DLC can be something people stay clear of when it comes to video games. Occasionally some might purchase a Call of Duty map pack, but often be left disappointed, and feel they haven’t gotten good value for money. When news broke that Naughty Dog were releasing single player DLC however, this was exciting, as they are developers known for delivering quality story modes. Thankfully, a purchase of “Left Behind” won’t result in disappointment.

“Left Behind” transports the player to events that occurred before “The Last Of Us”. The story explores the relationship of best friends Ellie and Riley, a similar concept found in the original campaign between Joel and Ellie. However don’t expect to explore a similar relationship; the bond between Joel and Ellie was very much evolutionary as the game progressed, but it’s stated early on that the friendship between Ellie and Riley has a pre-established history. The DLC explores a much more innocent story, and demonstrates how young teenagers might live in a post-apocalyptic world.

“Left Behind” contains well balanced gameplay between exploration and combat. Where the game stands out however, is how it continues to encourage exploration. The game makes you want to hear the extra dialogue between Ellie and Riley, as the brilliant voice acting and writing paired together really demonstrates the narrative power that video games can possess. We get to see a more comfortable side to Ellie, in contrast to the main campaign where everything becomes a battle and struggle. It also reminds us post next-gen launch how good “The Last Of Us” looks visually, and why the game dominated Game of the Year 2013.

Ellie feels a lot weaker to control than Joel, which employs the player to adopt different strategies in combat situations. Much of the success of “Left Behind” is Naughty Dog’s ability to shake up the game mechanics, whilst also keeping the familiarity of the much loved world and characters, whilst at the same time continuing to surprise you. This game is not predictable, and there are multiple moments in the game which will cause shock to loyal fans. The developers should be commended for keeping all of the surprises under wraps, as this definitely added to the enjoyment of the game.

The game will take around 2-3 hours to complete, which definitely felt appropriate for the story. Some say that the $14.99 price doesn’t match up to the play time, yet there is much argument against this theory. For similar prices you could buy a DVD movie, which debatably can offer far lesser cinematic and immersive experiences than “Left Behind” does. Naughty Dog has put a great level of care and detail into creating a fresh experience which greatly complements the original game, and for that they should be applauded. If you enjoyed “The Last Of Us” enough to complete the game, then “Left Behind” is a must have.

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