Last week I had the pleasure of returning to The Last of Us for the first time, only this round not on the PS3. The Remastered edition on the PS4 is truly beautiful and it's a pleasure to see the improvements in lighting and environmental design. However, this was also my first time experiencing Naughty Dog's Left Behind DLC - which for some reason I never got round to trying.
I was told it was short before diving into it and surprisingly that's all I'd ever heard anyone say about it. But now that I've experienced everything that Neil Druckmann's The Last of Us has for players to emotionally invest in, I can see one aspect of Left Behind that I'd love to experience much more of when Naughty Dog eventually make The Last of Us 2 for the PS4.
The Last of Us 2 & The Left Behind DLC
I have absolutely no idea why I went into Left Behind not expecting much. I suppose that the length of The Last of Us' campaign allowed me to connect with characters to a degree that I thought 2 hours would completely fail to do. Yes, we don't know Riley as well as we do Ellie, but it's extraordinary to watch Naughty Dog flesh out her character so professionally and naturally, to the extent where we end up caring about her so much after such a short amount of time.
Of course, Left Behind's storytelling is amazing - why was I thinking it wouldn't be? But what really surprised me about Left Behind was its additional gameplay elements that none of The Last of Us' main campaign demonstrated. Now that I think about it, I'm actually surprised The Last of Us didn't have any of it.
The Last of Us 2 Gameplay
"The enemy of my enemy is my friend." Well...kinda. Left Behind allows players to pitch the infected against the madmen from David's group. It makes a lot of sense. Ellie is supposed to be a less experienced fighter than Joel, after all he's been doing it for over 20 years at the stage she finds herself alone. So the infected become a weapon that she can utilise to ensure her own survival.
I can't begin to describe both my surprise and elation at being able to launch a bottle at a group of raiders, only to see clickers descend upon them as I picked off the stragglers with my bow from a safe distance. Perhaps Naughty Dog wanted their DLC to have an additional gameplay element that the main campaign lacked, and that's why they saved this idea for the DLC. But after I experienced it for those few short minutes, I couldn't help but lament the lack of these moments in The Last of Us.
Therefore, I'd love to see The Last of Us 2 have a lot more open spaces for me to pick my options of moving through, as well as giving players the opportunities to use the infected against human enemies. It just made so much sense and lent a far deeper use of skill and timing to the gameplay.
But what do you think gamers? Did you play both The Last of Us and Left Behind? Do you think we need more gameplay moments like this in The Last of Us 2 and is there anything else you want to see Naughty Dog work into their sequel? Let us know in the comments below!