Well, it's finally out. The next DLC for both Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. Anyone who knows me knows I love these two games, maybe the former a bit more. Liking Left 4 Dead more made me skeptical of how good this DLC would be, or if they could stretch it out through both games. Was paying for both games separately too much? As this is a review, be warned that it is likely to have spoilers.
Let me just start by saying that this was a step in the right direction. I loved the DLC. The atmosphere is really great, and it's a change from the other maps. Some things are really unique, and I'm not just talking about the finale. With that said, there are quite a few things I didn't like as well.
It seems like most of the maps were designed for Left 4 Dead 2, rather than the first game. Which, doesn't make any sense, since I believe this should be exclusive to Left 4 Dead. The maps were more open than those in Left 4 Dead, and smoker spots were hard to come by in some areas. There were, however, hunter spots a plenty. I suppose that's the sacrifice (pun) you make when you make the same map for two different games. Give a little, take a little.
That's exactly what it was. The SAME map. You basically just paid for the same thing twice if you got it for both games. There are no differences in the map, at all. Not only that, but the finale is just the finale from The Passing. It may have a few less areas, and you start somewhere else, but it's the same map. This means that Valve designed TWO new maps. The campaign is just 3 maps long. Valve just can't make an entire campaign anymore, they slowly degraded from 5, to 4, to 3, and now just 2 [new] maps?
Map 1 has a guaranteed tank spawn, which is nice. There is also a nice subtle difference that I'll make you figure out in the tank's skin. I thought this was a nice touch, and really enjoyed this very simple thing that Valve added in to make the map feel more unique.
The maps themselves are actually designed quite well. They're fairly lengthy, which makes them better suited for the Left 4 Dead 2 scoring system... Another way Left 4 Dead got shafted. However, they also have this... Feel to them. You can tell it's something new, and that Valve did try to design them well, which is good.
One major problem, is that the achievements seem to be broken... Anyone who played Crash Course knows that you would have trouble getting some achievements, or at least some people did. This problem is back, and from what I can tell it's on both games. Also note that I have heard it resets any counters. There is a way to get achievements that are broken, that is to play on a local server.
There's also the fact that the achievements are the same in both games. Valve didn't try to make the maps or campaign different in any way on both games. Aside from the fact that in L4D2, you get all it's new toys. I was hoping there would be differences, maybe some things the survivors said in L4D1 that they didn't in L4D2.
It is pretty intense to do on Expert if you get all 3 generators going at once on the finale. It's just something crazy you can do with some friends. Be warned, though, the generators are spread out, so you need to be on different sides of the map to start them all at the same time.
No Mercy in Left 4 Dead two doesn't feel right, I'll be honest. It's too cramped for the Left 4 Dead 2 special infected, and the finale is just so easy. Many people already thought the L4D1 version of No Mercy was too easy. The new weapons (The AK, for example.) are more powerful and makes it even easier.
They added some railing to the top of No Mercy 5, to avoid most charges and quick jockey hang offs. However, some people found a way around this and can still instant kill you with a charger when you get to the top. I just don't think the transition between games is very good.
Despite the many problems, it is actually a good DLC. I wouldn't recommend getting it for both games if you don't play it for both. However, if you play both like I do and enjoy the differences between them, then you shouldn't have a problem with paying for it twice.