The 'Left Behind' DLC for Naughty Dog's critically acclaimed action game The Last of Us is released today.
In our Left Behind DLC review we said "Naughty Dog's next chapter may feel a little too basic and brief for its price tag, but its story still stirs the emotions".
"Left Behind is the equivalent of DVD extras," our reviewer adds. "It's a collection of scenes that landed on the cutting room floor. It has no reason to exist beyond the fact that there's an audience out there that is prepared to pay for it because they loved The Last Of Us and want an excuse to revisit its world beyond the multiplayer mode. Those who fall into this camp may feel the price of this DLC is a little dear, even though it spins a gripping yarn."
Reviews of the game have been popping up all over the internet and, as always, we've gathered as many as we could find for a review round-up. Get a look at how it's being received below:
- GamesRadar: [No Score] - Too many inconsequential downloads have given DLC episodes like Left Behind a bad reputation, but this one fulfills the promise of a meaningful addition to an already complete experience. The Last of Us exists in a harsh world with an even darker future, but Left Behind shows that there's still beauty to be found in returning to it. Whether you value mature storytelling or the brutal survival conditions, Left Behind makes this return to a ruined world significant to anyone that's completed The Last of Us.
- Next-Gen Gaming Blog: 10/10 - Don't let the length put you off, Left Behind is an amazing addition to an already stunning game. The story is refreshing, showing you a different side to an established character, and the gameplay is as tense as it gets. Treat yourself on Valentine's Day; spend a couple of hours with Ellie. You won't regret it.
- Eurogamer: 10/10 - Left Behind deftly avoids falling foul of clichéd convenience or too-cute contrivance to deliver time and again throughout its short duration. It's so easy to want more of this world - either in the form of a longer run-time here, the chance to explore more of its stories as DLC, or even to hope for a full-blown sequel - but should Naughty Dog resist and lie to rest the stunning experience that it has created, Left Behind will serve as a fitting and masterful final farewell.
- Polygon: 8 - Left Behind feels like an important step for Naughty Dog. It's aware of its own shortcomings and largely willing to focus on its strengths. It embraces the developer's impressive character development capabilities, and inches away from including elements that feel arbitrarily shoved in "because it's a game." Left Behind is small and quiet, but it's also confident in a way The Last of Us never quite achieved.
- IGN: 9.0 - Though fairly expensive and perhaps not as long as we could have hoped, Left Behind is a beautifully-realized foray back into the dangerous world Joel and Ellie inhabit in The Last of Us. With a bunch of collectibles to find, Trophies to earn, and memorable moments to experience, Left Behind is a must-play for fans of the original game. The context it gives alone is worth the price of admission. Just make sure you steel yourself for the revelations you're about to uncover.
- GameSpot: 9 - Left Behind is a hugely successful add-on to The Last of Us. When I played through the main game last year, I had trouble connecting to Joel, because his rough demeanor and questionable choices left a bitter taste in my mouth. So it was a relief that his desperation was nowhere to be found in Left Behind. Instead, the story focuses on love and hope. Seeing how Ellie acts with a peer, a friend, gave me new appreciation for her, and Riley offers another strong character to latch on to. The focus on exploration also lets the well-realized environments breathe, and gives you plenty of time to take in the current state of the world. And when a combat encounter surfaces, it's so much more impactful considering how rare fights are and the exhausting tension that accompanies each battle. Left Behind is an excellent addition that gives further insight into the chilling world of The Last of Us and its most interesting character.
- Official PlayStation Magazine: 9 - There are themes within this that I'm simply not good enough a writer to dissect (and I doubt few will do it justice). It's incredible, considering the broader perception of video games, what Naughty Dog has managed to achieve in certain areas here. There are, yes, extended sections of stabbing and petrol bombing that are 100% vidyagams but offset against moments of bonding and tenderness that hugely affect the context, adding an emotional maturity few experiences can match. I suspect at least one moment will cause confusion, misinterpretation or worse but few studios could have pulled this off. It's just a shame about the price. I still think this is excellent, it's just so short for that amount of money.
- VideoGamer: 7/10 - That was never the point of Left Behind, mind. It's an emotional experience and deliberately so, and anyone who bought into the original narrative will be intrigued - some of the bombshells dropped during its relatively short running time may raise a few eyebrows. Whether these needed to be touched upon is another matter, however. The Last Of Us' story was pretty much perfect in terms of what it wanted to achieve. This does nothing to build on or take away from that.
- God Is A Geek: 10/10 - Left Behind serves as a reminder (as if we'd forgotten) of just how good Naughty Dog can be. Truly wonderful sections of youthful exuberance give way to bleak moments of horror and desperation. Two hours may not seem all that long, but the impact Left Behind has will be with you for hours afterwards. On higher difficulties the punishing combat has potential to frustrate, but it's worth it for the ride, regardless - and what a ride it is. Exceptional, once again.
- PlayStation Lifestyle: 9.5 - Left Behind is worth the wait, worth every penny you spend on it, and worth the two-hour plus investment of time you put into playing it. It's even worth playing The Last of Us in its entirety again before loading up Left Behind for the first time so you can get the most out of the atmosphere, gameplay, and connection to these deep characters.
- Push Square: 9/10 - With a standalone asking price of £11.99/$14.99, The Last of Us: Left Behind is an admittedly expensive proposition considering its slender running time. However, quality almost always trumps quantity, and Naughty Dog's inaugural solo expansion packs plenty of the former into its two or so hour campaign. This is a touching, intelligent, and largely refreshing extension to the core escapade, and while it's not exactly brimming with narrative revelations, it's still a beautiful story that you shouldn't let pass you by.
- The Sixth Axis: 9/10 - Left Behind is the perfect complimentary side-dish for The Last of Us. It's happier at points, but just as bleak at others, and everything else is pretty much on par with any of the other chapters in the tale. There's a brilliant approach to the narrative, while Ellie and Riley's charm shines throughout, their wonder and imagination matching exactly how you'll feel as you return to this world.
- EGM Now: 8.5 - I'm glad that I got the chance to play Left Behind, though. I'm glad it exists, and I feel that my encounter with The Last of Us is the better for it. And I'm glad that we now live in a world where a chunk of content like Left Behind can exist in the first place.
- Inside Gaming Daily: 8/10 - Left Behind is a touching account of two young girls struggling to make sense of a world stripped of its humanity, and it is a tale worth exploring. Nevertheless there are moments the gameplay feels disjointed from the narrative, potentially pitting the overlapping stories at odds with one another. Admittedly, it's wonderful to spend more time with Ellie, especially before her involvement with the Fireflies. It's up to you if further character development is enough to bring you back to a fungus-infested America.
- Metro: 8/10 - Another masterful mix of interactive story and brutal action, and which despite the short running time still packs an emotional punch.
- Joystiq: No score - The Last of Us: "Left Behind" isn't a grand piece of content that alters your perception of Naughty Dog's game, but it enhances your understanding of what Joel and Ellie fought so hard to preserve. It's easier to believe how far Ellie goes to save Joel, her unwillingness to allow anything else to be taken from her, when contrasted against the insurmountable loss of Riley.