The Last of Us: Left Behind

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
The Last of Us: Left Behind Game Poster Image
Popular with kids
Violent action in phenomenal, emotional tale of two girls.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 14 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Much of the game's narrative focuses on the friendship between two girls under difficult circumstances. The story -- while at times terribly and even gratuitously violent -- asks important questions about loyalty, sacrifice, friendship, love, and bravery and delivers authentic and emotional answers.  

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ellie is both brave and clever. She's a capable and brutal fighter but prefers to avoid combat when she can and only engages enemies as a last resort -- for example, when it's necessary to save those she loves. She's reflective before making hard decisions, thinking hard about what's best for herself and her friend and whether these two things might be one and the same.

Ease of Play

Just as hard as the original game. Players can expect to experience plenty of failure before achieving success during challenging combat sequences. 


Players use a pistol and a bow against a handful of human and infected enemies. Blood gushes from wounds, and enemies cry out in pain when struck. One of the main characters is gravely wounded by a piece of rebar, forcing another character to treat the bloody wound. The scariest and most intense moments come when the player fails in combat and an infected enemy viciously bites her amid terrible screams.


Two characters kiss on the lips.


Frequent profanity, including the words "badass," "bitch," "dick," "s--t," and "f--k."


This game is an offshoot of The Last of Us and requires the $60 base game to play.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A teen girl takes a swig of some whisky, decides she hates it, and spits it out. Another girl takes a single swallow from the same bottle. It doesn't appear to affect her.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know The Last of Us: Left Behind is a third-person action game with bloody and sensational violence. Combat involves humans driven mad by fungal spores attacking and biting the main character. It also includes a good deal of strong language, as well as a brief scene in which a couple of teen girls taste a bit of whisky. It's definitely not meant for younger players. That said, more mature teens and adults likely will appreciate and be moved by the authentic and emotional friendship between the game's two young heroines, who are desperately searching for some sense of youthful normalcy as the world collapses around them. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byJohn S. March 29, 2018

Not that bad

Its just a girl looking for her dad
Adult Written byPizza G. August 28, 2017

Perfect prologue to an even more phenomenal game, but was over too soon!

I finished playing The Last of Us--that is, the main game--and decided it was my favorite game of all time. I had purchased the remastered edition, which comes... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byNo Name, for real. March 15, 2014


The new DLC " Left behind is one of the most heartbreaking stories for people that enjoy a moving story, to be able to let go of the characters they care a... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written by4g0 Gee October 28, 2016

Must have if you've played Last of us

Very good story and worth playing. It has the same quality as the main game and introduces new mechanics such as pitting two enemy factions (zombies and humans)... Continue reading

What's it about?

Ellie, the teen girl who traveled across a plague-ravaged United States with her companion Joel in 2013's outstanding The Last of Us, returns as the sole playable character in THE LAST OF US: LEFT BEHIND, a three-hour expansion available only via download. The story explores a skipped sequence from the original game in which Ellie gathers medical supplies and uses them to save Joel after he falls and gravely injures himself. Its real aim, however, is to use a series of extensive, playable flashbacks that revolve around Ellie's friendship with another girl to provide specifics concerning the events that led to Ellie joining up with Joel. The challenging combat returns, with several nail-biting sequences that see Ellie alternately hiding from and hunting both infected and uninfected humans. However, much of the game is free of fighting, focused instead on getting to the heart of the complex relationship between the two girls.

Is it any good?

Much like the game upon which it expands, The Last of Us: Left Behind doesn't content itself with simply delivering nerve-racking life-and-death scenarios that will leave players forever wary of clicking sounds in the dark. It also challenges players with a moving narrative that will make players care about its characters on a very human level. As Ellie and her friend explore a long-abandoned mall, doing the sorts of things kids their age not living through a nightmarish apocalypse normally would -- ducking into a photo booth, heading into an arcade -- the tragedy of their situation becomes woefully clear and is all the more so once the depth of their relationship is revealed and put to the ultimate test. Few game characters, male or female, young or old, have ever been so beautifully or sadly realized.

At only three hours, Left Behind is preciously brief. Most players will be left wishing for another three hours, especially given the stirring conclusion. Take it as proof of developer Naughty Dog's understanding of and commitment to the old adage: Always leave the audience wanting more.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about female characters in games. What about Ellie keeps her from becoming a stereotype? How does her appearance and personality differ from those of most game heroines?

  • Families also can discuss the impact of violence in media. How do you feel after playing a game with a lot of violence versus, say, a puzzle game? What purpose does violence serve in interactive entertainment?

Game details

Our editors recommend

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate