The latest DLC for the Left 4 Dead series has finally come out for the 360. Developed and published by VALVe corporation, this DLC has had the L4D community buzzing. In conjuncture with “The Passing” and the four comics released by VALVe, it told a story of how the original Survivors made it to Louisiana to meet the new Survivors and importantly, how one Survivor made the biggest sacrifice of all.
When you first begin to play, you’re given an opening scene of the original Survivors coming in through the train, infected are swarming all around them. You then cut to the original Survivors standing next to a river with very ominous music playing. The first thing that I can say about “The Sacrifice” is that it’s really big. Out of all the outdoor campaigns on both Left 4 Dead games, I have to say “The Sacrifice” is the most open and widest. There seemed to be many places you could go and check. This could be a great case of how curiosity killed the cat. As I explored every nook and cranny, a warning kept sounding of how a charger or smoker could get me at any moment. But in the end, it could lead to many different ways to get to the saferoom and to attack, never leaving a dull moment in the campaign. This was one worry I had when they decided to introduce the original Survivors to be playable. I’ve noticed that when a studio creates second game in a series and decides to introduce previous characters, they tend to tweak the characters, hoping to give them a new “vibe”. I was worried about that and after 5 minutes of playing, realized VALVe did nothing to change our original Survivors character. I was very happy of that and allowed me to enjoy the DLC very much. As far as difficulty, compared to the previous DLCs released in this series, The Sacrifice sits right below The Passing, a campaign where I have yet to completely finish by safely making it to each saferoom. Though easy in a campaign, if you can get two good teams who know what they’re doing, this can be a very difficult campaign to make it through in versus.
Along with “The Sacrifice”, VALVe decided to put everyones favorite campaign “No Mercy” into Left 4 Dead 2, allowing you to play as the original Survivors but have the Left 4 Dead 2 special infected and weapons included. I always wished for some of the elements in Left 4 Dead 2 to be put in Left 4 Dead. Now that I’ve gotten my wish, I slightly want to take it back. The minute I grabbed the cricket bat and began to swing away, it felt wrong and it felt dead wrong (no pun intended) when I leveled a Charger. I’m not saying that the campaign itself is a bad thing. Eventually, I did get use to the change, it was fun actually. When in Versus, there are so many attack areas, its unbelievable. It really provides a new perspective of the map allowing you to get the most out of it. With adding the new SI to “No Mercy”, VALVe modified some areas of the map. The most significant change would be where the Survivors hold off until the helicopter arrives. When climbing the ladder to enter the roof of the hospital, you’ll notice a barrier surrounding it, this will prevent from being charged off the edge to an instant death. They also changed the area of where a majority of players hold ground. I haven’t figured out why they did it, but it really doesn’t effect the my usual plan when standing off against the infected.
Now with all the good thing there are some bads. Glitches happen, and I’m hoping that very soon VALVe will send out a patch to fix these. While playing with some friends on “No Mercy”, my friend laid down a box of fire ammunition and poof, someone fell through the elevator and died. We’re not exactly sure if this is the absolute cause, but be cautious when doing anything in the elevator. Also, the latest mutation “TAAANNNKK!” seems to be causing a few headaches for everyone. On multiple campaigns, included the latest additions, Tanks will spawn on the other side of an unclimbable fence. The infected ladders are there, but seem to be broken. On top of that, there are some spawn issues. For example, first infected team Tanks will spawn on top of the survivors, ending the game within seconds. But when the roles are switched, the Tanks will spawn far behind the Survivors and leaves it to a game of catch up to the Survivors. It’s aggravating of course, but in the end, the mutation is still very fun.
Along with this anticipated DLC came updates for the game in general. When it comes to Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2, I’m sure many people have experienced the following scenario. You just entered a lobby and it’s full ready to go. Everyone is talking smack but then…oh wait…. you realize the lobby leader is no where to be found to start it and you’re left disperse and hopefully find a new game. That has changed now. When in a lobby leaderless room, you can vote to force a start of the game.This represented by a little box on the left side of your gametag. If you choose to force start the game without the lobby leader, it’ll fill with a green check mark. If you gain a majority of the lobbies vote to start the game, it’ll begin with or without the lobby leader at their controller. Another game changing update would be the “Change talk” vote. This can be accessed in-game by pressing start and going to “Call Vote.” This really comes in handy when you have friends on the opposing team and want to party up, but no ones connection seems to hold the party together. You can just vote to be able to hear and talk to the opposing while in the game. Both of these updates may not bring players back to the game, but can definitely satisfy the core players.
Bravo VALVe! This DLC is highly enjoyable. With the combination of the latest DLCs and comics, you’ve put together a very nice combo to look into the lives of our favorite Survivors and look into the strange case of the zombie making infection. I’d be very satisfied if no other DLC came out as this is a great way to end the series…unless of course, a Left 4 Dead 3 is in the making.
This latest Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 DLC was developed by Turtle Rock and VALVe. The price of the DLC is free for PC and MAC users but 560 MSP each for 360 users. A code for the DLC was provided by the publishers for review purposes.