Think a collaboration with both groups of survivors from both L4D games would HAVE to be great? Think again. A letdown

User Rating: 4 | Left 4 Dead 2: The Passing X360
Before I write this review, I should mention that I'm a huge fan of Left 4 Dead 1 and 2, and that I have played both avidly since their release. When I heard that both groups of survivors were going to meet up in a new chapter explaining what exactly happened to the first groups, the possibilities seemed endless for me. An 8 vs. 8 game mode perhaps? Both teams fighting side by side throughout the chapter? Any dramatic deaths from the original team? The potential was pretty much unlimited for this release. Which is sad, because Valve pretty much squandered all of it with this meager, weak, and incredibly barebones release.

How could they have went so wrong with this DLC you may ask? It's got new chapters, mutations, more maps to play on, more achievements, and most importantly, the old survivors are back! I know, it shocked me how weak this DLC was too, but yes, pretty much everything went wrong here. First of all, the DLC is aptly named, as all you really do is pass by the first group of survivors without any real explanation. In summary, the level starts, and you see one of the old survivors on top of a bridge (it was Zoe on my playthrough). She informs you that one of their team was killed, and that they can help you cross the bridge in your car if you can get to the generator and start it up. And they help you shoot zombies from atop an inaccessable house. That's it. No story, no involvement, no real teamwork. They're literally just there while you pass by them. I'd spoil who gets killed in this DLC, but it doesn't really matter, as the death is told to you in the most undramatic way possible (i.e. You're informed that one of them is dead, and you see who it is when only 3 of the 4 members show up in the finale. Lame). After promising at least a resemblence of a story for what happened to the old team, Valve apparently just decided that having the team there was enough to constitute a story. It's just incredibly lazy, and given that the chunk of the DLC comes from this, it's already quite a letdown to begin with.

But what of the levels themselves? They're serviceable, but hardly new territory. In fact, alot of these stages seem awfully familiar to sections of The Parish in the original campaigns (note the Hedge maze). So why buy this DLC when you can go play the Parish? .....I really can't think of a reason why.

But what about the new mutation modes they added in? This is the one area that the DLC brings some sort of success in giving you Halo 3 style weekly updating gametypes to add more variety to the gameplay. The first one, Realism Versus, was a harder take on the old formula, but it is quite enjoyable. If Valve does this section right, it could potentially make up for the rest of the shortcomings of this package, but it's hard to tell at the moment. It doesn't feel right that you have to pay for this though when Halo offers this idea for free, and that puts a glaring mark at just how little else there is in this DLC.

From what I do know however, this DLC is just far too meager in its offerings to justify a purchase. Recycled levels, a cheap cameo, and only 3 new stages seem like nothing more then a cheap attempt by Valve to grab some cash off 360 owners hoping for an epic, entertaining collaberation. The potential was there, but the execution is far too flawed to justify a purchase, which makes me thank God more and more that a friend bought it first and I was able to play it there instead of paying for it myself. It pains me to not be able to recommend this package, but there's almost no redeeming value here, please don't waste your money on this, I'm not even sure if I wouldn even get this for free if it weren't for the Mutations. Please just save your money, or go buy Crash Course this week, I hear it's only 320 points for a limited time. That's 240 less than this download, and its two areas are far better done than anything you'll find here.

The Good:
+The same great Left 4 Dead gameplay still can be fun
+Mutations add variety

The Bad:
-Everything else... recycled areas, cheap cameos, too short, too little value
-Just feels like nothing more than a cash grab on gullible 360 owners.
-Mutations feel like it should've been included in a free update

The Verdict:

Please don't pay for this... pleaseeeeeeee.