Left Behind DLC Rev...
 
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Left Behind DLC Review

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Ben-Dutka
(@ben-dutka)
Posts: 630
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Graphics:
10.0
Gameplay:
9.6
Sound:
9.7
Control:
9.3
Replay Value:
9.0
Overall Rating:
9.5
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
SCEA
Developer:
Naughty Dog
Number Of Players:
1
Genre:
Action/Adventure
Release Date:
February 14, 2014


I almost never review downloadable content. However, exceptions can be made, especially when we're dealing with Naughty Dog's masterful The Last Of Us . The spectacular PlayStation 3 exclusive raked in numerous end-of-year awards (and continues to earn awards into 2014), which is why I've opted to review the game's first narrative-driven DLC, Left Behind. Featuring Ellie and her friend Riley, this 2-3 hour segment (depending on your play style) gives us a fresh perspective.

The graphics remain as astounding as ever; this remains the most technically accomplished and highly polished visual presentation of the previous generation, in my eyes. The Left Behind DLC once again reinforces that point; its unbelievable detail, fantastic animation, and overall game design are huge highlights. The audio is of the very best quality, with great voice performances from Ashley Johnson (Ellie) and Yaani King (Riley), although the soundtrack takes a backseat in this new scenario. It was subtle in the main campaign, too, but it's especially subdued in this DLC.

This extra story focuses on two different segments: The first is an extension of an event in the main narrative; when Joel is injured, Ellie strikes out on her own for a while. Left Behind starts off with Joel's injury, and how Ellie sets out to locate medical aid for her fallen partner. If you remember, in the main storyline, the game skips ahead a bit, sort of glossing over Joel's recovery. Well, in the DLC, Ellie has to find medical supplies because Joel is probably going to bleed to death if she doesn't. The other segment takes place before any of the events in the TLoU plot line.

This is the more interesting of the two sequences, because we learn a lot more about Ellie's history and influences. We're also introduced to Riley, a good friend of Ellie's who has just joined the Fireflies. As both were enrolled in a military academy of some kind, and the Fireflies are very much anti-establishment, the situation is ripe for drama. Riley disappeared for quite a while, and we find out she's planning to leave for good. But before she goes, she wants to share one last mischievous adventure with her good friend, Ellie. As you might expect, what starts out as an innocent little romp to the mall turns into something quite harrowing.

The basic control and gameplay is just as you remember, but don't forget that Ellie doesn't have Joel's strength. She can still stealth kill certain enemies, and she can even fight off other foes, but it's usually a good idea to remain hidden. If you must engage, engage from afar. Supplies are limited and Ellie isn't toting around machine guns and flamethrowers. Hence, at all times, there's a palpable feeling of tension, perhaps all the more magnified because you're controlling a teenage girl, and not a full-grown man. I'm always amazed at the consistency and stability of Naughty Dog productions; they're always so precise and refined.

It's difficult to find any messy balancing or inconsistencies, which is a tremendous accomplishment in and of itself. It's still weird that some enemies can track you from a long way away, but that only forces you to be more vigilant. The best part is that Naughty Dog tempers the tension with a lighter side, which Johnson spoke about before the DLC launched. Ellie and Riley do a little bonding, as they ride a carousel, make funny faces together in a photo booth, sample scary masks in a Halloween store, etc. It's also obvious that Riley is trying to make up for something; or rather two things: When she left without telling Ellie, and her impending departure when she'll once again leave her friend behind.

Given Ellie's initial resistance to traveling with Joel, you might see where this is headed. I won't give anything away, though. I think the writers could've done a little more with Riley and her motivations (paired with Ellie's lingering questions), but other than that, this is an awesome expansion. It gives us a closer look at what drives Ellie, and it allows us to experience a period of time when the heroine was...well, younger. And when I say younger, I'm speaking from a developmental and psychological perspective. Sure, she's still far more hardened than most other girls her age, given the world, but you catch a hint of carefree girlishness. She'd already lost this when Joel met her.

My only other small complaint involves the sequence where Ellie has to get medical supplies for Joel. The first part of that feels just a tad superfluous, but it turns out to be a significant and even poignant segment. When you combine this with the narrative featuring Ellie and Riley, you get a piece of DLC that absolutely cannot be missed. It's a whopping 5.4GB download and it will cost you $14.99, a price which may or may not be justified by the length. Well, I say if a few maps can cost $14.99 in a Call of Duty expansion, then Left Behind is definitely worth it. Besides, how often do we get stellar single-player expansions?

The Good: Still as technically superior as ever. Excellent voice performances. Control is rock solid and utterly consistent. Great sense of urgency and tension. Interesting, dynamic relationship between Ellie and Riley. An appropriate story expansion.

The Bad: First segment doesn't feel as fully realized.

The Ugly: "Well, Clickers are ugly suckers but that's intentional."

 
Posted : 17/02/2014 12:00 am
Cesar_ser_4
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Naughty Dog should make it so that if they release a GOTY edition the DLC is intertwined with the main game. Like how Rocksteady did it with the Catwoman DLC for Batman: AA. If that makes sense.

Speaking of great performances I watched an awesome youtube video about the top 10 video game voice actor performances. I liked it and even thought Ben should write an article with a list of his own.
http://youtu.be/0MLqW5i_eH8
Here's the link if anyone is interested.


Last edited by Cesar_ser_4 on 2/18/2014 12:04:39 AM

 
Posted : 18/02/2014 12:00 am
ethird1
 ethird1
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I don't get it. You know she isn't going to die. So there goes a major plot sucky sucky. Im willing to bet they took this out of the original game and just used it for that extra mula.

 
Posted : 18/02/2014 12:00 am
Cesar_ser_4
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Its not about the destination, its about the journey.

 
Posted : 18/02/2014 12:00 am
Ben Dutka PSXE
 Ben Dutka PSXE
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You'd be betting wrong.

 
Posted : 18/02/2014 12:00 am
Underdog15
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You should REALLY come to my poker parties with LOTS of extra buy-in cash.

 
Posted : 18/02/2014 12:00 am
Dell Taco
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Great review. I thought that this dlc was just awesome, because it really added to the dynamic of what The Last of Us story was. I'd gladly pay $15 for dlc that is meaningful rather then a map pack.

 
Posted : 18/02/2014 12:00 am
Corvo
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So ND even does story DLC right?

Nice review, I'm going to go buy it right now and try it out for myself.

 
Posted : 18/02/2014 12:00 am
Ben Dutka PSXE
 Ben Dutka PSXE
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ND does EVERYTHING right, evidently.

 
Posted : 18/02/2014 12:00 am
dlte
 dlte
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One thing I really liked about it was having interaction between the clickers, hunters, and you. Aside from a little part at the end of the Pittsburgh and the Suburbs, the main story never really had anything like that.

It was also awesome to just throw a brick as the hunters tried to sneak by clickers and watch the chaos unfold.

 
Posted : 18/02/2014 12:00 am
SvenMD
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After finishing the main storyline of TLoU 4 times, I've been waiting for this DLC. It's a bit high on the price, but I figure ND will deliver again!

After playing TLoU I can't wait to see what ND can do on the PS4. I really hope they can continue to blow us away with amazing games.

 
Posted : 18/02/2014 12:00 am
Cesar_ser_4
 Cesar_ser_4
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@ $3.00 per GB is a much more appealing deal than what other publishers/studios release nowadays.

 
Posted : 18/02/2014 12:00 am
Shams
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Awesome. Can't wait. TLOU was a heart aching experience, a fitting swan song for the ps3. So, I'm glad there's more of it.

 
Posted : 18/02/2014 12:00 am
slow and smart
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Indeed great review,nice to see that the dlc is also very good
,and this a big DLC being 5.4GB

 
Posted : 18/02/2014 12:00 am
___________
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such a shame this was so short it could of and should of explored so much more!
really got pacing issues too they spent FAR too much time introducing the infected and fighting them, they should of kicked off right from the get go with both the infected and humans so you can explore that more.
the end feels so rushed, you finally get to pit both against each other but only in 2 scenarios, and then you FINALLY get the more powerful weapons like the rifle, in the LAST battle!
its like someone walking up to you and saying heres 2 million bucks go spend it, oh sorry your times up!
finally get to the good bits, and just when your starting to really enjoy yourself, they pull the plug!
love the character building and screwing around, but you gotta ask yourself, with such a short timeframe, wouldnt that time be better spent with more gameplay?

hate where they set it out too, they have always said it takes part before the campaign, when it doesnt.
really ruins the tension and the experience because you already know what happens.
ellie is scrounging through the shelfs, swearing bloody murder because she cant find anything.
but you dont care because obviously she finds something otherwise the game wouldent end the way it does.
it just spoils so many of the surprises the DLC offers.
constantly i was saying oh this is the spot they get bitten, but nope it wasnt.
instead of getting sucked into the experience and being surprised by it, i was constantly telling it myself.

out of all the areas they could of explored, they chose the ONE spot that did not need expanding!
the start of the infection where the campaign starts off, the early days of the infection after the break period at the start of the game, bill or any of the other side characters, marlene and her story with the fireflies, the history and work that had been done at the hospital, there were a billion and one places BEGGING for expansion and telling, and they were all ignored.
why the &^%$ would you expand on the one area that really did not need expanding?
well 50 bucks says this was chosen as DLC because it was originally actually in the game, but got cut out because they did not have enough time, and just recycled it and added the flashbacks to try cover it up.
why else would you choose such a silly poor place for DLC?
gotta wonder too WTF took them so god dam long!
9+ months to produce what can be finished within 2 hours?
seriously!?
took them roughly 4 years to create a 20+ hour game, so why did it take 8 months to do 1/5th of that?
o, and BTW, when are developers going to understand BABYSITTING, IS! NOT!!!!!!!!! FUN!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
REALLY getting sick of having to look after defenseless AI!
that last level really f*cking pissed me off!
especially since your so far away from them distracting them, or killing the 1 guy you need to kill, is nigh on impossible without being detected!
please, for f*cks sake, we play games to look after ourselves and thats it!
babysitting is not fun at the best of times, let alone having to focus on 100 goons trying to kill you, and having to worry about some dumb retard in the process!


Last edited by ___________ on 2/18/2014 4:04:34 AM

 
Posted : 18/02/2014 12:00 am
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