Videogame review: The Passing

Post by Alex Lamoureux in

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Alex is back with another review, and he's brought his friends

The announcement of a sequel to Left 4 Dead caused fans of this zombie game to complain bitterly. Left 4 Dead 2, as predicted, does not feature the charming characters from Left 4 Dead. The Passing is an expansion to Left 4 Dead 2 that introduces 3 of the original 4 survivors to the new survivors. While both groups are equally skilled at killing zombies, The Passing is a perfect choice for Left 4 Dead fans that prefer the original survivors.

The Passing begins with a conversation between random characters from each game. Each conversation is unique, and this scene can play out in a dozen ways. Unfortunately, this is the most interaction that takes place between the two groups. The survivors of the original Left 4 Dead stay to defend a bridge, while Ellis, Rochelle, Coach, and Nick must make their way through a zombie-infested town. At the end of the campaign, the Survivors are reunited, but there is little further conversation.

The new levels are very well designed, including some of the best elements of other areas from Left 4 Dead 2. Brutal weather and massive zombie attacks make the new levels fun to play in Campaign mode, Versus mode, or any of the new game modes. The first level includes a Witch in a wedding dress. A Witch’s deadly attacks can be provoked by loud noises, and turning on the nearby jukebox may not be a good idea. The second level involves a trip through the sewers, accompanied by hilarious dialogue. The third and last level of The Passing features the original survivors, defending Left 4 Dead 2’s team and handing out new weapons.

The new weapons, unfortunately, are not a great addition to the game. The Passing includes an M60 machine gun and golf club as weapons. They both feel bland and generic, like old weapons with new appearances. The driver is another generic club, and with baseball bats and cricket paddles already present in Left 4 Dead 2, killing a zombie with sports equipment no longer seems exciting. If you expected intriguing new weapons, The Passing simply does not deliver.

The best addition to The Passing was a pleasant surprise. The new game mode “Mutation” can introduce a fundamental change to gameplay, by combining, adding, or removing various features. Fighting zombies on every step from Point A to Point B can now occur in dozens of ways. To anyone who’s tired of Left 4 Dead 2’s 5 game modes, The Passing adds unlimited possibilities. A different mutation is introduced every week, and could make the game much easier or much harder for Survivors.

If you dislike Left 4 Dead 2’s characters or gameplay, The Passing won’t change your opinion. On the other hand, fans of the game will find that it adds new developments and a great deal of much-needed variety. The Passing is free for PC users and costs 560 MSP ($8) on Xbox 360.

Rating: 8/10

The Good:

  • Well-designed new levels
  • Clever new dialogue
  • Excellent “Mutation” game mode
  • Low price

The Bad:

  • Annoying background music
  • Bland new weapons
  • Little interaction between characters

- CityFun post by Alex Lamoureux

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