Where my enthusiasm is strong for Liars & Cheats, though, it falters for The Sacrifice, the latest add-on campaign for both Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. Instead of bringing anything truly new to the experience, The Sacrifice makes a lame attempt to embellish more story via the age-old shock tactic of killing a main character.
Don't get me wrong: this is Left 4 Dead gunplay at its finest, and I'm not going to lie and say that it wasn't fun. What it boils down to, though, is that some players - Xbox 360 players, that is - are going to be pigeon-holed into shelling out $7 USD for what ends up being about 45 minutes of new campaign material. As much as I've enjoyed blowing heads off of the infected, I still can't bring myself to pay very much for more than what I've already played. In fact, at some point in the last six months I'd gotten rid of my Xbox 360 version - I just didn't feel the need to play through it anymore, and I'm really no good at the versus mode.
A very timely sale encouraged me to re-purchase Left 4 Dead and its sequel as a combo pack, but this time on PC. Each game cost me $6.80 from Steam - less than downloading The Sacrifice from the Xbox Live Marketplace. Furthermore, The Sacrifice and all of the preceding DLC to date has been released for free for the PC versions. This is something that Mike and Nick had championed in earlier Co-Opticasts, and it benefited me here in a big way.
Without having offered up my hard-earned dollars to the hoard, I was able to have a good time playing through a new segment and relishing the feelings of nostalgia that the music, the graphics, and the general atomsphere brought with them. Unfortunately the nostalgia wears off after a while, and once I realized that there were no new weapons...no new music...no new infected...I found myself thinking, "I'm glad I didn't pay for this."
I actually reached the end of The Sacrifice in 45 minutes on solo (Nick, who was playing the Left 4 Dead 2 version on PC, reached the end in 30 minutes). I did not get to complete it that time, because I had chosen to play as Francis - the AI Bill was too dumb to go flip the last switch to end the level, and anyone not playing as Bill isn't provided with an objective inidicator. I was left high and dry, wondering what to do and why the hoard would not stop coming. It made me feel like my entire effort was rendered moot because I hadn't watched a YouTube walkthrough first.
For anyone playing the PC version of either Left 4 Dead or Left 4 Dead 2, The Sacrifice is Valve's way of continuing to pump what you already love into your veins without any cost to you. (It's no wonder they have the most stubborn and loyal PC fanboys.) The rest of you are getting a raw deal. Seven dollars is halfway to many incredible and original Xbox Live Arcade games; even closer is it to the cost of other, more worthwhile DLC. You'd be better off waiting for a re-release edition that packages all of the DLC in together.
That's all for this month! Feel free to disagree or discuss what you've read here. Yes, Francis - even you. ("Aaww, I hate negative blog coverage!")