Double Take: Left Behind

Keith and Steve played through Left Behind, the DLC episode of The Last of Us, on the same day. Here’s a conversation they had about it. A spoiler warning is unnecessary for anyone who has already played through The Last of Us.

Keith
i beat left behind

Steve
ah nice
what did you think?

Keith
i liked the flashback/present day dynamic
i thought it gave some interesting insight into why ellie is the way she is

Steve
what do you mean by the way she is?
like salty and angry?
because riley left her?

Keith
because she loved and lost
literally lost the person she loved
she’s not exactly open to new relationships
bitter, closed off
but strong as hell
and a lot of that is likely because of her relationship with riley
as well as her experiences at that boarding/military school

Steve
yeah
riley is mentioned in passing during the last of us
so i appreciated that they planted that seed in the original game

Keith
i didn’t remember that
but that’s cool

Steve
but it also meant we knew exactly how left behind was going to end, on both fronts

Keith
yeah i mean i was sure that’s what was going to happen
we knew ellie had to be bitten at some point
and she mentioned how she was afraid of being bitten earlier in left behind
so it was clear it hadn’t happened yet

Steve
yep, and in last of us – and i can’t blame you for forgetting this – she says she and her friend riley were bitten when they were hanging out together
and she kind of trails off, riley’s fate being obvious
since ellie’s the only immune person in the world as far as we know

Keith
but her relationship with riley wasn’t clear
was it?

Steve
no, not at all
she called her a friend
and hey, maybe that’s all she was

Keith
i dunno, i picked “love” in that photobooth

Steve
ha, so did i – wasn’t expecting the kiss later on though

Keith
but yeah, the strength of this dlc was the exploration of their relationship
i thought it was strong, believable, heartbreaking
the present day portion of it wasn’t quite as strong
although it was cool to see how losing riley was motivating her not to lose joel

Steve
let’s talk about that
the present day portion i mean
that one took place between “fall” and “winter” in the last of us
and it’s got a very simple premise – ellie needs to find medical supplies to save joel, in a shopping mall

Keith
so remind me
did we see the fight that put joel in his current state during the proper game
i thought we did, but i don’t fully remember
it’s been a while

Steve
yes
he gets impaled by some rebar, falling off a ledge at the college
and ellie saves his ass
that’s one of my favorite parts of the game actually, is ellie just taking out a ton of enemies while joel staggers around helplessly

Keith
yeah, i appreciated that it tied into the proper game
but i didn’t ultimately find that part of the game that interesting

Steve
no
one thing i thought was interesting about it was the gameplay

Keith
lots of combat

Steve
yeah, and it ramps up quickly
early on, ellie sees one clicker
a little later, there’s a huge horde
and then to end things, there’s this massive contingent of armed bad guys
and throughout most of this you’ve got nothing but a pistol, a knife, and a few bricks and bottles
toward the end you get the bow and the hunting rifle, but man, i thought this was the most challenging gameplay yet from the last of us
and in a way i appreciated that
a sequel or expansion pack should cater to a higher difficulty level, i guess

Keith
i appreciated it
because ellie should be weaker than joel

Steve
#sexist

Keith
but as someone who hasn’t played that game in over 2 years
it took a bit to get back into the swing of things
so i was dying a lot
which was frustrating, but not enough to make me dislike it
there were more platforming elements than i remember, too

Steve
oh i died a ton
trevor actually watched me play through a segment
via ps4 screen sharing
and he can vouch for how often i died
one other thing i really enjoyed in the present day gameplay was that you could turn the clickers and armed guys on each other
and they’d do a lot of fighting, taking each other out and saving you bullets
in the last of us i don’t think there were ever any firefights like that

Keith
how did you get them to turn on each other?
like for me they would do it on their own
but i never threw a brick or anything to make them go to the same place

Steve
there was one room late in the game with a few clickers and a few armed guys
and they were keeping their distance from each other
so i threw a brick in the middle and they all took each other out

Keith
i did enjoy that dynamic

Steve
i definitely used more bricks and bottles here than in all of the last of us combined
and that final firefight was hard

Keith
i did a lot of stabbing

Steve
yes!
unlimited shivs
as in, ellie actually has a knife
come to think of it, how did joel never get a true knife during the entirety of the last of us
anyway?

Keith
and that bow was a godsend at the end

Steve
how did you feel about all the minigames in the riley part?
car window smashing, water gun fights
did you read the whole book of bad puns?
did you connect to facebook to break that fourth wall and share your photobooth session?

Keith
i did not read the whole pun book
i didn’t connect to facebook
but i enjoyed the brick throwing and water gunning

Steve
i won the brick throwing but lost the water gunning horribly

Keith
i won water gunning
i lost brick throwing because i didn’t realize that the sun roof counted as a window

Steve
ah damn

Keith
i also liked the imaginary video game

Steve
the imaginary video game was where i felt the most cheese
don’t get me wrong, i still liked it
but it felt like they were reaching a little with that one

Keith
i appreciated that the flashback was very limited on combat

Steve
yeah – was there any at all?

Keith
you knifed a few clickers at the end
but no
it was the things we mentioned, plus a running sequence

Steve
yeah
and also a merry-go-round ride

Keith
i kept expecting riley to get bitten during that ride
like ellie goes around one time
comes back to a clicker behind riley

Steve
oh that would have been great
there was also a point where you put on a mask and have to yell very loudly
i thought the screaming would get some clickers to come by

Keith
yeah
the halloween store was cool inside
but i don’t really get why it existed
it also took me forever to figure out what to do
did i have to put on two separate masks?
or was i just being stupid?

Steve
oh i didn’t even know there was more than one mask

Keith
we haven’t really talked about the setting have we?
both the flashbacks and the present day take place in malls
how’d you feel about that?

Steve
i noticed that too
and i was hoping there’d be a halloween store in the joel mall, or something
a photobooth, a merry-go-round
not even something blatant, but it would have helped remind us that riley is constantly on ellie’s mind
but there wasn’t any linkage, and i thought that was kind of a missed opportunity
did you find anything interesting about the mall parallels?

Keith
so one mall was in boston, the other colorado
the colorado mall is in much worse condition

Steve
yeah thats true
do you think its because the colorado mall is in the middle of nowhere?
whereas the boston one is in a quarantine zone?

Keith
we get to explore the boston mall with riley
but we have to survive the colorado mall in the present

Steve
good point
what did you think of the title
“left behind”
who is left behind?
i couldn’t unwrap this one
is it ellie by riley?
or is it joel, by ellie, in a literal sense?

Keith
riley i guess
or perhaps the love ellie felt for riley
whatever innocence ellie had left
it’s probably both

Steve
hmm you could be right

Keith
and it just sounds good, so that doesn’t hurt

Steve
yeah, i’m not sure what it means, but it’s a good title
lastly, do you think left behind adds to, detracts from, or exists separately from the rest of the last of us?

Keith
i’m confident it doesn’t detract
it definitely adds to the story
and presents a few new twists on the gameplay we’re used to
as a standalone product, i’m not sure you would get that much out of it
the joel/ellie piece wouldn’t make much sense
but knowing the riley stuff before playing the last of us might actually make the last of us just a tiny bit better from a story perspective

Steve
i agree
i could maybe even recommend left behind to someone interested in the last of us but unsure about its gameplay
as a 3-hour demo of sorts
but i’m not sure it would resonate at all
and the difficulty curve is enormous

Keith
i think the only problem would be that it’s pretty hard to jump right into
it might scare people off of the full game
which i think would be a shame
definitely play the last of us first
and if you like the last of us
you can’t go wrong with left behind

Steve
yeah
winter was my least favorite part of the last of us, but i liked this just fine
i could have used a tiny bit more story at the end there after riley is bitten
but on the other hand, we don’t need to see ellie kill riley
some things are best left offscreen

Keith
was that mentioned in the last of us?
that she actually kills riley?

Steve
no, it’s not clear how riley ultimately goes
but ellie says they committed to waiting it out
teen romance, am i right?

Keith
swoon


Double Take is a recurring gametimebro feature in which two (or more) bros have an in-depth conversation about a game they’ve both been playing.

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