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After investing roughly 70 hours into Left 4 Dead 2 and completing the five campaigns on expert, I felt reluctant to shelf the game right next to its predecessor.  I mean, I could have spent a bit more time trying to finish off the last of the achievements, but strangely, I never felt compelled to milk the game to its bitter end.

Despite it all, there still remained a small void within me that made me feel as though I wasn’t quite done with the game.  Well, you can only imagine how excited I got when I had a new reason to dust off the cobwebs and breathe life back into the zombie apocalypse.

Thus, Valve’s latest DLC, The Passing, couldn’t have come at a better time. And son, it doesn’t disappoint.

The first thing players will notice is that the game fits in chronologically with the other campaigns.  Set between Dead Center and the Dark Carnival, The Passing acts as a detour to the linearity of the game.  Once again, players have to guide the survivors through a maze of death and mayhem.  But this time, there are a few bonuses thrown in to keep the game fresh.

While the original campaigns will take you anywhere from an hour to two hours to complete, depending on the difficulty, The Passing will take roughly 45 minutes to complete at three missions long.  Now I know a lot of you will grumble at the length, and even I kind of thumb my nose at it as well, but in the scope of things the shortness is nice when you want to get a quick match in and not have to spend the next few hours listening to your teammates yell at each other.

As far as the content goes, The Passing introduces two new weapons: the M60 and the golf club. The M60 literally cuts anything in its path in half; there’s just something so gratifying watching a zombie explode when hit with a M60 bullet.  Similarly, the golf club is a nice addition to the arsenal and instantly ranks high with my favorite melee weapons.

Additionally, the DLC introduces a new uncommon Infected: the Fallen Survivor.  He’s a treasure trove that failed to survive the nightmare.  He has quite a bit more HP than the normal zombie, and rather than trying to make your life a living hell, he’ll try to flee your presence.  But if you manage to take him down, he’ll reward you with some generous items.  If you miss your opportunity, there’s nothing more earth-shattering than realizing you missed a potential health kit drop.

While the additional level and new perks are an indication of good things to come (possibly seeing more of these in-between levels for the other campaigns), what Valve nailed is the mood and environment.  The safe room and bathroom wall writing is as hilarious as ever, and some of the set pieces are a bit haunting.  For example, the wedding in the park is a truly disturbing moment, yet because of the atmosphere the game has done so well of creating over the years, it’s just another perfect example of the contrast the game exhibits.

Likewise, the new content graces players with the appearance of the original Left 4 Dead survivors.  The banter between the old and new survivors is fairly comical, but at the same time, it’s grim due to the fact that one of the originals has fallen to the apocalypse.  Again, it’s just another perfect example of that humor-meets-horror juxtaposition.

The additional content is free for PC gamers, while Xbox 360 owners will have to dish out 560 Microsoft Points.  The downfall is that you can only play the same level so many times before the excitement begins to wane.  But regardless, it’s definitely worth the asking price.  You’d be foolish not to pick it up.

Gamer Limit gives The Passing an 8.5/10

  1. It’s worth a mention that (I think) there are something like 30 different interactions the new survivors can have with the old ones. (proof for my claim http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0d_unhnCWQ)

  2. Great review, Curtis. I love the interactions in the Passing, but I feel like there could have been more old Survivor/new Survivor interaction. Valve hyped it so much what is available is a tad disappointing. Still, I can’t wait to find out what happened to the passed survivor from the original L4D in that DLC.

    • Yea. I thought a basic 5 second intro exchange and a finale encounter wasn’t enough. The level set also felt like The Parish at dusk to me.

      Still fun though.

  3. Nice write up. I hadn’t played the original L4D2 at all until this was released, so I’m probably spoiled by it and the updates the game has had since launch, but I thought the new stuff looked good.

    #shrugs

  4. You hit most of the same high points I saw when I played through. Fun campaign, and it felt a little more meaningful than the originals in L4D2, but as with the game itself, it still felt like an expansion to me.

    Perhaps too many hours in the original L4D killed my interest, but the whole thing lost its steam fairly quickly into it, and the atmosphere, while still well done, just didn’t have the same impact.

    In the end, I really want them to make a campaign in homage to Evil Dead. I’d hop on that instantly.

  5. avatar Limeira

    I went to WordCamp a couple of motnhs and a guy was doing a demo of Microsoft Office Ribbon Hero. It was a game with a community and points you could earn to learn the software and increase your proficiency. If a company like Adobe could make a fun game out of learning their programs it would increase their users enjoyment of the software and make it fun to learn. It’s such a pain to learn a new software program that anything that could make it enjoyable would be welcomed by most if not all and give that company a competitive advantage.

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