayStation 3
Release date: February 14, 2014
Developer: Naughty Dog
Developer Naughty Dog created one of, if not, the greatest games from the last-generation with its ground-breaking intellectual property, The Last of Us. Now, on Valentine’s Day they have returned with the only story-based single-player DLC for the title: Left Behind.
Left Behind shifts the focus onto Ellie (Ashley Johnson) this time, one-half of the duo from the main campaign, as we explore certain events in her past. Her close friend, Riley (Yaani King), accompanies her on this journey and it delivers the experience which is expected from additional content in Naughty Dog’s masterpiece.
Ashley Johnson and Yaani King’s on-screen chemistry was phenomenal and it made Left Behind an excellent addition to an already superb title. Johnson brought back the performance which won her numerous Best Voice Actress Awards in 2013 and built on the character ever further. The exchange of dialogue between these two complemented each other flawlessly and created outstanding character development which explored the depth of their relationship.
Gameplay is the same as the campaign and Naughty Dog even added the option of a tutorial reminder in-case the controls had faded from your memory. There are additions made outside of combat which added to the narrative and made you embrace your inner childhood. Playing as Ellie, it made you more cautious when approaching certain scenarios. Joel allowed for more of the opportunity to go into hand-to-hand combat with someone, but that would not have the same result with Ellie.
There is so much to interact with in the environment and everything makes you feel the same experience that The Last of Us delivered first time round. With a narrative which was so enthralling, Naughty Dog could have made this into a three hour cinematic and I would still spend the same amount of money – that is how good it was. The Last of Us’ soundtrack accompanies some crucial moments in the DLC and certainly builds the atmosphere for the exchanges between Ellie and Riley.
Using Facebook as an additional feature was something which I was not expecting to happen. Turning it on for the DLC was a fun and enjoyable surprise, with the ability to upload photos from the booth. It is the subtle additions such as this which makes the integration of social networking into a game perfect.
This cannot be emphasised enough: it is always about quality, not quantity. The Last of Us: Left Behind may be short, but it is an experience which continues to deliver from beginning to end. The DLC makes you reminisce about the first time you played the title and even wanting to go back through the main campaign once again. For Valentine’s Day, Naughty Dog left the perfect gift which will not be forgotten anytime soon.