My Favorite things in 2014 - Day 13

Today's addition to my list of favorite things this year is the prequel chapter (of sorts) to one of my favorite experiences from last year. The Last of Us: Left Behind goes back in time to explore more of Ellie's story, before she embarked on her voyage with Joel in the original game.

Left Behind is partly based in the middle of the story from the original game, but uses flashbacks to explore what happened to Ellie prior to meeting up with Joel. Gameplay wise it is pretty much the same as the original, with a little less combat, since it's focused on Ellie, and more of a focus on exploration.

The effectiveness of the piece though is in the relationship between Ellie and Riley, the friend she recalls in those flashbacks. Some have said it feels like a chapter cut from the original game, but, given where it happens, that would have completely derailed the pacing of the first installment. Personally I liked this as a follow-up. It does more of what The Last of Us did so well, and that is focus on its characters. 

The Last of Us, for me at least, was not a great game, but it was a great experience, with a superbly written and played narrative. The gameplay was good enough to not get in the way most of the time, while still meaty enough to make you feel like it was actually a game (as opposed to say the interactive story method that Telltale are perfecting).

Left Behind simply focuses on it's characters and allows us to understand Ellie, and the world, a little better. It's poignant and touching, and completes the experience provided by The Last of Us nicely.