I had high hopes for the Last Stand update, and by golly it met and exceeded all of them!
For those not in the loop, in early September we got our first teaser trailer for a brand new community-created update for Left 4 Dead 2. Since then, we recieved hints and tie-in trailers promising new weapons, new voicelines, new Survival maps, and all sorts of quality-of-life updates. And did it ever deliver on all fronts!
I ran through the new campaign, The Last Stand, with three of my college friends and it was a grueling run, definitely a step-up on the difficulty ladder compared to the rest of the game. The four of us usually play on Expert, but I’m super thankful I dialed it down to Advanced for our first run, as The Last Stand’s first map is far and away the longest map in the whole game. The mapmakers were keen to show off as many tricks as they could to enhance the players’ experience, like crashing planes, creative light sources, and a very difficult midsection revolving around rotating a container-toting crane to bypass a military checkpoint. The Lighthouse finale is at least twice as intesive as any previous official finale, requiring the players to survive a Horde, a tank, another Horde while collecting ten gascans to refill a generator, two tanks, and finally run the gauntlet down to the beaches for freedom. I’m still amazed we survived.
The new content is spectacular; almost every conceivable beta weapon has been restored and returned to the base game in full glory. Shovels, pitchforks, knives, and riot shields have joined our roster of melee weapons, and we also (finally!) have access to the CS:S weapons that used to be German/Australian exclusives! I never thought I’d see my favorite hip-scoping rifle finally make the jump to the core game. And the old weapons have almost entirely been remastered with new animations, phong-shading, and jigglebones. Everything looks so good!
There are also a ton of new achievements to get, my personal favorite is “Golden Freeman” which requires finding a golden crowbar hidden in every one of the new Survival maps. Probably my favorite cosmetic decision involved the common infected; they now look like they did in the original Left 4 Dead for all L4D1 campaigns, and I’m so happy with this decision. The old zombie models have a ton of character due to so many different models of people wearing civilian uniforms of every make and model, the procedurally-generated commons in L4D2 are nice in their own way but they didn’t fit the old campaigns. This community update also created brand new L4D-only models for the five Uncommon Infected so they’d look more correct with the new (old?) L4D1 artstyle.
All in all, I am 100% happy with this update and everything in it. It addressed issues with the game that I never thought would be addressed, created a ton of new replayability and helped give the L4D maps a bit of their old identity back. There are so many little changes that show the fandevs really care about this game, and wanted to give it everything the community’s wanted. I’m very excited to see what the devs come up with next, if there is anything else coming down the pipeline. But even if this was one last hurrah for Left 4 Dead 2, it’s a hell of a note to end on.