Sunday, 25 April 2010

Left 4 Dead 2: The passing

I know you don't normally do a review for extra content for a game but shut up your mum doesn't mind when I try something different. For those of you that don't already know (because you've been on the dark side of the moon the last 4 years) Left 4 Dead is the premium "Zombie survival game" made by awesome enthusiasts Valve, you play as one of four survivors who have well... survived a zombie apocalypse (so far), and in the spirit of Top Gear are set some challenges, ok not quite like that but close.

The passing is the latest instalment of Left 4 Dead 2, taking place between Dead Centre and Kiddieland, with it a new map and a few bells and whistles:
The stupidly awesome M-60 (which bends the difficulty over the table and gives it a good going over), a golf club (which is fun but i can't see if it's any better than any other melee weapon) and mutations mode (a new gameplay mode).

Now lets just talk about the Mutations mode for a sec, it's more or less a game mode that takes another game mode and changes (mutates) it in a different way every week, and this is actually a pretty cool idea in theory, but i feel in reality valve are going to have a devils own job in getting it balanced. For example the first week it's versus realism, versus by itself is pretty well balanced, but when you add in the fact the survivors are playing it with realism turned on it becomes very heavily stacked in favour of the infected team, I suspect that the people who will find this fun are those that are either really bad at this game or really good, but hey each mode is only on for a week so who really cares.

Ok time for the meat of this review. The new maps, after playing it a few times I had to ask myself something, did valve really make this campaign or did they just steal a player made one? because it doesn't seem at all like a professionally made one. The layout is confusing and at times feels like an urban maze, at one point there were about 5 different paths i could take 4 of which lead to dead ends and the final one was quite frankly the least obvious of the 5. You may think that it's just because I was playing for the first time and was being retarded, and while the latter is still in question, on my 4th time round I still managed to go round in a circle and start backtracking because I didn't see the stupid small brown plank against the dark brown background, especially considering I saw the big open and inviting doorway first. I think the main problem with it is in all the other campaigns the player was given a vague idea of where they should be aiming for, while in 'The Passing' it just feels like each encounter zone is randomly slotted together like a 5 year old's attempt to make a castle out of lego.
The big selling point (I know this update was free, it's just a phrase) is the fact you have the original survivors in it from the first game, but it just seems to me like it's has too many forced interactions, and it just feels like at some point a fanboy was given a say over the dialogue... well actually not just the dialogue almost everything felt that way, just something to set the original ones up as demigods compared to the new characters.
And the last item of my check list of things wrong with the new maps is the final scavenger map, similar to the one they had in Dead centre only that this one is crap. Like the rest of the map it's confusing to navigate with the petrol can's halos being counter-productive rather than helpful. You do get help from the original survivors which is good for all about nothing considering you spend most of the time outside of their range fetching petrol cans scattered in the most anal places possible. While with the other campaigns you get something to give you a big finish, like a car driving through a wall or a bridge exploding, no such luck in 'The Passing', all you get is the car driving down a straight road.

So over all the new campaign is a disappointment but the new weapons and game mode are quite nice, the M-60 itself being one of the most satisfying guns I've ever had the pleasure of firing in a video game since playing Painkiller, more so when you mix it up with frag or fire bullets which result in nothing short of tank rape.
I can see this being the start of more DLC to come for L4D2, which is good because when they do it right, it's amazing, it's just this time it was only average.

I'll give it a 3 out of 5 (Not as good as i was hoping but the M-60 is awesome)


  1. So basically you just suck at this game. I mean firstly how can you go the wrong way in the campaign?? I mean half the fun is exploring the map and finding the hidden caches, but being a total n00b you wouldn’t understand this. I also disagree about the petrol can halos you go on about. They are really helpful as if you didn’t have the outlines you would have to search THE ENTIRE LEVEL!! They give you a basic idea where the petrol is but as you never actually get to carry any petrol cause you die when you set foot out of the safe zone...well i suppose that’s your fault, cause I don’t think you have experienced it yet but winning, its pretty fun :P The only thing you actually said correct in this review was the name of the DLC!!

    Good day to you sir

  2. I respectfully disagree Tim.

  3. Nice review Harvey. I've heard mixed things about the DLC- most bad when people refer to the value of the Xbox 360 version (yes, Microsoft have made Valve charge 500-odd points for it!) But all-in-all it sounds not up to the standard of the main game, which is a shame...