Starcraft II Hands-On: Left 2 Die

In space, no one can hear you swear in Blizzard’s challenging Starcraft II mod.

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty

Of the four mods for Starcraft II on display at BlizzCon 2010, Left 2 Die is arguably the toughest. The mod drops you into a variation of the Outbreak campaign mission in Starcraft II where you had to deal with colonists infected with a zvirus that turns them into unfriendly monsters intent on murdering you. The mode supports two-player cooperative play for you and a friend to team up and fend off wave after wave of infected creatures and zerg. However, like the Outbreak campaign mission, Left 2 Die is going to make you work overtime for victory. We tried a demo of the upcoming mod on the BlizzCon show floor that had us fighting for our life.

The mod features more of a story component than the other mods we saw, with a short cinematic featuring Jimmy Raynor that set up the action. In terms of structure, the gameplay is very similar to Outbreak’s in that you’ll have to take two very distinct approaches to the challenge at hand. The level will shift between day and night cycles, each of which require a different style of play. The daytime sequence is, first and foremost, preparing for the attacks that come at night. However, you’ll also have to spend some time and resources on exploring the map and wiping out the infected settlements that spawn evil forces. It’s a tricky balancing act, but you’ll be able to unlock and purchase technology and upgrades that will help, although you won’t have much room for error. Cooperative play helps, but anyone you tap to lend a hand during the mode needs to be good because things will end badly otherwise.

Left 2 Die will definitely keep you busy with its level of challenge. The mod has an unrelenting pace that will force you and a friend to be at the top of your game, which is pretty cool, albeit in a masochistic way. That said, it might work as a nice drill to help you hone your skills, as well as anyone you’re considering as a potential teammate for competitive play. While the level of challenge might be a kick in the pants for some, Left 2 Die is worth a look when it becomes available on Battlenet, free of charge, in the months to come.

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