The original beloved Survivors from Valve's zombie-packed shooter, Left 4 Dead, return for another dramatic, bloody and brief adventure in "The Sacrifice," the add-on that's playable in both Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2.
The expansion adds three new chapters, events set immediately before "The Passing," to the original Left 4 Dead. It adds the same content to Left 4 Dead 2, but lets players enjoy the added features of the sequel, which include new guns and melee weapons, new Special Infected zombies and gameplay modes not available in the original. The add-on also brings the popular "No Mercy" episode to Left 4 Dead 2, making "The Sacrifice" a better deal for owners of the second Left 4 Dead game.
Ideal Player The Left 4 Dead fan who doesn't really care for Ellis, despises Rochelle or ever grumbled that Francis, Louis, Zoey and Bill really should have been in the game's sequel. Anyone with Steam installed on their computer.
Why You Should Care The four original Survivors of the zombie apocalypse are now playable in Left 4 Dead 2, more firmly bridging the stories of the original game and its sequel. The climactic "No Mercy" campaign is also now playable in Left 4 Dead 2, which feels drastically different when infested with the zombie mutants introduced in the sequel.
How are the new maps? They're great, with some tight corridors for more claustrophobic moments, new scenery and wide-open spaces that the original Survivors didn't see too often. They also get to see a little sunlight on their trip south, with The Sacrifice taking place during dusk. The new chapters are stuffed with uncommon common infected—mostly CEDA agents in rubbery biohazard suits—and feature a few new tricks.
New tricks? Like what? Nothing major, but at one point you'll have to let a Tank out of his cage (a train car). The finale, which takes place on a modified version of the finale map from The Passing, introduces the Sacrificial event, in which one player is forced to die for the group. There's nothing wildly different or game-changing about this expansion, unless you consider exploding barrels truly exciting.
How's "No Mercy"? Just as great as it ever was. Valve has made a few tweaks to accommodate the new Special Infected, which make playing through No Mercy, well, a little nuts sometimes. It's cool to see the "uncommon common" infected who wear ear protection in the construction zones in Mercy Hospital. It's also great fun to use the Spitter against campers on this level. It really gives players a great sense of how radically Left 4 Dead 2's new additions affect gameplay.
What's the downside? There are no new weapons, one map is essentially recycled from The Passing and you can't play as Zoey (or Bill or Francis or Louis) in any of Left 4 Dead 2's campaigns. But you can play with Zoey while she wields a chainsaw.
Buy It If you have a copy of Left 4 Dead 2 on the Xbox 360. And if you've waited this long to invest in either Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 for the PC or are just getting it now for your Mac, don't hesitate. Buy it now. You'll get all the currently available DLC for free.
Don't Buy It If you only have a copy of Left 4 Dead on the Xbox 360. The content in The Sacrifice is awfully thin for that game.
The Bottom Line The Sacrifice advances Left 4 Dead's story more so than its gameplay, which fans will likely appreciate alongside Valve's digital comic of the same name. This brief, three chapter campaign is a no-brainer download for anyone who already owns the PC or Mac versions of Left 4 Dead 2 (or Left 4 Dead). As for Xbox 360 owners, grab the download if you own L4D2. But if you only own the original game, you really should join us Left 4 Dead 2 players. We've got Francis now and he still hates everything.
The Sacrifice for Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 was developed by Turtle Rock and Valve and released on PC, Mac and Xbox 360 on October 5. Retails for 560 Microsoft Points on Xbox 360, but is a free download for PC/Mac users. A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes. Played through The Sacrifice (Left 4 Dead 2 version) on Mac and tested the game's single-player and Versus mode (Left 4 Dead version) on Xbox 360.