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It’s important to mention when reviewing any Left 4 Dead DLC about what platform it’s on. Valve has been releasing free content for the Left 4 Dead series on PC ever since announcement, but everything that’s been free on the PC has been $7 on Xbox Live. That’s the same case here with the latest DLC for Left 4 Dead 2, The Sacrifice. It’s a piece of DLC for Left 4 Dead 2 that includes both a new 3-segment, 40 minute campaign called The Sacrifice, and including the Left 4 Dead campaign No Mercy in the package as well. That makes this one of the more fully featured DLCs, making it a great deal on the PC. However, if you’re intending to get this on the Xbox 360, it’s best to hold off on the DLC unless you are a hardcore Left 4 Dead fan.
There are no new weapons or features in The Sacrifice, but what it does have is some interesting compatibility between Left 4 Dead 1 and 2. It’s possible to play this DLC in Left 4 Dead or Left 4 Dead 2, but you’ll be playing as the original 4 (Louis, Bill, Francis, Zoey) no matter what game you play it on. The mechanics of each game do carry over to the new campaign, so if you’re playing the original, you won’t be getting any of the new weapons, including melee weapons. This is the same for enemies, as all of the new enemies do not make an appearance if you’re playing the original. If you’re playing Left 4 Dead 2 though, you’ll get all the weapons, enemies, and items you’ve come to expect, in both The Sacrifice and No Mercy. It doesn’t really matter what game you play it on, though the inclusion of the No Mercy level makes this DLC a bit of a gimme for Left 4 Dead 2.
The level design for The Sacrifice is good, but not great. The first section of the campaign feels like it’s moving in and out of office buildings and dark warehouses too often, with windows to jump out of, basements to explore, but no interesting fights. The second section of the campaign takes place in more interesting areas, with cranes, boats, miniature lakes, and a train yard to navigate. All of these put you in unfavorable situations, such as reduced movement speed, tank ambushes, and rushes to specific locations. The way the locations are tied together in this section is great too. Unfortunately, the final section is incredibly short, and pretty much reduces to the end of The Passing, if you remember that DLC. The final section of The Sacrifice does give you an interesting choice though, between who dies and who lives at the end. There’s achievement points involved here too, so it’s best to do multiple playthroughs. No Mercy is just the same as the original Left 4 Dead campaign, except for a few fixes to prevent speedrunners from getting too much of an advantage (yes, Valve removed the air conditioner jump exploit).
The graphics in Left 4 Dead 2 are as good as ever, with new lighting effects, and enemy animations. The original 4 survivors have been given a visual makeover as well. There’s also new dialogue between the survivors, which is pretty funny. The lack of a huge visual improvement shows just what The Sacrifice is though, and that’s more Left 4 Dead. This is acceptable, if you are getting this for free on the PC, but if the Xbox 360 version is your only option, it’s best to wait, unless you have money to burn. The review score I’m giving this relates to the PC version of the game, but I give this game a 6.5 on the Xbox 360.