It’s now been just about a week since the Left 4 Dead DLC arrived on Xbox 360 and PC, so I thought it might be a good idea to post a bit about what I think of Valve’s latest additions to the co-op zombie shooter. Before I start, though, I would say that I’ve not done an extensive look into every map, nor have I tried the new versus campaigns. However, I have played a great deal of the game in the last few days, specifically the new Survival Mode.
The verdict? While it might not last long, currently the new stuff in the game has completely rekindled my love for the game, and then some. The new survival mode is fantastic for a shorter, more intense game, and when you have a good team the experience is unparalleled. While it always feels like the game you’ve been putting hours into since late last year, the new mode revitalises the formula with it’s shorter life span and the knowledge that no matter how good you and your team are, you are going to die. This makes for terrific tension throughout the levels (which, due to being comprised of different extracts of the campaign levels, feel familiar and new at the same time), helped along by the timer at the top of the screen, always visible and counting down to an upcoming milestone in your team’s survival. These milestones can be personal bests, team bests, or the specific ‘medal-worthy’ times of 4, 7 or 10 minutes (for Bronze, Silver and Gold respectively).
While all of these are welcome additions to the game, it obviously doesn’t solve the game’s original problems. If you don’t have a couple of friends who enjoy playing the game, you’ll quite often find yourself saddled with some less-than-competent teammates, and occasionally the all-out arsehole. However, if you do find a couple of good players, Left 4 Dead remains one of the best multiplayer experiences of the past couple of years. Well worth the non-existent price tag attached to it.