But I still wasn't ready. AAAAAARRRRGH! I feel just as drained now as I did when I first finished playing the main game last year. Slight Spoilers and random babbling to follow.
The thing about this DLC is, there's no mystery here. If you've played the game, you know exactly how this little prequel ends. And every whimsical moment shared between Ellie and Riley feels like a stab to the heart.
The story bounces back and forth between Ellie back in Boston before she headed out with Joel to just a bit after the events at the University of Eastern Colorado where Joel was impaled on rebar. Both stories weave wonderfully together and the transition between the two are very well paced.
Although make sure to read the comic book prequel American Dreams. Left Behind takes place about a month and a half afterwards and while it's not necessary to really understand the story, the people and events in it are referenced quite a bit at the beginning (and it's really just a wonderful comic on its own).
The combat is the same old same old, but with a bigger emphasis on stealth. I played on Hard difficulty and supplies were few and far between, forcing me to sneak up to enemies and use Ellie's little switchblade mostly. Sadly the game still almost requires you to clear out every enemy in a room before moving on, but thankfully full on combat is limited.
There are plenty of lighthearted and goofy moments to be had to distract you from what you already know, like Ellie and Riley riding on a merry-go-round, taking pictures in a photo booth, and even Ellie imagining playing a fighting game (with an equally goofy mini-game).
The relationship between Ellie and Riley is amazingly well done. Almost as good as the one between her and Joel. Considering this is at most a 2 hour story (half of which Riley's not even in) that is impressive.
I was a little wary about paying $15 for such a short DLC, but thankfully, unlike Bioshock Infinite's Burial at Sea DLC, Left Behind was well worth the price.
On a side note, never try to download DLC after 2 months of not even turning on your console. I had to download 3 updates before I was even able to buy it.