Undead On Arrival: L4D2’s Cold Stream DLC Finally Out

OH GOD. It's a lot colder than I thought it was going to be.

‘Twas more than a year ago that Left 4 Dead 2’s Cold Stream DLC first stirred beneath the grave of Valve’s nearly immortal undead sequel, and then – as though cast in the world’s most anticlimatic horror movie – it just kind of sat there. “I’ll rise and kick off the end of all human civilization tomorrow,” it thought to itself. But tomorrow never came. Until now! After gobs of testing and fine-tuning, Valve’s finally deemed Cold Stream fit for public consumption.

So then, since the human mind is fickle and prone to dropping memories like that clumsy comic relief TV show side character everyone hates, let’s run through a quick refresher of what’s on tap. First up, you’re getting the Crash Course, Death Toll, Dead Air, and Blood Harvest campaigns from Left 4 Dead 1 along with an all-new community-created campaign known as, well, Cold Stream. It is, of course, about a cold stream, which – while pretty much apocalyptically unpleasant in its own right – becomes basically the worst thing when paired with zombies. Your objective, then, is to fight through water, woods, and the end of days to reach an evac helicopter.

In addition, all gametype Mutations – once on a Valve-mandated rotation – are now available whenever and wherever you want. And if you somehow still don’t own Left 4 Dead 2 – for instance, because you were just born a few minutes ago – it’s currently on sale at the nearly non-existent price of (Left) $4.99 (Dead). So then, friends, Romans, countrymen, and infants, you know what to do.


  1. Leaufai says:

    Last time I played, this wasn’t that great. I’ll try again and see how it turned out.

  2. Was Neurotic says:

    IN. Just wish they’d get an L4D3 going, although given their track record with 3s, I’m not holding my breasts. Heh.

    • wodin says:

      Hold your breasts, go on, you may like it.

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        I wish I had breasts to hold :(
        That said, I can see valve not making a L4D3, but continuing to upgrade L4D2, adding new maps, characters and weapons in a similar way to TF2. Of course, that does bring in the possibility of hats.

        • nearly says:

          that’s what they said was the plan with Left 4 Dead. and yet…

  3. Roshin says:

    I played Cold Stream once, to get a cheev I think, and it was a bit rubbish. It’s really nice to see all the campaigns from L4D1, though.

  4. Wings says:

    Except that this is clearly a picture of Swamp Fever and not Cold stream. :< my butt…

  5. jeremypeel says:

    Hypothesis: What with Cold Stream being a community-made campaign, Valve’s initial plan to tweak here and there turned into a nightmare of fine-tuning.

    I can imagine once they started looking at it more closely, they realised it lacked all the little touches Valve are so good at – the gentle visual cues to punt players in the right direction, the pacing inherent in the open plains/funneling of the level design.

    For a small team working on and off, that’s a year’s work in itself.

  6. thepaleking says:

    I wish they had adapted I Hate Mountains into an official campaign, rather than this. I’ve played both and I enjoyed IHM far more, and honestly think it’s better designed, with far more variety; one of the issues with Cold Stream is that all the maps look and play very similarly, and the climax is almost exactly the same as the first map crescendo for Dead Center (or was The Parish, can’t remember).

    But the chance to play any of the mutations at any time is the real exciting aspect of this update for me.

    • RobF says:

      Yeah, having Taaaank on tap without having to use mods or faff in the console is the real news for me.

  7. Hunchback says:

    Ah, i’ve been waiting for something to bring more population into this game so i can play it again.
    Last time i played everyone always wanted to be a zombie and would leave the game once their turn is over.

    I wish they’d implement some sort of a “leaver” punishment like in DOTA or something. Like if you only play 1 round (as a zombie or whatever) and then just drop out, you get a timer before you can rejoin a game. Maybe i should post this on their forums?

    • Mouse says:

      Great idea, but I can’t see them putting this into L4D2 – maybe a L4D3 when they get round to doing such a thing.

  8. Dudeist says:

    I know many better custom (fan maded) campaigns than Cold Stream. Is not bad, but not good. Just additional. And nothing new. Deployed year ago, just few cosmetic changes. Bud good, because Valve still taking care on L4D2 and this is cool. New campaigns, mutations etc. I think, best support I had.

  9. DanPryce says:

    Serious question: is there now any reason to buy Left 4 Dead 1?

    • Hunchback says:

      No, L4D2 now contains the whole L4D1 campaign + better graphics and shit.

    • RobF says:

      Not really. I do like nipping back to it occasionally as the feel is slightly different between the L4D and L4D2 variations of the maps but it’s nothing so significant as to warrant an extra purchase.

    • Qazi says:

      For the same arguments why a TF2 Classic mode should have been made available ages ago.
      L4D holds a certain simplicity with its limited weapon loadout (and in versus, the predictable HHSB pattern), that L4D2’s bloated tool list corrupted into something different but equiviolently great.

      They are still two different games.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      No. There are still purists who claim that L4D1 is better, but apart from maybe tone (L4D1 is generally scarier and more moody than L4D2), I think L4D2 is better in every way.

      I’ve played L4D1 versus after playing L4D2 and I was bored to death by the lack of the charger and spitter zombie characters–who change the way the game plays completely.

    • bear912 says:

      If you dislike the extra weapons or extra special infected that L4D2 introduced, yes. Otherwise, not really. There might be a few custom campaigns that don’t have L4D2 ports, or which suffered some in the journey from L4D to L4D2, so I guess that might be another reason to pick up L4D if such things really matter to the buyer.

    • Shadowcat says:

      L4D2’s friendly A.I. doesn’t know how to cope with all of L4D2’s level mechanics, so if you want to play the game solo or with bots filling in for missing players, the original game was definitely the better buy.

      I originally thought that L4D2’s A.I. was hamstrung by being released too early; but as time went by with no real improvement, I realised it was just fundamentally broken. Apparently they couldn’t figure out how to solve some problems (or perhaps simply didn’t care).

      I’m very curious to know if L4D2’s A.I. is also deficient in the L4D maps. If so, then there’s still a reason to buy L4D, but I would suspect they’re okay (as hopefully Valve haven’t gone and added any of the “rush” situations to the L4D2 versions).

  10. Nim says:

    But if it’s finally out, what have I been playing for the last two years or so?

  11. Moni says:

    Now that Left 4 Dead 2 essentially contains the first game, I’d like to see Valve make Left 4 Dead 1 free-to-play, just to see what would happen.

    • jezcentral says:

      And how would they make any money from this? (This is a genuine question).

      • Moni says:

        I was thinking L4D1 could be a loss leader, essentially a demo for L4D2. That’s what makes it such a fascinating experiment, would it actually boost Valve’s overall sales?

        Also, hats are a goldmine.

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:


    • RegisteredUser says:

      At 5$ entrance point to the “full” experience via L4D2 it wouldn’t make any sense.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      I don’t think it would work as Free to play as F2P would mean they would have to actively support the game–something which they gave up long ago. Personally, I think they should just give a free copy of L4D1 to everyone who purchases L4D2.

      I don’t think they can justify charging full price for L4D1 anymore, though. But there are still purists who prefer to play L4D1 over L4D2, and L4D1 is still kind of interesting as a history of the series. So I think just bundling it with every purchase of L4D2 would satisfy everyone.

    • Suits says:

      They have TF2 and Dota2 for that already though

  12. belgand says:

    I don’t own it because, well, I honestly don’t have the $5 available to spend on it. Being unemployed sucks… well, not really, it’s the not having any money part that’s unpleasant.

  13. Tiguh says:

    Is this any good for just the single-player campaign? I don’t play well with others!

    • jezcentral says:

      Yes, perfectly. In fact, I prefer to have at least one bot when playing with others as they deal very well with Specials.

      In fact, I put in over 50 hours of SP before venturing on-line.

    • Dys Does Dakka says:

      While you can play it on your own with bots, it’s not geared for single player at all. Dead Island is a better pick for a zombie murder sim that plays alright solo.

      -Still, at 5€ it won’t give you crippling buyer’s regrets if you end up hating it.

      • Tiguh says:

        Cool, thanks guys. Think I’ll go for it – the demo of the first game made me laugh quite a lot!

    • Shooop says:

      No. The AI is absolutely bone-headed and useless.

      • Dervish says:

        Yes, they’re absolutely useless. You’ll do much better killing them off at the start of a level and running solo, right?

        The bots are fine on Advanced or lower, especially for new players. It’s easy to point to possible improvements and annoying things they sometimes do, but people have ridiculous standards for the AI, especially when you compare them to other co-op games.

      • Juan Carlo says:

        Agreed. This game is terrible single player. The AI will follow you and shoot stuff, but they aren’t very pro active when it comes to saving you when you are incapped. They will often get confused and run back and forth doing nothing if more than one person is incapped at a time.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I thought the L4D series was terrible, because I first checked it out offline(there really isn’t any real SP campaign, it’s offline MP with bots).

      Then I later caved after around 9000 glowing, raving reviews over L4D2 and never regretted it.
      But you have to enjoy stuff like saving people, getting saved by a hair, enduring together, etc.

  14. Blackcompany says:

    For $5 should I play these two games? Seems I should. Think I will grab L4D2.

  15. RegisteredUser says:

    L4D2 is actually really good fun(assuming a semi-decent team) and insane, insane value for the price.
    They not once charged afterwards for new stuff, the community makes tons of stuff, and there is always someone playing.

    I never regretted buying this. And I think I still paid 10 EUR then. This and CS:S are the few games Valve managed to get the feeling of enemies, shooting and guns fun enough. (Though it was different teams than on the other games where I minded, I guess)

    • Juan Carlo says:

      Yeah. I have 650 hours in L4D2–most of that playing versus. I don’t play as much as I used to, but it’s still my favorite multiplayer game and I think it’s the best co-op game ever made.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        Which is interesting. A LOT of people seem to like/love/play for Versus, yet what I’ve always enjoyed most was co-op run-throughs of the campaigns and overcoming the horde, tank and “last stand”s together.

        I guess I’m just a very friendly, helpful, people oriented, non-confrontal persona.

        • house of chud says:

          The interesting thing is that you’re exactly the type of player they were after with the L4D series. They were looking to fill what they called “a perceived gap in the market for co-op gaming”

          Check out the design deck on Valve’s website (address below, hopefully it won’t be filtered as spam). Skip past the first few pages as they’re all pictures anyway. As a fan of the game, the explanation behind the game mechanics is familiar yet enlightening, and really conveys a sense of just how elegant a system Valve created to encourage cooperation among teammates.

          link to valvesoftware.com

  16. povu says:

    I believe they said on the blog there would be an additional surprise along with the Cold Stream release and the unlocking of all mutations. I wonder what it is.

    Surely the discount isn’t the surprise. :P

  17. SkittleDiddler says:

    Great. All Valve need to do now is fix the abusive L4D2 playerbase and the rest of us will be set.