A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
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
Ellie is brave and clever. She's a capable and brutal fighter but prefers to avoid combat when she can, only engages enemies as a last resort -- e.g., when it's necessary to save those she loves. She reflects 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.
The expansion features a much smaller cast, with focus mainly on Ellie. But it does a fantastic job of exploring her past, particularly the development of her relationship with Riley. This helps to show players the natural progression of her sexuality while growing up, complete with insecurities and ultimate acceptance of it.
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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.
Violence & Scariness
Players use a pistol and a bow against a handful of human and infected enemies. Blood gushes from wounds; enemies cry out in pain when struck. A main character is gravely wounded by a piece of rebar, forcing another character to treat the bloody wound. Scariest and most intense moments come when the player fails in combat and an infected enemy viciously bites her amid terrible screams.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two characters kiss on the lips.
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Frequent profanity, including the words "badass," "bitch," "d--k," "s--t," and "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
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, spits it out. Another girl takes a single swallow from the same bottle. It doesn't appear to affect her.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Last of Us: Left Behind is a third-person action game with bloody and sensational violence for the PlayStation 3. Combat involves humans driven mad by fungal spores attacking and biting them. 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 heroes, who are desperately searching for some sense of youthful normalcy as the world collapses around them.
Is It Any Good?
Much like the game it expands upon, this title 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. The Last of Us: Left Behind 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.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.