Cold Stream is the third DLC pack for Left 4 Dead 2, which was released in October 2009. It was announced two years later in February of 2011. It was released for the PC a year later in March 2012. The Xbox version was set to be released on the Xbox 360 on July 24th. The 24th came, but the DLC didn't. A few days later Valve announced Cold Stream would be released on August 3, 2012. If that seems like a lot of time for one pack of DLC to you, I’d say you’re right.
The Cold Stream content pack has one new map “Cold Stream” and four new maps from Left 4 Dead: Death Toll, Dead Air, Blood Harvest, and Crash Course. No Mercy had been previously released in the DLC pack called “The Sacrifice.”
Let’s not let Cold Stream’s questionable past prevent us from enjoying the new map. Cold Stream is a community-made campaign. Despite having the same characters as Left 4 Dead 2, and many of the same assets, Cold Stream is not considered canon with L4D and L4D2.
The map starts out in Alpine Creek. It’s light out, maybe early morning, lightly snowing. The snow fall is the coldest part of Cold Stream. The entire level takes place during a relatively nice day, you know, except for the zombies.
The first chapter has only one path to follow, the creek. Zombies are waiting for you, littered throughout the pine trees all along the creek. The map appears to take place in a different state than the other Left 4 Dead 2 maps. All you can do is follow the creek to the next checkpoint, South Pine Stream.
The next chapter has a tank that spawned in the same place each time I played it. Knowing exactly when a special was going to appear took away the suspense. After I ran through the map three or four times, I noticed all of the special seemed to show up at exactly the same spot. Maybe I'm misremembering the past, but previous playthroughs were more intense because I felt that zombie AI was reacting to me, not pre-programed.
Each checkpoint seems to top the next with the sheer amount of zombies, specials included. From the moment you exit the safe house, from the steps leading up to entering the new safe room, you’ll be bombarded with zombies. Every chapter closed with a mad-dash run to the end. There are very few moments of peace in this map. The hectic, fast paced distribution of enemies in this level was a welcomed addition. And it's worth noting, to balance the horde, weapons aren't rare. Kitanas, grande launchers and M60s even the playing field.
There’s a large body of water in front of the final safe house in Cut-throat Creek. The water looks like the stream you’ve been wandering up, however this water is lethal. I was looking around for a possible medpack when I fell in. Falling a few feet into the water was an instant death, and since you’re running through a stream and a forest, there aren’t any closets to respawn. Not being able to assist my team for most of the final assault was a bummer. This was the only major design flaw I noticed.
Cold Stream will set Xbox 360 gamers back 560 MS points. If you’re playing on the PC, it’s not going to cost you a dime. If you’re a L4D2 fan, you’re going to welcome the extra map, and a few more Left 4 Dead maps. While Cold Stream isn’t perfect, it is fun. If you enjoy killing zombies, check out the Cold Stream DLC.
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