Sunday, 10 October 2010

Left 4 DLC?

The latest downloadable content (DLC) for the Left 4 Dead games has taken a surprising turn, being available for both the original release and the sequel. The Sacrifice adds a new campaign to Left 4 Dead, along with a number of necessary additions, while Left 4 Dead 2 also gets an additional bonus. Clearly, the fact that the DLC is compatible with the original title is simply to appease those who vocalised their complaints (some of which still do) about the arrival of a sequel less than twelve months after the series’ debut, but there will surely be more reason for anguish when those gamers become aware of what is offered to players of Left 4 Dead 2 within the package.
            While the PC version of the DLC for either game is free, Xbox 360 players will have to part with 560 Microsoft Points for the pleasure. More than this however, players owning both editions of the series will need to purchase Electronic Theatre Imagethe DLC for each game individually. While this may only be an issue for a small percentage of gamers – namely those who play online with friends with only one edition – it does seem a needless irritation, and expense.
            The original Left 4 Dead receives a brand new campaign, building on the practically non-existent storyline of the original game. Featuring three chapters of reasonable length, The Sacrifice’s duration doesn’t stand-up to those included on the disc, but is comparable to The Passing and will easily offer an evening’s entertainment for the first playthrough. The new map is very well designed, offering congested and twisted routes that will quickly become familiar, but can easily disorientate a player; heightening the sense of dread. Of course, bringing a new campaign also means that new lines of dialogue and items are also added, but still the additions seem lightweight when compared to that included in the sequel’s DLC package, especially when considering they are available for the same price.
            Left 4 Dead 2 receives the same all-new campaign, playable by the original survivors. Additional lines of dialogue are presented here also, reflecting the inclusion of the uncommon and special infected. Additionally however, Left 4 Dead 2 players will gain access to the original’s No Mercy campaign. With a small amount of refinement andElectronic Theatre Image the inclusion of Left 4 Dead 2’s new weapons, infected and melee abilities, it’s a surprise addition that will undoubtedly please many, and anger some.
As the icing on the cake, both games offer five new Achievements, and Left 4 Dead 2 gamers who have also purchased The Passing will be treated to five new Mutations. A Survival Mode variation of the new map is also included, but with the finale taking place at the same location as The Passing, it offers a very similar experience.
Despite the Left 4 Dead games having received a hiatus from DLC for some time, returning to either game will show players that neither has lost their edge. The Sacrifice is as welcome addition as any previous campaigns, and for owners of Left 4 Dead 2 could well be considered a bargain on Xbox 360, despite being available for free on PC. For those who only own the original game, the lack of any special extras may mean that paying the same price for less content is somewhat of a bitter pill, but at nearly two years after its release, they should be pleased that Valve has honoured their word to continue supporting the game at all.