Monday, June 23, 2014

Left 4 Dead 2 Mod: Day Break (PC)

Earlier in the year, I began looking through the available campaign mods for Left 4 Dead 2 on Steam and after finding out and playing the awesomeness that was the "Journey to Splash Mountain" mod by Dives and SM Sith Lord, I was excited to find "Day Break" by DannBo.

Now, before I start ripping DannBo a new one, let me first make this clear.  What DannBo has done with various areas of the city of San Francisco is pretty amazing and seeing as how creating the two part, five chapter mod took him five years, I am not one about to bash the ever living snot out of Mr. DannBo.

You know, instead of critiquing everything about the game, let me just go through parts of the stages and bring up things that I happened to find note worthy.

This first stage takes place somewhere in downtown San Francisco.  My biggest critique of this first stage is that until you reach the Palace of Fine Arts, I did not feel that I was in San Francisco.  The city design felt that it could have been any generic city that I had already played in any of the L4D campaigns.  Now, this is not to say that the level design was bad or broken, just that I did not get the feeling that I was in San Francisco.  I should also say that I have been to San Francisco a great many times so I am not basing my experience from The Rock or The Princess Diaries.

During my first playthrough, I was mobbed during my approach to the Safe Room which I found greatly annoying.  Yes, I would expect there to be a tank, but we (myself and three bots) were attacked by one tank leading up to the Safe Room then another tank spawned a short distance from the Safe Room door.  Yeah, we did not make it.  The second time though we did not run into any tanks.  I am not sure what happened, but I was thoroughly happy that we all made it to the room.

The next couple of levels I really enjoyed.  Without going into too much detail, they included an approach along the Crissy Field towards the Golden Gate Bridge.  Seeing the bridge was a pretty epic site followed by a feeling of dread as I knew that we were going to have to cross the bitch.

The Golden Gate Bridge sequence, I found to be one of the most terrifying sequences in this mod and not because we were being swarmed by hordes of infected (although that was equally terrifying), but because of having to cross on I-beams 245 feet above the San Francisco Bay.

The last highlight in the Day Break mod was being able to "visit" Alcatraz Island.  How the players get to Alcatraz is pseudo-well explained so I will take no additional time on that front.  Ultimately, I was a little disappointed with the Alcatraz portion of the mod.  It consisted of the end of stage four and the final grab all the gas cans stage five.  In the end, I think I would have liked to have played most of a campaign on Alcatraz and not just running through a portion of the outside grounds and a cell block or two.

Day Break ended up taking me an hour and thirty one minutes to complete and I only died one time (incapacitated three times).  I can say that while I did have a lot of fun with what DannBo created here, I felt that the campaigned was bookended by stages that I was less enthused by when compared to the rest of the campaign.  Is Day Break worth playing?  Definitely and I would love to see more real world settings from the community.

Disinterested in the Writhe of the Lone Survivor

P.S.  I would like to share a couple of pictures that could be seen as spoilers when in or out of context, but I liked their concepts so much, hence the showing of them here.

I do not know why I had never seen this before in any of Valve's campaign levels.  Seeing the Safe Room arrows is always a relief, but when I came upon this no-longer-safe room, my stomach dropped, mainly because as you can see I was running desperately low on ammunition although I was far from being close to death.  Just not a scene you want to come across.

Just your average swimming pool filled with corpses.  It will probably need more than chlorine.

The depths of the Alcatraz Island cell blocks, now with improved roof access.

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