Dear Naughty Dog, you bold as fuck.
Let’s be honest, my expectations for this DLC were high, I paid 15 dollars for it, which seemed a little high to be honest and I had to download it twice because it corrupted the first time. I didn’t think naughty dog would be able to do it again, and yet they did
What exactly do I mean by “do it again”? I’m talking about that feeling of being emotionally invested in game, it has been months since I played The Last Of Us and I didn’t think I would be able to get into the DLC like I originally was. Especially since it was prequel which I knew the end result. Naughty Dog proved me wrong with thrilling chase scenes, sneaking, full blown shootouts, epic ass cut scenes, silliness, and boldness.
This DLC follows Ellie throughout two stages of her life. The first stage is the prequel element in which Jodie and her friend Riley are exploring through parts of the city having fun, the second stage which I had no clue about and added as an excellent surprise was the part of the game in which Joel fell from a ledge and was badly injured and Ellie had to take care of him. This is where the DLC starts and Ellie begins a quest to find medical supplies to save Joel’s life. As Ellie you do the typical TLOU thing, killing or avoiding infected, killing bandits, solving minor puzzles, this stage acts as the primary action part of the DLC. It doesn’t add much to the story line itself but it is hella fun. As I was playing the DLC through this stage there was one thing I noticed that my good friend “Sean Anthony” brought up when the game initially released. He was upset that the two worlds of infected and bandits never had a real collision throughout the game. This is true, primarily if not all of the time the fighting in TLOU goes from bandits to infected then back and forth. In the DLC you finally get moments where you make the infected fight the bandits, or during the final battle of the DLC the infected randomly decide to show up as they do, and the worlds collide again. Something both Sean I probably feel that is a little late to the game but awesome to have anyway.
In the prequel element of the DLC, Ellie’s friend Riley comes back from a “leave of absence” of sorts and basically takes Ellie out to have some good ol’ fashion fun. This part of the DLC is primarily story based so there isn’t that much action, but more interaction. As you play you begin to dive deep into this relationship that Ellie and Riley have. They’re best friends just trying to have a hell of time together because they haven’t seen each other. Which creates some awesome moments mid game, some examples are the squirt gun fight, the “brick master” challenge, the photo booth, and my personal favorite the book of puns. Seriously, there is a point in the game where you can just sit and tell Riley puns from a book. All of these elements in the DLC were little things, but it was these little things in the game that further developed the comprehension of the relationship the two girls had. I mentioned at the beginning of this post that Naughty Dog was bold, I’m referring to one scene in the game in which Ellie kisses Riley. This was like Naughty Dog putting the final stamp on the relationship between Ellie and Riley. Here was my thought word for word “Oh shit! I did not see that coming!” As this moment happened one of roommates saw this go down and he “called it” because of how the two were acting earlier, had this been older women, I would have agreed with him. But because of the ages Ellie and Riley were, I never even thought that was a possibility. Why? Because there are just some things that either don’t or rarely happen in games. Real relationship, borderline lesbian love is one of those things that rarely or don’t happen. And when it happened I just thought damn, that is a bold ass move to pull especially in American Society. Is Ellie actually lesbian? Bi-curious? Maybe she is straight now? Perhaps but that’s not the point, the point is to have clear understanding of the relationship between the two girls.
For a while I asked myself “why is this important?” stories are meant to be I get that, but why this story? It’s a prequel in which you already know the end, so I felt as this wouldn’t add too much to the story since the game had already been completed. I personally believe that the DLC acts as a metaphorical reinforcement for the end of the original game. In the last moments of the game, Ellie in a brief summary tells Joel the story about her and Riley. This story she tells seems important but has no real weight to it. The DLC brings that weight to the table and makes the ending of the game that much more important. So in short the Left Behind DLC brings you the slight plot hole in what happened after Joel was hurt in the main story and the relationship that Ellie and Riley had. The DLC delivered what it had promised, definitely worth the money I paid for it, especially since I only paid 30$ when the game originally came out.
Sum it up in one word: Bold