The Passing Campaign (Left 4 Dead 2)

by Logan

April 22, 2010

Almost six months after Left 4 Dead 2's original release, Valve finally injects some fresh new content in form of "The Passing." This new campaign is complete with some new bells and whistles and finally delivers on the promise of the casts of both games crossing paths. While the experience itself certainly does little to reinvent the formula, it's certainly a welcome addition to the already awesome experience.

Set in between Dead Center and Dark Carnival, The Passing sees our current cast bumping elbows with three of the original Left 4 Dead survivors. They only surface in the beginning and end of the campaign and the interactions are rather minimal, but in L4D fashion, the dialogue is varied and usually pretty sharp. New interactions among the L4D2 survivors are present too and it's just as entertaining to listen to as the other campaign's.

The real meat in The Passing stems from the new campaign itself and the brand-new Mutations mode. The Passing maps themselves feel a lot more like the first game and have that pleasant Crash Course feel. The campaign only consists of three chapters, making them conducive for quick rounds of versus. It attempts to keep things fresh with some new uncommon infected, a new machine gun, and a new melee weapon. The "Fallen Survivor" infected will attempt to run around and separate you from the group, but also drops a lot of goodies like health packs and pipe bombs. The M60 machine gun has a limited ammo belt, but devastates everything in its path. Overall, none of these little additions are any kind of selling point, but they are still welcome nonetheless.

The biggest change that The Passing brings is the constantly changing Mutations mode. This features a different permutation of game rules every week. For example, this first week features realism versus, which brings all of the realism rules into the games versus mode. With 20 mutations already planned, this mode is a great addition that will keep the already constantly changing game even more varied.

On a related note, Valve also released a title update for L4D2 today. It doesn't require The Passing, but introduces a lot of fan-requested changes. Bots now accompany infected teams that are without four human players in versus and you are now enabled to select your spawn point in all versus finales. Once again, these are small changes, but welcome ones.

So overall, if you're still playing L4D2 or are just looking for something to bring you back into the community, definitely give The Passing a try. There's certainly nothing that changes the core dynamic of the game, but there's a lot of fun to be had with the content that's there.