My Thoughts on The Last of Us: Left Behind (DLC)


So The Last of Us DLC is at last in our grubby grasp, and draws us once again into the post apocalyptic universe of Joel and Ellie, as they struggle to survive in a lost and war-torn world of infected, clickers, and even worse, desperate and broken human beings. The game stole our hearts back in 2013, gaining multiple awards, nominations and more, for it was of course, a fantastic game. So who could really complain when developers Naughty Dog hand down unto us yet more of their brilliance? The Last of Us: Left Behind, a DLC, shoves us yet deeper into their crumbling world, and into the misty past of much loved protagonist, Ellie.

The story is set half-way through The Last of Us, in which Joel is injured and left into Ellie’s care over the Winter months. It helps to explain how Ellie managed to keep Joel alive during this period, and her determination not to lose him which is a nice addition to their relationship. Yet, at the same time, we experience flashbacks of Ellie’s past, of her life back in Boston before she is bitten. In Boston, Ellie is training with the authorities but is conflicted, as her close friend Riley has just returned having joined the rebellion, the Fireflies. Ellie and Riley seem to have a close friendship built by their loss and need to survive, and after months of being gone, Riley decides to treat Ellie to an adventure in the ruins of a Boston mall – the same mall in which Ellie is tending Joel back to health in the present day.


As present day Ellie scours the ruins of the mall in hope of finding medical supplies for Joel, her previous self explores with Riley in search of fun and enjoyment. The story delves into the relationship between Riley and Ellie and uncovers that the joys of childhood can still be experienced despite the world’s situation. Oh the fun that can be had during a zombie apocalypse.

But, the fun must of course come to an end, for all zombies are well known killjoys. Zombies invade both in past and present, and Ellie must deal with them as best she can. With Joel, Ellie must use the wandering infected in order to distract the bandits on her tail, hurling bricks, flashing lights, and turning her two enemies against one another while she sneaks through unseen. At Riley’s side, a younger and less experienced Ellie does not handle the infected swarm as professionally. Knife in hand, Ellie fights back and rescues Riley from certain death, only to wipe aside the blood on her arm to uncover an unmistakable zombie bite. Ellie is bitten, and all seems lost. Riley is not spared either, and also feels the teeth of the infected upon her skin. Both lost and surely doomed, the friends decided to wait out their fate.


The Last of Us: Left Behind, is an exploration of Ellie’s destroyed childhood. While the DLC allows to you explore the joys of childhood and the love of a friendship, it also makes you realize that such things stand on a thin strand when the world is in such a state. How can friendships survive when the human race cannot? It is a sad realistic look on a post apocalyptic world, one that we hope will never come about.

The DLC was a story worth telling and a deeper look into a character we all wanted to see more of. It was great to see that it filled out moments missed from the original game. The winter period in which Ellie cared for an injured Joel, for example. It was a nice insight into their relationship, seeing the risks she would go to in order to save his life, and shows that Ellie is capable on her own without Joel’s guidance.

The look into Ellie’s past also expands the universe, in which the Fireflies rebellion are in constant combat with the dictator-like authorities. Through Ellie and Riley, it is clear that many dislike the rules and regulations that the authorities enforce with strict brutality, and the Fireflies stands as a better alternative, were they not so few in number and in constant risk. It shows the instability of the war and the views of the people, and adds more sustenance to the world’s background.


Left Behind features the intense, panicky, stealthy combat that we’re used to in the main game. It did not derive from the original game play and stayed true to the tension, sending clickers by the dozen and raising the constant threat of death up yet another notch. Both past and present stories offer an action combat scene in which you must face enemies and defeat them. In present time, the fun lies in outsmarting and destroying the bandits that have been hunting you. In the past, Ellie and Riley are chased by hordes of infected and flee through a series of quick paced platform jumping and zombie killings to battle against the last few. It’s great to be thrown back into the unique combat that many of us have missed.

In general, Left Behind was a strange yet welcomed DLC, it came to tell a story we all wanted, and did so concisely and to the point, all the while tearing at our emotions as cruelly as they can. I might have liked it to be that little bit longer, for it lasted for only 2 hours or less were you to play non-stop. It had a point and it made it–this is how Ellie was bitten. It was however thoroughly enjoyable, and I would never condemn a chance to play this game once again.

Tagged: DLC, Downloadable content, ellie, joel, left behind, The Last of Us,

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