The Last of Us: Left Behind Review

     The highly anticipated The Last of Us story campaign expanding DLC, Left Behind, has finally arrived and I can say it was worth the wait.  It is extremely short- only a couple hours in length, but it is much more filled DLC than Bioshock Infinite's Burial at Sea Part 1 was, so length of playtime isn't a complaint for me here.



     In this tale we get 2 interwoven stories, the first being shown in the trailers and articles, is about Ellie and her friend Riley and their time together at the end.  The second story is what happened after Joel was severely injured and Ellie had to take care of him.  It is a simple, but moving picture of the lengths she'll go to save him, and consequently, exactly how strong a bond they share from the main game.

     Where the focus is, the interaction of Ellie and Riley, and their last day of fun together- is told as good as could be.  This is done with typical Naughty Dog flair.  They've given us another experience instead of a mere game.  We have humor, emotional tension, and down to Earth human drama between two people.  I found it to be quite moving as far as short stories go- the relationship these two have is something hard to nail down properly, but Naughty Dog has done it superbly.
     The dialogue between them is pure genius in writing, and stands as a great contrast to the bleak world and dangerous combat found around the next corner of the game.  It's a gem of love and hope in a world of desperation.  And it fully gives us insight into Joel's final dialogue in the end of the main game's campaign.  It shows us not only that Ellie fully understands what he is doing, but why he's doing it.

     As Riley says:
We fight.
There are a million ways we should've died before today.
And a million ways we can die before tomorrow.
But we fight...
     for every second we get to spend with each other.

    It really drives home the point of these people clinging to what little good is left in this world.

     In addition, we have bits of supporting story told with things found in the game.  There's the well known collectibles that give us small insights into the story through notes or recordings left around.  But there were also some Tweets if you spotted them.  Small tie ins you could look up on the net that expanded the story into the real world.  A nice small addition that adds a little bit more to the story for those that are looking for it.

     My only complaint is really with the combat.  The game has scarce resources, and only being able to collect limited resources limits your capabilities.  That in itself isn't the issue, it is when the game forces you to think ahead and plan your way through situations with stealth, then at the end bombards you with an absurd amount of enemies all at once feels counter to what they've been building to.
     Realistically speaking, Ellie would've been slaughtered without a problem in the "now" story trying to protect Joel.  But in the game after dispatching the first wave of enemies, a second wave spawned to both sides of me, and trapped me in an inescapable place- causing imminent death.  It happened a few times in a row, in 3 different places in that last stand, which is semi time sensitive as well- if the enemies open the door to Joel, game over.
     So it just felt a bit unfair to force players into open combat as the easy to die Ellie (she's not nearly as durable or strong as Joel), when a larger stealth option seemed more fitting, planting traps and misdirection might've been better.  And on top of the forced combat- that last section is 2 waves of heavily armed humans, and a 3rd wave of infected.  It's dropping you in the middle of two sides, and hoping you survive.  Some may argue that it's more realistic, but then just plain hiding and waiting it out could've worked as well.  It did help to have the infected and lure them into the 2nd wave of humans, then methodically take out the infected afterwards.  Personally I like to throw a brick into a corner, and when the infected gather for an inspection- molotov the group, easy clean up.


     This is a perfect way of making DLC, a tightly drawn story with just enough action combined into a neat package.

No comments:

Post a Comment