The Last Of Us – Left Behind DLC
WARNING: Spoilers for the main campaign of The Last Of Us are contained within.
My heart broke last night.
As I completed the Left Behind story DLC for Naughty Dog's masterful The Last Of Us I was filled with the conflicting emotions of awe and sorrow - awe for the sheer skill with which this story has been crafted and sorrow due to the power of the storytelling I'd just experienced.
Left Behind acts as both prologue and epilogue to The Last Of Us telling a story of Ellie's life before she met Joel and of her struggle to save his life after the end of the main story in The Last Of Us.
As Ellie scours the derelict Colorado shopping mall for the means to patch up Joel after the final act of the main game her surroundings provide the perfect mechanism for Naughty Dog to provide flashback of a late night adventure that she embarks on with her friend Riley.
The story jumps back and forward between Riley and Ellie exploring a Boston shopping centre, discovering some wonderful surprises hidden in the ruins of the centre they share possibly the most tender moments of friendship ever represented in a video game.
It jumps back and Ellie is fighting her way through the men pursuing her and Joel as well as Clickers and Runners as she tries to recover the means to keep Joel alive until he can get proper medical attention.
It's a harsh contrast against the wonder and the humour of the flashback scenes but Naughty Dog has pitched it perfectly. Moving from the tenderness of the prologue to the ragged edge of desperation in the epilogue creates a wonderfullly fluid and captivating dynamic in the storytelling that would be equally at home in an Oscar-winning film.
The timing of each jump keeps your attention glued to both controller and screen as Left Behind reveals almost as much about Ellie as you learn in the entirety of The Last Of Us.
As it turns out Ellie is every bit as capable in a fight and players will have to fight hard to get through Left Behind. At times the pace seems relentless and Naughty Dog has a cruel sense of irony, giving with one hand and taking away with the other but it all feels right.
It ends with relief and hope on the one hand and utter heartbreak on the other but it is a journey well worth taking. Most importantly it leaves you wanting more and that is perhaps the cruellest twist of all.
Left Behind is available now on the PlayStation Store either as part of The Last Of Us's season pass or as a single purchase and it's a must-buy for those of you out there who have completed the main story.
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