I make it no secret that The Last of Us was my second-favorite game of last year. It was the best game that came out last year, without a single contender in its class. For real, no game made the drama and the human connection seem as real as this game did. When I saw the preview for this DLC, I didn’t know what to think. I just knew that, if it was done with the same love and respect for good story-telling that the original game was, then I was in for a beautiful work of digital perfection. And let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint! Oh my god, this DLC is awesome! Just when I thought that this game and the characters in it couldn’t surprise me anymore, it does! For being $15, I got every single penny of my money’s worth. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about it.
The story for this DLC follows two chronological settings. Let me say, up-front – do NOT play this DLC before you finish the game! For real, don’t! You have to have context to make this setting work. The first is right in the middle of the game. Joel has been run-through with a piece of rebar. Ellie has desperately gotten him to safety and is looking for a way to patch his wounds. As she is searching a mall that she takes shelter in, her mind harkens back to when her and her best friend, Riley, were reunited. Apparently, their departure didn’t end well, and now she is back. Riley has Ellie follow her to a run-down mall, to give her a gift. Ellie can feel that there’s something else, and she’s right.
I won’t talk about the controls or any of that. It’s the exact same as the game. However, they do give you some little differences that go a long way, such as allowing you to make little decisions about stuff. What you do and how you do it effects how little interactions play out. You can’t change the ending, but it does give you some free-reign to interact with the world more. That’s nice. There are also some cute little mini-games in the segments in the past. As before, you can’t change the final outcome, but it lets you test your stealth skills in a serious way. For real, Riley is one MEAN opponent. Plus, the weapon you have is unreliable. I won’t spoil it, but it’s funny. There are also a couple of environmental puzzles in the present-day (figuratively speaking) setting when she is trying to find medicine for Joel.
This game brings Joel and Ellie back, through Joel is only around long enough to let us all know he’s in pain. The two main characters in this game are Ellie and Riley. And my god, their interaction is perfect! For real, it’s flawless. The way they interact, it feels like two real friends who are reuniting after a long time apart. It is clear that they parted on bad terms, and while they share some great moments, how their past comes back into the story is just awesome. For real, there are some HUGE emotional highlights that this DLC hits, and it does it just at the right moment to make your heart soar or your eyes weep.
Which is another thing to mention about this DLC – it’s bittersweet, in the absolute best way. This is telling a story that we kind of already know, if you’ve seen the end of the game, but seeing it play out, you get to see where a lot of Ellie’s fear of abandonment comes from. I cried at the end of this, and so will you, if you have a heart. Naughty Dog, once again, shows why nobody does it like they do. Nobody. I could gush, for hours and hours and hours about this DLC and how perfectly-paced the story is. It isn’t especially long, but just like the opening with Joel and Sara, it makes you believe that it’s real. Maybe this just attached to me because of how I feel so much of Ellie’s emotions in respect to a friend that she felt ditched her. Maybe I’m alone in that, but I don’t think so. I think that this kind of feeling will resonate with everyone who plays.
Since there isn’t too much to talk about outside of that, let me just wrap this little review up by saying that this is worth every single penny of your money on PSN. For real, if you have played and loved the original game as much as I do, then go and buy this DLC. Do so immediately! I have never seen an add-on to a game be this good. I’ve seen another that comes close (the Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC), but it didn’t hit the emotional levels this did. I am so glad I played it, and you will be too.
10 out of 10