Restart Steam: L4D Survival Mode Is Out

Left 4 Dead will update with Survival Mode if you restart Steam, and it’s reportedly rather brutal. Dead Air and Death Toll are also now playable in Versus mode (which I think is actually more interesting than the new mode, but hey, that’s just me.) Anyone playing? How long have you managed to stay alive? I’ll try and post some more useful thoughts when I get a proper game of it.


  1. mikeyB says:

    I haven’t tried the new versus mode campaigns yet but I personally think survival mode is immense! When you have 2 tanks 3 hunters and various other specials floating around at one time it gets a bit crazy!!

    We got so close to a gold on one of the levels last night! 15 ruddy seconds was all we needed…

  2. Mungrul says:

    Had a quick go before bed last night (it appeared at 11pm), and we managed to last 6:09.
    It’s quite fun, and what’s better is that once you die, you can start again instantly, which suits this kind of gameplay down to the ground. Gives it a strong “Just one more go” feeling.
    I’m sure someone will find some exploit soon that allows ridiculously long survival times.

  3. Lu-Tze says:

    13 minutes is our current best. I think at one point there might have been 3 tanks.

    EDIT : This was on No Mercy : The Hospital.

  4. Rei Onryou says:

    @Lu-Tze: On what stage?

    I wish I didn’t have all this work to do, and could just enjoy gaming. I hate uni.

  5. Rattus says:

    I got several bronze, 2 silver and one gold medal.

    The gold medal was pure luck more than anything i guess, running around with 3 smokers, sky full of hunters and 2 tanks with everything burning is not something that can be organized .. without few days of training :-)

    on lot of maps i wonder how the hell are we supposed to avoid tanks and smokers when all you got is one small flat roof..

    but two new versus maps are better than this for me also.

  6. Corbeau says:

    Survival is fun and challenging for the average player – I’ve had trouble passing the four-minute mark on most maps.

    The new campaigns are buckets of fun though. The town map in particular in Death Toll is really enjoyable. The new maps take getting used to – first time though, my survivor team died before making it into the first tunnel on the first map of Death Toll!

  7. viper34j says:

    I saw on that some team achieved 30 minutes. Obviously they found some sort of exploit. But that will always happen, we are resourceful gamers when forced to adapt or die.

  8. subedii says:

    I’ve never really liked modes where you’re supposed to fight waves until you die. The whole exercise usually seems so depressing. Max Payne’s survival mode for example.

    For some reason though I really enjoyed this. It’s a short, sharp action piece for when you don’t have the time for a campaign. Maybe it’s just the fact that you’re doing it with friends and working together towards the goal of beating your previous time.

    If you do well in taking out the waves you might just buy yourself enough time to heal up. Some maps are also designed such that you’re actually running around the level as you progress, taking what resources you can from each room and scoffing down pills on the way. Others you seem to be better off with trying to stick with certain defensible positions, dashing out occasionally to re-arm.

    Anyway, highest time so far from a short playthrough last night is 8:30 on the Death Toll sewers. They even changed the event so that the sewer grate malfunctions and stays up, just to drive home the point that you’re not going anywhere.

  9. CoarseSand says:

    I tried out Survivor earlier tonight and managed to get just over five minutes with a random group, though the last minute of that was myself as Francis frantically running around the map trying to dodge the Tank that was behind me. The mode is extremely brutal, especially on the new Last Stand map where the tank is wont to bat your screaming little avatar off the picturesque seaside cliff into the bay.

  10. megaman says:

    Yay! Finally. I’ll try this tonight, looking forward to get obliterated in a matter of minutes. It will probably take longer to find a server and a group to play with than the actual gameplay is going to last :p

  11. Benny says:

    @Rei, tell me about it! an assignment due tomorrow, my major project in 5 weeks and they decide to release this now! :(

    I’d managed to get a few games of vs on Dead Air with a friend’s private server and it was very refreshing and still not too bad for balance (the baggage area is a nightmare for being caught away from your team tho). Anything they’ve done to the maps will only make it better.

    Survival mode seems a nice break of play from the usual game tho, and shorter games are nice too.

  12. Solar says:

    Best time so far is 11 minutes on Dead Air: The Terminal. It was just me and random nice French folks holed up with molos behind the desk. We must have made runs to reload about 8 times before all the molos and heals ran out. Then we made a mad dash for the toilets. Was particularly fun because it just sort of happened, we ran in, popped our last pills and made our final stand with the two of us covering each entrance. We got to about 10mins and had to make another ammo run… well it was a bloody slaughter.

    Good times

    NB: the new vs modes should be great fun. curiously I played a Death Toll Vs game some time last week on a Taiwanese or Japanese server. Don’t know how but was a bit surprised.

  13. HipHopHitler says:

    13 minutes and 49 seconds on Hospital Rooftop, use the auto shotty, tanks spawn faster than you can kill them with m16 focus fire after about 10 minutes and stay as close to the ammo pile as you can, also the minigun is infinitely more useful in survival mode than it is in the normal finales.

  14. Chris Fifty-Two says:

    You don’t have to ever restart Steam to get access to new releases such as this. Simply launch ANY other game you have, preferably a quick loading one for convenience, and your Steam game list (or rather the “blob” where it gets its information from) will update itself and you will be ready to start downloading.

  15. DarkNoghri says:

    Played a bit of survival last night, as well as a Dead Air campaign. Made 8:19 on Last Stand, that being our record for the night. I blame that on the fact that the guy was hosting on his desktop, which couldn’t quite handle it.

    Which was another issue. What servers were up were very few and very bad. Trying to play Dead Air was a nightmare. Not sure if it was a modded server, or just glitch, but we had tanks spawning for one team but not the other, double tanks for one, double tanks for another (but one disappeared into thin air), tanks on every level. Just overall a brutal match. That was after we found a decent server though.

  16. subedii says:

    @Solar: It was possible to play both Dead Air and Death Toll quite easily.

    All you needed to do is start a VS campaign and then manually start a vote in the console to switch the map to either Dead Air 1 or Death Toll 1. The game handles the rest from there.

    Still, now we don’t have to anymore, which is nice.

  17. SlappyBag says:

    I played Death Toll on VS a couple weeks ago as well, which was interesting. Looking forward to playing this when I get home.

  18. Tei says:

    Nice ninja update!… I will try to play as soon as posible :-)

  19. Benjamin Ferrari says:

    if someone crosses the 20 minute mark it should rain witches from the sky.

  20. MetalCircus says:

    Got almost 7 mins on the sewers but died a couple of seconds before the 7 minute mark. Was very annoyed because I could have got a silver! Anyway, all my friends had died, and i was running away from two tanks and a load of hunters. My teammates shouted over the mics to get to the tunnel to survive that little extra more so we could all get silver. I did so, and as I turned the corner in the tunnel about 6 smokers spawned in front of me. Died right there :)

    It’s great stuff. Although The Last Stand map is REALLY hard. Can’t even get past the 4 minute mark, even with our teamwork and careful planning we just get slaughtered at around the 3:50 mark.

  21. DK says:

    Gold on first try – Dead Air survival is incredibly easy if you scout around a bit.

  22. Mister_X says:

    Had my first go on survival with the bots, got bronze by .8 of a second!

  23. Rinox says:

    8.30 or so on Last Stand. But to be honest, if we hadn’t all crouched on top of the boilers in the room that houses the fuel pump we would have never made it that long. :P

    Most of the time we played without trying to sploit though. Much more fun. The collapsing walls in Last Stand are insane !

  24. Vandelay says:

    Playing with mates last night, we played a lot of the Survival maps and managed to get bronze in each one. The 4 minute mark seems to be reasonably easy to reach when you are communicating with mates, although I’m sure with randoms it would be really hard. Getting silver is a bit more tricky, but I think we managed to get 4 out of the (about 7) we tried. We also managed a gold on The Bridge/Blood Harvest map. Hiding in the house and making sure no one gets pulled out by smokers was the tactic and we managed to get the gold on our second attempt.

    One thing the update is missing is the ability to find another 4 player team in Vs., which was meant to be coming with the new version of the matchmaker. I love the Vs. mode but playing against randoms or the same mates all the time is getting stale. Being able to find another group of 4 people who know how to play together would make Vs. come alive again. Hopefully, this will be coming out soon.

  25. clovus says:

    I am the guy who sucks. I barely scratched out a bronze on the last stand map. Lots of crazy stuff happened. I liked dying after being pulled by a smoker and bounced off of a tank into the ocean. Or dying with 4 smokers just standing around. Or another guy who died with four hunters, who then proceeded to play leapfrog over his dead body.

    I was playing with mute random people so the “set up” time was always a bit odd. We all run around moving gas cans and kerosine tanks, but with no apparent plan. Then someone flips the switch. There is a ton of stuff laying around but I’m not really sure what to with it. In the end, things are so chaotic that someone always ends up getting burned by those strategically placed gas cans.

    Is it worth it to even spend time setting up? It takes longer to set up than to actually play the round. This is especially painful when you only last a minute or so. (inb4 “that’s what she said.”)

  26. Tei says:

    Playing survivor is like these poor childrens with cancer and all the toys of the hospital.

  27. Heliocentric says:

    Its fun but you are going to die?

  28. DarkNoghri says:


    So my group wasn’t the only one that discovered those boilers/water heater things? Very nice at keeping you out of flame range. And with pistols, autoshottie ammo can be saved for tanks.

    Admittedly, we only made it to 8:19, but that’s much longer than we ever made it trying to hold out up top.

  29. Rinox says:

    Haha, yeah, we tackled it much the same way with pistols for regular and special infected and shotties for the tank. The only reason we died was because of two successive smoker pulls, so with one guy on smoker watch you should be able to make it to 10+ with relative ease without using jesus rooms. ;-)

    I always feel kinda dirty doing this like that…but I just wanted to see how bad it would get towards the end of 10 minutes. The answer is: it gets insane.

  30. jalf says:

    We managed 4’ish minutes a couple of time for bronze. Then a friend came online and went “hay, let’s play Hospital, I’ll show you where to hide”.

    Got just over 10 minutes on first attempt. :D

    Dead Air on VS is great btw. (And to the console haxx0rs, no, it’s not the same. They’ve modified it quite a bit for balancing, removed closets and adding the infected ladder trail things and such to let them get around easier)

    @Tei: Yeah, I feel really bad for the survivors when I play survival. IT’S NOT MEANT TO END LIKE THIS!
    I want a rescue chopper or something! :D

  31. Vandelay says:

    When we got gold on The Bridge, the 9 to 10 minutes was actually relatively easy. A fairly long lull at about 9 minutes meant that even if we had have completely screwed up it wouldn’t have been too hard to stay alive till past the 10th minute. As it went we actually managed it with little difficulty and the extra couple of minutes was just icing on the cake. Are these lulls randomised by the director, or do they always occur at the same time? If they are always the same then reaching the 9th minute will mean you are almost guaranteed gold, barring any real cock-ups.

    We hid on top of the boilers in Last Stand too. Seems to be the best tactic, although it turned into a mess when the wall to the right of us broke down. If we had of been expecting that, I reckon we could have got gold (can’t remember how long we actually lasted.) Using the roofs and the lighthouse tower, is bad plan as we quickly discovered. Too easy for the tank to smash you off the cliff, as well as smokers being able to drag you down easily as well.

  32. clovus says:

    Oh, did anyone else think that the character models for Louis and especially Zoey are a bit off on the poster for Last Stand? Their faces looked kinda weird.

    And anyone find the stupid ledges on Last Stand annoying?? The ones on the ledge below the actual lighthouse light after the safety bars fall off. It is kind of ridiculous to be hanging from a ledge, slowly dying, when your feet are only a yard or so from the roof below. Meanwhile your fellow survivor is being raped by the hunter you were trying to jump down to knock off of them. It is like flailing about like you are drowning in 3 feet of water… but then you actually drown.

  33. C0nt1nu1ty says:

    Played it for about 15 minutes before uni today, only managed 2.30 somehow i dont think this is going to work with strangers, you has to plan

  34. Evil Vitamin C says:

    It’s fucking awesome that I can finally play this, the most awesome of awesome games out there, for just a couple of minutes and still get complete awesomeness out of it.

  35. Schaulustiger says:

    I’m gonna give the survival mode a try tonight. Versus mode just didn’t do it for me, it became frustrating after a while. Maybe because I always played against some rather skilled mates that knew how to camp it out. And just playing co-op all night long got boring quickly.
    It’s a shame really, because I absolutely love zombies and was eagerly awaiting L4D’s release.

  36. Evil Vitamin C says:

    Boring? Have you tried expert?

  37. Schaulustiger says:

    Yeah, I only played on expert. I don’t mean boring as in “way too easy”. You had to have perfect teamplay and there was very little room for mistakes, which wasn’t what I expected from a just-for-fun multiplayer game. Maybe it was again my mates that I played with. They always wanted to do it on expert and – coming from a strong competitive background – brought so much stress in it. I kind of grew too old for that ;)

  38. psyk says:

    “I saw on that some team achieved 30 minutes. Obviously they found some sort of exploit. But that will always happen, we are resourceful gamers when forced to adapt or die.”

    Make that an hour then they suicided cause they were bored WTF.

  39. roBurky says:

    Survival mode gets a big roBurky thumbs up.

  40. Vinraith says:

    6 minutes just playing with myself and a friend (and two retard bots). We’re trying to see how far we can push it with only two humans.

  41. Dagda says:

    “I always play the game on maximum difficulty, but find it too difficult for my tastes. Gee, if only there was something I could do to have the less-difficult experience I had hoped to have.”

    Schaulustiger, your complaints with Left4Dead double as a description of Expert Mode and why not everybody likes it. Try a couple rounds on Advanced or even Normal.

  42. ChampionHyena says:


    Maybe I haven’t played it enough, but… I REALLY don’t like Survival Mode. My least favorite parts of the L4D experience are being stymied and unable to reach your teammates while you get beaten to death (or have them unable to reach you) and sitting in spectator mode while I’m dead. In Survival Mode, these happen EVERY FIVE EFFING MINUTES… between tedious gas-can-positioning setup times, of course. NO fun. L4D’s way more exciting when you escape by the skin of your teeth at the last second, and in Survival Mode, that just can’t happen.

    Meanwhile: more Versus maps? Yes PLEASE, Valve!

  43. Adam says:

    I love survival mode! The ridiculousness of double tankage is great, and I bet the sheer difficulty of survival mode will make players even better at facing the infected… which might not be such a great thing.

    But anyway, I managed 9:40 on Death Toll Sewers playing with 3 randoms and no mics.

  44. Dave says:

    Does anyone else have horrible, horrible problems with disk fragmentation every time there’s a big update via Steam?

    I downloaded the update, tried to start L4D, gave up, rebooted, started defragging my computer and watched The History Channel for a couple hours and never got around to playing :/

  45. aukondk says:

    Just came out of a Last Stand match, had died pretty quick but the rest of my team lasted over 12 mins… this is probably because no specials turned up :p
    then at about 12 mins the map changed and we landed in a blank map with a grey wall with a holodeck grid on it, bizarre!

  46. Juror #9 says:

    The best i did lastnight was 5:20 in the Generator Room. I have to admit i didn’t know what to expect, but now that i have seen a few maps and played one of the new ones, Lighthouse, this new mode is stunning. 2 tanks, 3 hunters and 3 smokers at once? Nothing good could come of that. But it’s really fantastic.

  47. David says:

    Made it to 9:20 on Last Stand last night. I had a chance to play through Death Toll in versus mode today too, here’s my writeup: link to

  48. Chiablo says:

    The big bug going on right now is that after about 16 minutes, the tanks stop spawning. I think it’s due to a pathing issue where one gets stuck and despawns never to return. There is a demo you can download of a group doing lighthouse for 60 minutes. At about the 20 minute mark, the only thing that spawns is the horde. They sit on top of the lighthouse and take out the hordes with pistols before they can even get close. They finally gave up because there’s no reason to continue.

    But for the average person, Survival is a ton of fun. It’s always nice to say “We almost got 10 minutes that time… let’s try hiding out over in this corner this time!”

  49. yxxxx says:

    Had a blast.
    Took some video
    link to

    This really should have been in from the start so much fun.

  50. shinygerbil says:

    It’s pretty fun. Some maps seem a lot harder than others, though. Not to mention, some maps seem a lot more thoroughly tweaked and tested. We all stood behind the desk at The Terminal and lasted over 15 minutes because, as we found out when somebody finally died and went to spectate, half the specials were getting stuck on various bits of the map.

    Nonetheless, good fun for the most part. It addresses what I see as the main reason I don’t play more Left 4 Dead; I can’t just sit down and say “yes I’ve got 2 or 3 hours to spare for an expert campaign”, but I can now sit down and say “just a couple of rounds and we’ll see”.