By: Tom Mc Shea
The following editorial contains spoilers for both The Last of Us and its recently released downloadable content Left Behind.
The Last of Us: Left Behind is remarkable in more ways than you would think possible for a three-hour story expansion. Ellie cements her place as one of gaming’s most well-realized characters here, and though some of her personality building stems from the quiet cinematics where I was just an interested observer, Left Behind doesn’t end her development there. What really caught my attention was how the core of her change occurs while we’re in control of her. It’s the combat, exploration, and bonding activities she shares with her friend Riley that establishes who she is, and who she’ll ultimately become.
Ellie is an average teenager during the most hellacious period of human existence. Her naivete in the early moments is endearing, as it’s clear that she has yet to be hardened by the world around her. We enter Left Behind with a similar mindset as our heroine. More interested in fun than serious contemplation, we view the world through the lens of amusement. It’s how we’ve been conditioned to see games, searching for any element that can provide levity, so we’re on the same level as Ellie as she sneaks out from her dorm room into an empty mall. How things became so run-down doesn’t matter at this point, so neither I nor the characters dwell on the history. It’s all about the present.
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