Left 4 Dead Survival Pack - hands-on

Versus Mode
The Survival Pack will also open up Dead Air and Death Toll to versus play. We had a go at the Dead Air campaign, and it was a blast. Dead Air’s combination of tense corridors and wide open areas made for brilliant versus play. The baggage area was particularly brutal on the survivors, and a nice touch was that a smoker could grab a survivor and pull him through the airport’s metal detectors, thereby setting off an alarm that brought the horde.

Above: These survivors are sooo screwed!

Like the other versus maps, tweaks have been made to allow for more competitive play – survivor camping spots have been removed and new infected spawn areas have been added. In Death Toll, the woods around the town have been thickened to make them a darker, scarier, and ultimately deadlier place for survivors. By analyzing hours upon hours of play test data, Valve is balancing both scenarios to perfection.

Above: A perfectly laid trap

Additional Updates
A patch with a few minor matchmaking fixes will deploy shortly before the Survival Pack becomes available to download, some time this month or next. At an unspecified point thereafter, Valve will launch “matchmaking 2.0.” This will have more impact on Steam than 360, since Valve maintains the PC servers in-house and has mountains of data on rage quits to cull through. Chet was vague when pressed for details about the new matchmaking system, saying only that if you look at the game’s forums you can get a pretty good idea of what needs to be done. “We still play our games, and we want to keep them updated,” he stated. In case you hadn’t noticed, Valve is a shop that takes deep pride in the workmanship of its products.

Above: When in doubt, set everything on fire

Xbox 360 players will be disappointed to hear that there will be no Achievements in the Survival Pack. Microsoft’s official policy is that new Achievements can only be included with paid DLC. As Chet sardonically described it, “Otherwise, the economy of Achievements would become broken.” While Survival Pack Achievements would definitely be cool, Valve took the highly defensible position that it’s more important for the content to be free. Yes, we thanked them for you.

Mar 5, 2009