I really enjoyed The Last of Us, it’s a gaming masterpiece. Life-like graphics, great acting, clever AI and some really tense action make Naughty Dog’s take on the survival game genre a lot more gritty and engaging compared to some. What made the game really stand out was the sophistication with which it told a story. The opening sequence in The Last of Us is worthy of comparison to film. It sets you up perfectly for a tear-jerking bombshell and I dare anyone who’s played it to say it didn’t move them even the tiniest bit.
It seemed with The Last of Us that games had acquired a new level of maturity in the way it developed characters. I can think of many games where the storyline ‘fluff’ conveyed in cut scenes is often arbitrary to the action. The attempts to flesh out a character’s back-story or to develop a believable sense that game character ‘x’ is a real person often fall down when the cut scene is followed by you nonchalantly gunning down a room full of grunts with your AK.
Indeed I know of gamers who will skip cut scenes just to progress to the action, they don’t really serve to give any weight to the violence that ensues after, although if you were watching you might of caught a helpful snippet of information. Games like The Last of Us are the perfect remedy to the 'cut scene hopper' the tangible realness of the game characters told through the story informs the tension of the action, these aren’t all-powerful uber-beings, they’re just real people fighting to survive.
Left Behind the DLC for Last of Us came out last month, it’s essentially a ‘’fun-pack’ add-on for fans of The Last of Us single player. You’ll get to link up in game pictures to your facebook and have a water pistol fight, amongst other things. There are some trademark action scenes where you’ll get to sneak about and use your hearing to locate baddies (unless you’re playing on survivor mode) but you don’t get your hands on the full array of weapons.
Left Behind retains the flair for good storytelling however. The plot flashes back and forth between a prologue story focusing on main protagonist Elle’s relationship with Firefly Riley and a scene from the main game where Elle risks her life to save a heavily injured Joel.
Play through to the end and you’ll get a strong sense what the title, 'Left Behind' is referring to. Without giving too much away, the plot for Left Behind will keep you guessing as to what will happen and wraps up with a great filmic cliff hanger as the main game did.
It’s interesting to hear Naughty Dog discussing a Last of Us sequel although I think it’s wise for them to play it safe at the moment. Personally I think a sequel would detract from the well-crafted story that’s already been told. It would also be great to see Naughty Dog having a crack at something else with the same keen eye for a good, believable story.
Left Behind is up for download on PlayStation network, if you're a Last of Us fan you'll enjoy having a play at the DLC. if you haven't played it already it may be the last cinematic gaming treat we get from Naughty Dog for a while. If you've played Left Behind did you enjoy it? I'd also be interested to hear people's thoughts on a sequel, should they or shouldn't they?
If you haven't seen it already here's the cinematic trailer for Left Behind.