Left 4 Dead 2 is undeniably a multiplayer-game, designed to emphasize teamwork and excel when you bring buddies who can watch your back. Hell, it even won the “Better With Friends” award in the inaugural Steam Awards. But as I’ve noted in a few earlier articles, my preferred way to play is completely solo. Not even with ally bots; I like to fight the endless zombie hordes completely on my lonesome. And when I’m not soloing myself, I like to watch the pros who have turned it into an art form.
My main contribution to the solo-L4D2 community is “Solo No Bots“, a mod I released in 2015 that bypasses the auto-fail in the Sacrifice finale, letting Titsonabullsteam become the first player to beat the campaign solo. For years the mod was locked to Realism only, and I lost the source code so that wasn’t ever supposed to change. But then, about a month ago, a player named SgtMurder added me on Discord and offered to update the mod so it came with non-Realism support as well. And then (even more surprisingly) he actually did! So while it’s on my mind, I thought I’d discuss some great mutations for experiencing L4D2 solo. Hopefully these help show why some of us really like this unusual playstyle:
1. Last Man on Earth
Far and away the most famous solo mutation, ‘Last Man on Earth’ removes all zombies except the specials and gives you one free incap before you need to heal up. Most of us started our solo careers through trying out ‘Last Man on Earth’, and I highly recommend you do the same. It’s got a very different feeling to a standard L4D2 game, more akin to a slow, creeping horror game like Silent Hill. The fact that your survivor continues calling out for allies they’ll never find is a great touch. ‘Last Man on Earth’ comes bundled within Valve’s default mutations and requires no mods.
2. Last Man With Hordes
If ‘Last Man on Earth’ is fun but you’re looking for more of a challenge, this mod was built for you in mind. As the name suggests, this one adds the regular zombies back and feels exactly like standard L4D2. In lieu of teammates, you get the standard 2 incaps when a special pins you, and I find it a great skill-sharpener for polishing my gameplay. (Full disclosure: I’m the developer for this one as well.)
3. Flu Season
Tired of getting pinned? Flu Season bans all specials except Spitters and Boomers, and common infected only appear when you let yourself get boomer’d. If it sounds easy, rest assured the spawn rates for specials are drastically increased. Plus you still have finale Tanks and bride Witches to worry about. Flu Season is a frantic, fast-paced experience that encouraged a run-and-gun playstyle, and I find it really fun solo. Like ‘Last Man on Earth’, it comes bundled mod-free with the base game. Just make sure to choose ‘singleplayer’ and kick the friendly bots via console.
4. Lone Survivor
‘Lone Survivor‘ takes the opposite idea to ‘Last Man on Earth’; instead of removing commons and starring specials, what if we did the opposite? All the commons you’d expect to see without the murder lieutenants that are the biggest hazards in solo play! This one is a blast, even if it’s probably the easiest mod on this list. If you worry about your ability to survive solo play, start with this one.
If you think the idea of solo L4D2 is crazy, I encourage you to give these mutations a try. Each one is a unique experience that really changes how the core L4D2 gameplay works. Hope you have fun!