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.)
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.
Here's a not-so-great playthrough of the first two chapters of Cold Stream, just a taste.
The zombies are here! The zombies are here!
Earlier this month we pointed out that Left 4 Dead 2-styled Hunter and Tank plushies were joining the adorably-engorged Boomer in the Valve store, but that they wouldn't start shipping until Dec. 27.
Well, they're shipping now and we've got our hands on them, along with some wonderful Team Fortress 2 plushie sticky bombs.
Check out our little video tour and the pics we snapped. These have officially beaten out my plush Giant Microbes as my favorite plushies in the house.
Unfortunately, they won't be delivered in time for Christmas, if you're looking for a last minute idea. They're scheduled to ship Dec. 27. Both require 3 AAA batteries and include 10 sound samples from Left 4 Dead 2. The Hunter is $26.95, the Tank is $31.45. (Those are the discounted prices).
If you're a big fan of Left 4 Dead and haven't figured out your costume for this Halloween yet, this video might be just what you're looking for.
Over the course of more than 16 minutes Petrilude walks us through how to create a zombie look inspired by his favorite zombies games, Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2.
Be warned, this doesn't look like something anyone can pull off. It's going to take time and a bit of skill.
Check out the rest of Petrilude's videos for other interesting make-up tutorials and stay tuned for the two other zombie designs he'll be walking us through later this week.
The original beloved Survivors from Valve's zombie-packed shooter, Left 4 Dead, return for another dramatic, bloody and brief adventure in "The Sacrifice," the add-on that's playable in both Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2.
The expansion adds three new chapters, events set immediately before "The Passing," to the original Left 4 Dead. It adds the same content to Left 4 Dead 2, but lets players enjoy the added features of the sequel, which include new guns and melee weapons, new Special Infected zombies and gameplay modes not available in the original. The add-on also brings the popular "No Mercy" episode to Left 4 Dead 2, making "The Sacrifice" a better deal for owners of the second Left 4 Dead game.
The Left 4 Dead fan who doesn't really care for Ellis, despises Rochelle or ever grumbled that Francis, Louis, Zoey and Bill really should have been in the game's sequel. Anyone with Steam installed on their computer.
The four original Survivors of the zombie apocalypse are now playable in Left 4 Dead 2, more firmly bridging the stories of the original game and its sequel. The climactic "No Mercy" campaign is also now playable in Left 4 Dead 2, which feels drastically different and still fresh when infested with the zombie mutants introduced in the sequel.
How are the new maps? They're great, with some tight corridors for more claustrophobic moments, multiple pathways, new scenery, twists and turns and wide-open spaces that the original Survivors didn't see too often. They also get to see a little sunlight on their trip south, with The Sacrifice taking place during dusk. The new chapters are stuffed with uncommon common infected—mostly CEDA agents in rubbery biohazard suits—and feature a few new, but not gameplay changing, tricks.
New tricks? Like what? Nothing major, but at one point you'll have to carefully let a Tank out of his cage (a train car). The finale, which takes place on a modified version of the finale map from The Passing, introduces the Sacrificial event, in which one player is forced to die for the group. There's nothing wildly different or game-changing about this expansion, unless you consider exploding barrels truly exciting.
How's "No Mercy"? Just as great as it ever was. Valve has made a few level tweaks to accommodate the new Special Infected, which make playing through No Mercy, well, a little nuts sometimes. It's cool to see the "uncommon common" infected who wear ear protection in the construction zones in Mercy Hospital. It's also great fun to use the Spitter against campers on this level. It really gives players a great sense of how radically Left 4 Dead 2's new additions affect gameplay. Plus, you can play No Mercy in Scavenge mode, Realism Versus, whatever.
What's the downside? There are no new weapons, one map is essentially recycled from The Passing and you can't play as Zoey (or Bill or Francis or Louis) in any of Left 4 Dead 2's other campaigns. But you can play with Zoey and slice through zombies as she wields a chainsaw. What's not to like about that?
If you have a copy of Left 4 Dead 2 on the Xbox 360. And if you've waited this long to invest in either Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 for the PC or are just getting it now for your Mac, don't hesitate. Buy it now. You'll get all the currently available DLC for free.
If you only have a copy of Left 4 Dead on the Xbox 360. The content in The Sacrifice is awfully thin for that game.
The Sacrifice advances Left 4 Dead's story more so than its gameplay, which fans will likely appreciate alongside Valve's digital comic of the same name. This brief, three chapter campaign is a no-brainer download for anyone who already owns the PC or Mac versions of Left 4 Dead 2 (or Left 4 Dead). As for Xbox 360 owners, grab the download if you own L4D2. But if you only own the original game, you really should join us Left 4 Dead 2 players. We've got Francis now and he still hates everything.
The Sacrifice for Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 was developed by Turtle Rock and Valve and released on PC, Mac and Xbox 360 on October 5. Retails for 560 Microsoft Points on Xbox 360, but is a free download for PC/Mac players who own the full game. A copy of the add-on was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes. Played through The Sacrifice (Left 4 Dead 2 version) on Mac and tested the game's single-player and Versus mode (Left 4 Dead version) on Xbox 360.
Those who own Team Fortress 2 can pick up an all-important hat - and a very useful skillet - free for use in that game if they go grab Left 4 Dead 2 before 7 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday).
What's more, the game is $6.79, (roughly 6.47 times the price of freedom), so you can see, Valve's keen to sell some damn Left 4 Dead 2. Grab it and you get a trucker hat worn by Ellis, the alleged friend of Whitaker, who runs the gun shop across from Liberty Mall in L4D2. The skillet is, well, you've seen what it can do in Left 4 Dead 2.
Already own Left 4 Dead 2 and TF2 on the PC? You'll see the items show up shortly.
Free Hats! [TF2 Blog]
The Sacrifice episode is now available free for PC players of Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. To celebrate, Valve is selling both games on PC for less than Xbox 360 players will pay for the DLC alone.
If there was ever evidence to back up Gabe Newell's mention of Xbox Live as a train wreck, then this is it. While PC players are already getting up to their elbows in The Sacrifice for Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead, Xbox 360 Left 4 Dead 2 owners are patiently awaiting to pay 560 Microsoft points ($7) for the privilege. That's pretty painful.
But not nearly as painful as the fact that in honor of the release, Valve has discounted both PC games 66%. That's $6.79 apiece. It's only $10.20 for both games, or $20.40 for a four-pack of either title.
Oh, plus the Mac version of Left 4 Dead 2 goes live today as well, for the same low price.
I'd be completely furious about this if I weren't playing it on my PC.
Let's hear from our Xbox 360 Left 4 Dead 2 players then. How do you folks feel about this?
Next week, downloadable add-on "The Sacrifice" comes to Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2, giving the original Survivors, Zoey, Francis, Bill and Louis, a chance to beat up on Spitters, Chargers and Jockeys with melee weapons.
To set the mood, Valve has released a heart-pounding cinematic trailer for The Sacrifice, filed with thrills, chills and Bill's molotov cocktail attack on a trio of Tanks. Let's hope it never comes to that as we follow the original quartet of Survivors on their journey down south.
The Sacrifice makes its way to the Xbox 360, PC and Mac on Tuesday, October 5. Xbox 360 owners will be charged 560 Microsoft Points, while PC and Mac players will get the add-on content free of charge.
Valve has no qualms about broadcasting its love for other games, especially when it comes to the Dead Rising series. Frank West got a cameo of sorts in Left 4 Dead's The Passing downloadable content, after all, so it makes sense that the second helping from Capcom would score a little love as well.
Not only does Valve offer up this love letter, cleverly hidden behind an exclamation point, they also give Chuck himself a shout-out in the pages of the comic, seen below.
If two game companies can't whether the zombie apocalypse together, then what hope does the rest of humanity have? Perhaps one day we'll all gather 'round the television to play a rousing game of Left 4 Dead Rising.
The Sacrifice Comic Part 3 [Left 4 Dead Blog - Thanks Ego!]