The Last of Us did something special for gaming. It was my favorite story in 2013 for any medium. In the mass of post-apocalypse, zombie-filled media to consume, the team at Naughty Dog managed to do something unique by getting to the heart of survival and weighing the worth of trying to live in such a dark, near-hopeless world.

                I hold The Last of Us in such high regard, I was nervous for the DLC Left Behind to arrive. I didn't want any extra content to tarnish or alter my view of the original game. But Left Behind not only lives up to the material it was cleaved from, it gives even more depth to an already dense experience.  I've never been so proud of such a little piece of gaming.

                Left Behind is mainly the story between Ellie and her friend Riley, who Ellie mentions at the end of The Last of Us to Joel. Their friendship is a complex one, and Naughty Dog did another fantastic job portraying the confusing, layered emotions these characters go through. I'm glad that Naughty Dog decided to flesh out this story, because it's a meaningful one and I'm even more grateful at how expertly they executed. I feel no reserve in saying I consider Left Behind to be an important release for video game storytelling.

                With the story being so strong, however, it makes Left Behind's gameplay slightly disappointing in comparison.

                Even though the action is more of Last of Us' stealth and frantic fighting, this DLC feels more sluggish than I would ever believe I see from a Naughty Dog game. Not terribly so, but enough for me to notice. My gun would sometimes refuse to reload, and my shortcut to heal wouldn't immediately respond.  With those glitches said, Left Behind is the same heart-pounding experience as its predecessor. Zeroing your aim on an approaching runner, or trying shoot one of the human hunters as you blowback from their gunshots is as intense as ever. And it's no surprise to see that "Clickers" are back. But playing as Ellie alone against these sad creatures heightens the terror. In the game's short two and half hour lifespan, I screamed, spilled my water glass and leapt from my sofa. I've never had a series make my forearms hurt as badly from holding the controller tight as this one.

                Left Behind is everything a Last of Us and Naughty Dog DLC should be. The story sets an even higher standard for the prolific developers, and though the gameplay might have lost some of its tightness, it by no means stops this additional content from being a must-play for Last of Us fans.