The Last Of Us : Left Behind
My gaming laptop died. I stopped having a gaming computer many years ago and instead bought a few high powered ASUS gaming rigs. This worked well for my gaming while I traveled for work a lot and lonely nights in the hotel was filled with suspect internet connections and MMOs. My current rig just won’t turn on and I hope it is something as simple as a power pack. Regardless it has been a few weeks and ALL of my gaming has been done on my PS4 or my Microsoft Surface Pro 3 – the latter of which plays my early access titles just fine (but not much else). I need to get my gaming laptop fixed as I am itching for a few MMO experiences that I can’t have on my systems. My only curiosity is how MMOs will play out on the PS4 and I am looking forward to finally trying TESO in this format and I may also try DCUO. This is relevant to this post because I may not have finished this title so fast were it not for my void in computing power.
Hot off the heels of my completion of The Last of Us (after picking on it a bit for it’s slow start) I started chipping away at the Ellie only game play in the DLC pack Left Behind. My version came with the add-on as I got the remastered version of The Last of Us bundled with my PS4 purchase.
Warning here – some spoilers ahead if you haven’t played through it.
The short version here is that the story elements and the way they were presented in this add-on to the game is making up for the exact shortfall and game play issues I identified in the main title. It really feels like the story is the central part of the game play instead of a secondary tack on (or worse, complete garbage) Because of this I much more enjoyed the game – even more than the main game.
I am really curious if I would have cared as much about it if Ellie wasn’t as well fleshed out in the main game. I am pretty certain if this part introduced Ellie, and there was another two hour intro better introducing Joel that the game would have been completely more engaging from the get-go. I do appreciate though that not all gamers would have appreciated that sort of ramp up time. I love story – this is a big part of why I game, to enjoy and experience stories. Others have different motivations and enjoy more direct action, so this is a very personal observation.
I also am very curious how TLOU would have looked if the entire game was in more of this narrative format. Not only could we have learned more about Tess, and the in between parts of the sickness and fall out but also the fleshing out all major friendly characters – AND maybe even the bad guys (really would like to learn more about that cannibalistic tribe). There are a lot more story elements to explore in this world that were sadly absent from the main experience. This game did end up feeling long because of oft tedious game play elements (until your inventory ramped up) which could have been much better served with story elements. Still, I bet that Naughty Dog and the acclaim they received from this DLC has a good idea on how to build out their next game.
The only thing that was weird to me (and I wonder if it was a bug?) Is that my game ended at the exact moment Ellie picked option two. We know what happens (her friend dies, she lives on) but I expected to see that play out for dramatic purposes. It felt like a bit of a let down, the timing of it all. I also felt that the kiss between Ellie and her friend took away from their companionship and in no way added it the story. Felt really tacked on for the male audience playing the game. They didn’t need to add in a romance angle to youthful best friends but I get their idea to show additional layers of complexity to an already messed up world for character building purposes. Still, I felt it wasn’t needed.
I wonder if the story breaks in TLOU: Left Behind annoyed the more action oriented gamers or if it was accepted as well as I did. I know the main game would have played out significantly better for me if it was in the same format as the DLC. Still, I am really glad I didn’t get Left Behind on this one.