Earlier this week, Valve released the beta version of "Cold Stream," the community-made campaign coming to the PC, Mac and Xbox 360 in the next big Left 4 Dead 2 update. Let's see what it looks like, shall we?
Cold Stream is a mix of things old and new. There's no real story to speak of in this four chapter campaign, but it does offer a mostly fresh-feeling outdoor setting. You'll face Uncommon Common infected types like Mudmen and Riot Police Zombie throughout the campaign, plus you'll see a few new tricks, like the opportunity to be washed away by strong currents.
The campaign is currently in public beta. Valve is accepting bug reports from PC and Mac users. Cold Stream is planned to ship alongside three campaigns (Dead Air, Blood Harvest, Death Toll) from the original Left 4 Dead at some unspecified date, hopefully sometime this year.
If you haven't already played the beta version—which is very clearly in beta, due to its sometimes funky textures, geometry and other quirks—see it in 32 screen shots and one video in the gallery above. (Click on "expand" in the bottom right of each image to see full size.)
This is your opening view at the beginning of Cold Stream. You're going to want to follow the path of that creek ahead of you.
A short bridge in the opening chapter, Alpine Creek.
You'll need to make your way through this small, two story house.
And come out on the other side, through this window.
Another bridge? Yes, a makeshift one, a felled tree.
You'll walk across that tree at half speed and can easily be pulled off the thing.
That's a safe house dead ahead. Don't let that left pointing arrow sign fool you. Break through those planks to reach safety.
After leaving the safe house in the second chapter, South Pine Stream, you'll be temporarily blinded by the sun.
Soon your eyes will adjust...
After walking downstream for a few hundred yards you'll find this ladder... oh shit! Taaaaank!!!! (He seems to like to spawn here.)
Head down this road...
But avoid flaming helicopters, something of a recurring problem in Cold Stream.
After traveling by road for a few feet, it's back into the stream. Watch out for Mudmen.
Where do you suppose these stairs go? They go up.
Shoot the barrels and they'll (spoiler alert) explode, opening up your pathway and alerting some zombies to your presence.
Don't cross the stream.
That water continues to flow into the stairway here. Your molotovs are useless here.
After emerging from your sewer safehouse, this is how chapter 3, Memorial Bridge, starts—with the Survivors surrounded. Walk up those stairs.
And you'll see a familiar looking bridge. This plays a lot like The Passing.
All that stands between you and rescue is this burning fuel tanker. Blow it up to clear a path...
Yes, you're going to have to walk across that...
Then you'll need to drop down here by shimmying down the mast of a sailboat. This is a very, very easy way to die, as zombies will climb it and knock you off, sending you to your death. Not a fan.
But at least the boat's name is amusing...
A familiar looking parking lot... again, reminds me of The Passing. The safehouse lies just beyond here.
As you start the fourth chapter, Cutthroat Creek, you'll call for rescue from the safehouse. I've had zombies spawn in here with the door closed, something I hope is a bug. Anyway, that's your rescue vehicle. Just kidding. It crashes.
Back into the woods...
Back onto the stream...
No turning back here...
Finally, the rescue vehicle. Just past these confusing woods, designed to scatter your team.
Just climb this ladder...
...but don't look down.
Here's a not-so-great playthrough of the first two chapters of Cold Stream, just a taste.