Review: The Last of Us: Left Behind – Friendship Endures in the Face of Death
Our bonds are what keep most of us going in this world. If not for our friends and loved ones, our lives would be devoid of all meaning and happiness. Bonds are especially more precious in a dangerous, uncivilized world where most do not die of natural causes.
If your life can suddenly and violently come to an end, then you will do whatever is necessary to spend as much time as possible with those you care about. You will also risk your own life in order to preserve theirs.
Such a cruel and unforgiving world is the backdrop of Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us. The critically acclaimed title has gotten an expansion in the form of the DLC called Left Behind.
This story puts players in control of Ellie who was, for the lack of a better term, the MacGuffin of the original game. Left Behind’s narrative is told in a nonlinear fashion and tells two stories simultaneously.
One story takes place during the events of The Last of Us. Protagonist Joel has been severely injured and Ellie must do what she can to keep him alive. Ellie is a faster and nimbler character than Joel although she isn’t as strong. She can use a knife and a bow and arrow in addition to a gun.
This portion of the narrative feels the most like the main game. It is heavily focused on surviving against the infected, as well as humans which you can now pit against one another. Ellie must use her cunning and guile to escape from foes and keep from getting killed in the process.
The other portion of the game takes place well before the beginning of TLoU and has a decidedly lighter and playful tone. Ellie and her friend Riley spend a day together inside of a mall playing games, taking photos and poking clean fun at each other.
This part of the story was a nice change of pace from all of the horror and heaviness of the main game. Seeing the two girls laughing and playing brought a warm feeling to this old black heart of mine.
Now, I obviously won’t give away the ending, but I will say that is it just as powerful as that of the original game. The denouement was a tad on the predictable side but it was powerful nonetheless and made all of the prior events with the two girls even more poignant.
Its ending may cause the same kind of controversy that the original one did since it doesn’t exactly wrap things up nicely. This I felt worked to the DLC’s advantage just like it did for the original game.
The Last of Us: Left Behind demonstrates just how much it means to have someone to care about in a world that has gone to hell. Friendships and loves are the only things to hold on to in an insane world and the fact that those bonds are tenuous at best, make them have even more significance.
The Last of Us was one of the most emotionally powerful games released in recent years and its follow up is no different. This is a fantastic addition to an already incredible story.
Make sure to read Chad Awkerman’s review of The Last of Us.