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The Sacrifice - Two DLC's in One
"Left 4 Dead - The Sacrifice" is the latest DLC to be released for Valve's popular zombie FPS. Unlike previous DLC releases, however, "The Sacrifice" was released for Left 4 Dead 2 as well as the original. Valve was committed to letting all of the fans of the Left 4 Dead franchise enjoy the new DLC so they released two versions instead of one. An online comic was released one episode at a time in the weeks prior to the Left 4 Dead DLC release, detailing both the backstories of the original Left 4 Dead's characters and setting up the mission they would undertake in "The Sacrifice."
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Set before the events of Left 4 Dead 2's "The Passing", the story of "Left 4 Dead - The Sacrifice" tells the tale of the last mission the four original Left 4 Dead survivors take together. With the goal of finding a boat and making their way to an island where they can finally escape the zombie plague, the survivors travel through three missions. The journey will take them through shipping yards, up piles of gravel, and eventually to the port where they hope to find an escape from the horrors of the mainland. Though each mission has its own challenges, it's the third mission that this piece of Left 4 Dead DLC is named for; while attempting to make their escape from the zombie hordes by raising a bridge, one of the generators powering the bridge cuts out and one of the players must make the ultimate sacrifice to turn it back on so that the other three can survive.
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Connection with Left 4 Dead 2's "The Passing"
In the first DLC for Left 4 Dead 2, "The Passing," L4D2 players met up with three of the four survivors from the original game. It was revealed that Bill, the missing survivor, had died previous to the events of "The Passing" but no explanation of how he died was given. This led to a lot of speculation among fans of Left 4 Dead, as well as frustration at the fact that they weren't able to play as the survivors they love with the improvements of the Left 4 Dead 2 game engine. "The Sacrifice" puts this speculation to rest and allows players to take control of beloved characters once again as they experience Bill's final moments firsthand. Though players may choose any of the four survivors to sacrifice during the finale of the final mission of the "Sacrifice" campaign, the events of "The Passing" and the online comic Valve released establish the canon version of the heroic sacrifice that takes place on that bridge.
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As with all DLC releases for Left 4 Dead, "The Sacrifice" includes several new Steam achievements that players can earn in Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. Players can earn achievements such as "Kill Bill" in which they sacrifice Bill at the end of the campaign, an action that fits in with the canon established by the online comic and the L4D2 DLC "The Passing. The "Chaos Generator" achievement requires the players to get all three of the generators on the final campaign mission running at one time, a feat which may require them to split up and take on the zombie mobs alone. The "Sacrifizzle" achievement can be earned in Versus mode while playing as one of the Special Infected; it requires the player to incapacitate a survivor who's trying to sacrifice himself at the end of the campaign. The "Supreme Sacrifice" achievement is given to players who complete the campaign on any difficulty setting. The final new achievement is "Barrel Rolled," awarded for killing a Special Infected with one of the exploding barrels that were also added with the DLC as part of the new campaign.
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Added Content for Left 4 Dead 2
In addition to providing the chance to play through the campaign with the new zombies, weapons, and features of the sequel, the release of "Left 4 Dead - The Sacrifice" adds additional content to Left 4 Dead 2 as well. The popular "No Mercy" campaign from the original Left 4 Dead has been added to L4D2, allowing players of the sequel to enjoy one of the most popular campaigns from the original. The new Special Infected and weapons have been added to "No Mercy" so that players can get the most out of the L4D2 engine, though they'll be using the survivor characters from the original game instead of the new survivors. This provides enough of a change to "No Mercy" to make it new and exciting again; though many players have spent countless hours on the maps of the campaign, they now have new challenges to face and new weapons to use when trying to make it to the hospital.
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After the Sacrifice
Though one of the characters from the original Left 4 Dead dies at the end of the campaign, this doesn't mean the end for either Left 4 Dead or Left 4 Dead 2. "The Sacrifice" isn't the last DLC that Valve has promised for either game, and Valve has even hinted that future DLC may be in the works to introduce a new character to the original Left 4 Dead to take Bill's place and continue the adventures of the original survivors. More DLC is planned for Left 4 Dead 2 as well, with some fans speculating that it may include additional campaigns from the original game in addition to whatever new storylines are created.
Image Credits: All screenshots by J. Edward Casteele. "The Sacrifice" artwork by Valve.