Left Behind is the DLC expansion to last year’s hit The Last of Us, and basically gives us more of what was already a great game, with some twists to accommodate the new setting. As is the question with all DLC though, does it provide enough bang for its buck? As a wonderful piece of interactive entertainment at less than the cost of a dvd or bluray release, we believe it does.
Central to a lot of debates about downloadable content is the question “why wasn’t this included in the main game?”, especially when it comes to on-disc DLC. Left Behind doesn’t fall into that category, even though it serves as a prelude to the original game. That may sound like a contradiction, but to fully appreciate all the character development that developer Naughty Dog is presenting us with you really have to play through the original game first. If this was a ten hour game it could have labeled as a full-priced prequel, so with a playing lenght of about two to three hours it feels only fair to release it this way. And although 15 dollars might seem like a lot for DLC – it is fair when you consider the average length of a new game and how much you pay for one of those.
Left Behind actually offers a more memorable experience than most full-priced games as well, as the story takes you on an emotional journey through the background of Ellie, one of the original game’s main protagonists. It shows us the life of a once-innocent young girl before her world took a post-apocalyptic turn for the worse. We won’t go into any story details here, but the story progression here adds even more depth to the original game and is reason enough for fans of the game to invest in the prelude. In fact – playing Left Behind made us want to play through The Last of Us again just to appreciate the story with a better understanding of its background this time around.
That doesn’t mean that the gameplay is “more of the same” though – the switch in perspective (to that of a little girl) also means that the flow and dynamic of the game changes. Without the strength in physical combat that Joel has, you often have to resort to cunning and stealth to stay out of the way of trouble. The gameplay environment (a huge mall that wouldn’t look out of place in the average zombie movie) fits the new style very well, and the seamless storytelling (with flashbacks as well as subtle references to what will take place later) makes this an edge-of-your-seat experience that is a must-have for all PS3 owners. One of the system’s best games just got better – highly recommended.