L4D Survival Pack First Impressions

Yesterday, Valve released their free update to "Left 4 Dead," dubbed the "Survival Pack." Included in the update are 2 multiplayer maps (that were formerly just single player maps), general bug fixes and "Survival Mode," a take on the "Horde Mode" concept from Gears of War 2 wherein you and some friends take on a barrage of zombies and aim to survive as long as possible.

Survival mode has its own set of maps that are basically different areas for existing maps, but believe me when I tell you that you won't even notice the difference once the shit hits the fan, so to speak. Last night I was able to take a quick spin through the new mode and have some basic thoughts, but before I do that, I think that this hands-on video from Giant Bomb tells the story pretty well:

Granted, it's far too early to develop concrete strategies yet, but playing with some friends who are pretty skilled last night got me to about the 3:00 mark at best. Survival mode is OBSCENELY DIFFICULT. Although the graph I posted last week made it seem like you wouldn't see that many tanks until the 15 minute mark, I could have sworn that at one point last night I saw two at once, and for those of you that have played the game, that's terrifying.

I will say though, that despite the difficulty it is pretty fun to try to best your own personal time even if that means you get torn apart one second later on the fourth run than you did on the third. There's also something to be said about the rush you get from the oncoming insanity. The mob scene looks very impressive in action, but you only have about 3 seconds to take it in before you start getting assaulted.

If you have a very dedicated group of friends, I can see Survival mode evolving into a venue for fun personal challenge. For casual players though, I think the two new multiplayer maps will work just fine. Although I haven't played through the new versus maps yet, I can safely say that this new DLC has breathed some new life into a game that I had been away from for a while, and I hope that we'll continue to see some new content added every few months or so.

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