Friday, 21 February 2014

Review: The Last of Us: Left Behind (PS3)

the last of us left behind

In some ways it seems like it's been years since I explored the world of Joel and Ellie in the Last of Us. It was a gaming experience unlike any other and it's one that doesn't quickly leave your mind even after it's over. From moments of heartache to ones where your skin crawls at the thought of a Clicker biting your neck, The Last of Us had it all.

Left Behind is Naughty Dog's first attempt at single-player DLC and I have to say that they have done a great job. Although not a requirement to have completed the main game, it's recommended. Hopefully you have at least gotten as far as where the DLC starts otherwise you are in for a few spoilers.

The game is split into two parts, both focused on  Ellie.

First, you start the point where Ellie leaves Joel injured in the search for medical supplies. The story switches back to a time where Ellie and her best friend Riley have not been bitten and have some real-world relationship fixing-up to do.

the last of us left behind
This is where the game departs from many traditional ones, where moments of defense and attack are less important than ones where you get to truly explore the environment you are in and are, in fact, encouraged to 'play' with it. Ellie and Riley don masks in an abandoned Halloween store, for example, and spend a decent amount of time playing with a Magic 8-Ball.

the last of us left behind
During the pre-main story times, Ellie does not even have a weapon but does when you switch back to modern times. The switch-up is a welcome addition and although the gameplay is very similar to what we experienced the first time around, a few extras touches have been added. I particularly enjoyed the fact that you could 'trick' the Clickers into killing off the human attackers that are after you.

This game is extremely good at stirring up emotions and it takes some well-known gameplay elements (like Quick Time Events) and does things with them that you likely have never seen or even thought of. Overall, it's a roller coaster of emotion and action, with enjoyment at both the high moments and the quiet low ones. You couldn't ask for a better gaming experience,  through and through.

My only complaint with the game is the price. The content is a little on the short side for a $15 investment, but then again, it's hard to truly put a value on an experience. I've paid far more for far less in my life, so at the end of the day even that is a weak point to complain about.

If you loved the main game (and if you didn't, why not?) then you are going to love this too. Go get it, and don't let yourself get Left Behind.

- Syd Bolton


The Good:
- Takes well known gameplay elements and does new things with them
- Highly focused on story and character development
- Timing and pacing are bang-on perfect

The Bad:
- Once you're completely back in love, it's over
- $14.95 for around three hours of gameplay may be considered a little pricey

Score: 9.5 / 10

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Syd Bolton surrounds himself in thousands of classic video games as Canada’s top video game collector at the Personal Computer Museum (http://www.pcmuseum.ca) in Brantford, Ontario, Canada.

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