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Don't leave this DLC behind

By Alex Sferrazza
On February 18, 2014

Naughty Dog owned the Summer of 2013. Upon its release, their latest game "The Last of Us," was hailed by some as gaming's "Citizen Kane." Ever since, gamers have been itching to return to the game's dystopian future United States. At the same time, after the emotional and somewhat discomforting ending of the game, many were afraid to see such a grand title treated as a new sequel laden franchise. For now anyway, those fears have been settled, as the game's first and only piece of story based DLC acts as a prologue to the main campaign.
Fleshing out more of Ellie's backstory, "The Last of Us: Left Behind" focuses on the young girl's exploits before meeting up with Joel. Together with her friend Riley, another young girl only mentioned in the main campaign, the pair embark on an adventure that while short, is no less memorable than the one-of-a-kind title that preceded it.
One of the most fun things in the DLC is seeing how these two young kids act in the devastated society they were born into. Despite the constant threat of danger and certain death, the characters manage to spend time goofing off as if they were normal, for example, taking pictures together in a photo booth. The bond between them extends to the gameplay as well. The game becomes noticeably tenser when the pair splits up, mentally affecting your ability to play.
Since Ellie isn't the strong hardened brute that Joel is, you have to use your wits and surroundings better than ever before. For fans of stealth this is a welcome change but other might be perturbed. That said, in a certain sequence Ellie is actually forced to eliminate all enemies to continue, which I found both a tedious and unnecessary addition. Others in the game also feel as though the fighting is "forced." But then again, I'm sure we'd be in uproar if the DLC lacked any combat at all.
Additionally, the game features a mingling of zombies and human soldiers unseen in the original game, where the trick is to pit the two against each other and away from you.
The plot is exceptionally well written, and is filled with many of the same jaw dropping moments that made the first game so memorable (although I won't ruin them for you here).
Additionally, while the DLC is superbly crafted, I can't help but regret that I paid $15 for what amounts to less than a three hour (admittedly spectacular) story experience. Its a common criticism of mine, and I stand by it.
"The Last of Us: Left Behind" is a prime example of story DLC done right. It compliments, not extends, the main game and mixes things up just enough to make things not feel stale. Despite a few minor shortcomings, it's a must buy for fans of the game and one of the finest story DLCs around.

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