COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: 'The Last of Us: Left Behind' PS3 Review

Created: 02/20/2014 8:58 AM By: Aaron Chalich

Photo courtesy of Sony Computer Entertainment
Photo courtesy of Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony Computer Entertainment’s “The Last of Us” for the PS3 was one of my favorite games of last year.  It was creepy, and there were so many scenes in the game that made me jump.  There were also many intense situations that had me on the edge of my seat.  It is such a great game. 

To read my review of “Last of Us” and to listen to my interview with Neil Druckmann who was the creative designer click here.

This past weekend I got a review code from Sony Computer Entertainment for “Left Behind” which is the latest downloadable content for “The Last of Us.”

The story takes place before “The Last of Us” and focuses on the relationship between Ellie and Riley.  At the beginning we learn how Joel got impaled and that Ellie takes Joel to a mall where she tries to find a first aid kit.  During Ellie’s search, she has multiple flashbacks of when she was at the boarding school and of one particular night when her best friend Riley wakes her up and takes her on an adventure. 

Riley takes Ellie to the mall that she is currently in with Joel and she shows Ellie that they can turn on the electricity and can have some fun.  Riley is part of a rival group called the Fireflies, and she tells Ellie that they are making her move to a different city. 

The story and scenes are very emotion, and I really like how you get to see the special relationship between Ellie and Riley.

As Ellie searches the mall for the medical kit, she encounters clickers and also dangerous cannibalistic scavengers that are looking for her and Joel.  She must use her stealth and wits to try and survive and also get back to Joel before the other scavengers find Joel who is hidden in a locked store.

I really thought the story was very well written and extremely exciting.  It was written by Neil Druckmann, and I feel he did a great job with it.

“Left Behind” has a very creepy feel to it as you play, and there are many intense moments with a lot of scares.  I do have to admit there was quite a few times where I jumped.

The graphics are awesome and everything is so detailed.  Ellie and Riley look life like, and the clickers looked very scary and disgusting.

Controlling Ellie was very easy, and the controls are easy to learn.  You can watch little tutorials on how to do certain things like run and hide behind a wall quickly and then move again. 

As you come across certain things that you can interact with, the button you need to push appears.  So if you want to pick up a brick the “triangle” button will appear above it, or if you want to open a door, the button will appear by the handle.  I thought this was extremely helpful.

Ellie also has the ability to stop and listen to see where clickers or other scavengers are.  She can pick up their sound; it will show you where they are, so you can sneak around them or attack them.

As you play you will encounter many different items that you can pick up and use.   There are all kinds of bricks and bottles that Ellie can pick up and throw to distract a clicker or scavenger.  She will also find different materials that such as alcohol, blades, and sugar.  She can use these items to make smoke bombs, health kits, or an exploding bomb.

Ellie is equipped with a knife and a gun.  She will also find bullets scattered around the area that will help her take out the clickers and also the scavengers who are looking for her and Joel.

When you get closer to the end of the game you will get a bow and this is very helpful, because you can take out clickers and enemies silently and without anyone noticing you.

Stealth plays a huge role in “Left Behind.”  You can sneak up on the clickers and also the scavengers and take them out quickly with your knife. 

One of my favorite things to do in “Left Behind,” is that eventually there will be areas where there are clickers and scavengers together.  I like to lure the clickers over to the scavengers and have the two of them take each other out.  This really helps clear out an area.

There are also several puzzles that you have to try and figure in order to get the medical kit and back to Joel.  Some of them are pretty challenging and there is a mode you can turn on that will show you how to solve the puzzle if you are having problems. I thought that this was a nice feature and will be very helpful for people who are struggling.

There are many different notes, letters, taped recordings and items that are hidden throughout the game that you can find.  When you find these items, they will reveal more information about the deadly virus outbreak.  If you find all of the different items hidden in the game you will get a trophy. I thought that it was fun to try and find everything and that it also gives the game great replay value.

Overall, I really enjoyed Sony Computer Entertainment’s “Left Behind” a lot.  The story was very interesting, creepy and emotional.  The graphics were awesome and looked amazing.  I really liked how there were many different things to find and collect.  I know that fans of “The Last of Us” are really going to enjoy “Left Behind” a lot, because you learn more about Ellie and Riley and it’s just a fun and exciting game to play.

Aaron Chalich is a entertainment columnist.