Just to clarify this isn't going to be an attack on DLC, not that DLC doesn't have enough problems in its numerous on disc and pay to win forms. DLC, as long as it exists without having taken anything from the original product that you bought, or simply just irrelevant skin packs, isn't of any issue to me. I can buy it if I want and I'm a chump if it turns out to be bad. Left Behind, which is the single player DLC to The Last Of Us, was one of those times where I am a chump, but not for the above reasons. It's not because of how well the game is made, as usual it was practically glitch free and was well paced up to the usual Naughty Dog standard. It was also very involving and moving as was The Last Of Us before it; a game that was easily one of my favourites, if not my favourite game of last year.
I must also quickly clarify along with my non DLC hating, that this review will contain spoilers.
But unlike The Last Of Us, which had a long campaign that left me feeling as if I'd got my money's worth, Left Behind was short. Worse of all, Left Behind wasn't just a short game, but with a lot of cutscenes added onto the running time. Left Behind was a short game including the cutscene running time. The Last Of Us was easily 17 hours overall and priced at £40. Left Behind is barely 2 hours and cost £12, which at over a quarter of the price isn't exactly a fair ratio.
This isn't to say that games need to be long for me to like them, since if that were the case I would only play JRPGs and The Elder Scrolls, which is a life that I have no interest in leading. The problem with Left Behind, is not that it is just short, but how happy people are to accept its price. I've spoken to a few people regarding its length and seen a lot of reviews and people always say that they are paying for quality not quantity. The problem with this argument is that I can't even understand what quality they're talking about. Yes the game is well written and acted, but overall most of the story is told through cutscenes and there are only 5 encounters, with 3 of them being significant throughout the running time. At least half of it is cutscenes, leaving this small bit of gameplay crammed in to just over an hour. An hour of gameplay for £12 relies on a need for quality that is too high for anything to achieve.
On a side note, it's similarly frustrating that they finally put in combat that includes both a mixture of infected and people, only for the game to barely use it and end up squandering a potentially interesting opportunity
When I buy a game for quality, it is the gameplay aspect that I expect the majority of quality to reside in and what I received was a few minor combat situations and then end screen.
So I don't see what quality I've received from this game. I'm seeing some very pretty CG movies, but they seemed to have left out a lot of gameplay from this game. Other than just watching some nice cutscenes, it's some minor exploring and then a few examples of combat. I don't understand how a game, that's shorter than most films and contains about as much sitting around and staring idly at the screen as one, can cost more than a cinema trip.
This isn't to knock what Left Behind is. It is at it's core a very nice look back into Ellie's past as she enjoys her last few moments with her soon to be dead best friend, Riley. This is juxtaposed effectively with a lost scene from the original game of Ellie trying to save the life of a wounded Joel between the Autumn and Winter chapters of theoriginal game. If I had one complaint, it is that by the end I didn't feel like I'd seen anything that I particularly needed to. One of the more interesting curiosities I had regarding Ellie and Riley being bitten was how Ellie managed to escape from Riley, given that we know Ellie never turns. This would've been a pretty dark and horrendous scene, for Ellie to have to suddenly be faced with not turning and so dealing with the consequences of abandoning her infected friend. I can of course see why this may have been left out of the final game, due to it causing a severe tonal shift in what the entire, but this was a scene that I felt was a shame to have left out.
A lot of you will then ask why I bought it. The simple reason is that there were no user reviews at the time and all I had was actual critics, all of whom had received the game for free and so had no issue with the price/gameplay ratio, nor mentioned it. Upon playing it and although liking it, I can't feel that this DLC was anything other than incredibly overpriced for what was in it. I feel that I paid a lot for what was an unreasonably minute amount of content.
Games are already too expensive as they are. Through physical distribution, I can imagine with all the retail taxes and production of discs and stocking costs, that this would explain an inflation in the price. But when it's solely distributed via digital distribution, then I just can't fathom why this bonus game was so expensive for what we got. My only real query at the end of all this, is why are people not more annoyed with what they received.