Microsoft is currently holding its X10 preview event right around the corner from GameSpot's San Francisco office, and while most of the games on hand are of the Microsoft-published variety, a number of other Xbox 360 and PC titles are on hand as well. One of the other companies demoing its wares is Valve, who brought its new downloadable content for Left 4 Dead 2. The DLC comes with a new campaign called The Passing, and we had the chance to play through one of the chapters from this campaign.
In terms of chronology, The Passing fits in right between the Dead Center and Dark Carnival. In other words, it's set in those moments after the survivors make off with a racecar from the shopping mall and before it gets stuck in traffic on a crowded, slightly zombie-infested freeway. The big selling point in this DLC is that you'll run into the survivors from the original Left 4 Dead. You run into them at the beginning, then once again at the very end when they actually jump into combat with you and help out with the big last stand.
Two new weapons have been introduced to the game in The Passing. One is the M60 machine gun, which is far more powerful than even the M16 or desert rifle. How powerful is this thing? Well, fire up your old friend Google and most of the pictures you'll find are soldiers lying prone with the bipod legs out to minimize recoil. Yep, it packs quite a punch. Now imagine that sort of firepower directed at a wave of the infected, or directly at a Tank's face, and you've got a good idea of this new special weapon. Also in The Passing is a new golf club melee weapon, but unfortunately, that one wasn't in the build we got to play.
The other new gameplay feature is an uncommon common called the Fallen Survivor. As you'll recall, the uncommon common are those zombies who were slightly more powerful or annoying than ordinary zombies--ones like the guy wearing a heavily armored SWAT team suit or an infected clown whose squeaky shoes would attract a horde if you didn't kill him off quickly. The Fallen Survivor is essentially what you or your teammates would turn into if they weren't magically immune to the infection. Basically, it's a zombie equipped with all the gear you're capable of carrying. Guns, med kits, bile venom--you name it, it's on the zombie. They're not a huge threat because they'll usually take off running (in typical survival fashion), but if you can track them down and put them out of their misery, you might find some very useful supplies.
One of the greatest features in both Left 4 Dead games was the survivor dialogue. Whether it was the biker Francis rattling off a list of the things he hates, Louis telling Bill that struggling up the stairs is a good workout, or Ellis recounting stories of his buddy Keith trying to deep fry a turkey, there's always been a wealth of hilarious dialogue in the game. Fortunately, we'll be hearing a lot of new material in The Passing, including Francis' new pet peeves and maybe even a few things that he likes.
We're looking forward to finding out more about The Passing and how it will work with the title update that Valve has in the works. We hear there's also going to be new DLC released for the original Left 4 Dead that has you playing as the original survivors during the lead-up to The Passing, so that should be pretty interesting as well. You can expect this DLC to arrive in late March. The price has yet to be officially announced.