The Passing: A title ripe for parody.
I appreciate I should have incorporated a hilarious pun into the title. Something about "not passing up on the passing!!". A brilliant opportunity missed, I fear... Oh well.
The Passing is a three chapter DLC campaign for Left 4 Dead 2.
And it's one last chance for you to fapp over Zoey.
The campaign is set amidst a tropical storm and looks fantastic with all the bright neon signs cluttered around, but don't expect anything revolutionary on the visual front. The general layout is fairly typical of the franchise, with one or two interesting bottlenecks to navigate but mostly just zombie-saturated buildings and streets.
As the game is free on the PC it's pretty clear that this chunk of Left 4 Dead 2 has been designed as fan service. You will frequently find crates of items scattered around, full of more Pills or Molotovs than you could ever hope to use. It's a chance for players to experiment with all the cool weapons that are otherwise fairly difficult to find. The golf club and M60 are both new are both are worth hanging on to. The M60 has 200 rounds and can't be reloaded but will tear the shit out of anything in it's path.
The new special infected include "Fallen Survivors" who run away from you when you spot them, which freaked me out a little the first time. They are tough to kill but drop health kits and weapons when you do so it's worth hunting them down - the idea being that player's rush after them to collect their items, exposing them to attack from Special Infected. The other is the Witch Bride who seems to show up in basically the same place each play-through (part of the first chapter is staged at a wedding) and, as far as I can tell, acts pretty fucking identical to a normal witch. So... you know the drill.
There's also a healthy amount of Valve humour on display and it can be seen reflected in the graffiti. Someone, somewhere has been brushing up on their zombie culture.
The Passing is also a chance to spend a truly fucking minimal amount of time with the original survivors.Nick and Ellis will spend more time chatting about Zoey than Zoey will spend chatting herself, and when you reach the finale you are greeted with a disappointingly small amount of banter. The original (NPC) survivors then operate as sentry turrets for the finale, unreachable and completely robotic. They will shout the occasional "Nice shot!" at you, but the sound-bytes may as well have been ripped straight from the original. To further frustrate, all the original survivors are invisible when you play VS mode. As someone who loves the Left 4 Dead games I finished the campaign pretty disappointed. The one real drama moment is that there are only 3 survivors left when you reach them. I'm not going to tell you what happened to Bill purely because if I do then you will have fuck all reason to finish the campaign for yourself.
There are one or two nice atmospheric moments in The Passing. I remember crawling down a sewage tunnel and seeing a mass of silhouettes rushing at me from the distance. Each zombie corpse would then float down towards me after their heads had invariably been destroyed. Wading through a river of dead zombies looks so fucking badass.
As with the rest of the game, the content is designed to be played with others onlineand it would be in your best interest to do so as the finale requests a scavenger hunt for a large amount of fuel can's and your idiotic AI companions stubbornly refuse to help you carry them.
The last real content inclusion is "Mutations" which are weekly remixes of standard game types. The opening mutation, for example, was Realism Rules on VS mode. Previously only compatible with online campaigns, Realism removes the glowing outline on your fellow survivors. The infected can still spot you though, and trying to counter a team of Player Controlled Infected whilst keeping track of your entire team is extremely hard. Also very entertaining. As such Mutations are to be considered a worthwhile inclusion.
I shall end this review by committing to the notion that The Passing is worth playing through and experiencing. It continues the charm of the franchise and throws in some interesting set pieces to mix things up. I shall also say that it's just as well this content is free on PC because I don't know if it's good enough to warrant actual purchase. For those playing on 360 I would only recommend this DLC if you are still consistently playing Left 4 Dead 2 online. If this is indeed the case then you should have bought this DLC already.
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