Survival Mode is a Great Addition to Left 4 Dead

left4dead1Like so many other people, I was smitten with Valve’s zombie shooter, Left 4 Dead. There’s something viscerally satisfying about gunning down hordes of zombies, especially when you feel that you’re the last hope for the survival of humanity. Earlier this week, Valve graced us with the first major update for Left 4 Dead. This update included not only Versus mode for the two maps that were previously unavailable, it also included the long-awaited Survival Mode.

The basic premise is a simple one. The players are up against a wall, facing off against never ending waves of zombies, including a number of special infected. There are plenty of supplies, ammo, and explosives, but there’s absolutely no way out. The goal, as the name would suggest, is to survive as long as possible.

But does it actually work as a game mode?


As Valve has stated, their goals were to have game that lasted around ten minutes. In most cases, this is what they’ve achieved. In my experience, seven to eight minutes is a darn good run, but there are reports of people surviving as long as sixty minutes that can be found on the Official Steam Forums.

l4d-tankValve issued a patch yesterday that would seem to have removed the chance that anyone will make it to sixty minutes again. It seems that in some cases, tanks would stop spawning after 14-15 minutes, allowing the survivors a much better change of longevity. This is no longer an issue. It will be quite interesting to see what the top of the leaderboard looks like now.

At any rate, the game mode itself is an absolute blast. It fills a gap that L4D definitely needed to fill, in that it allows players to have meaningful games that don’t require an hour or more to complete. In just 10 minutes (or in some cases, substantially less) players can have a great game experience that encapsulates all the intensity of the campaign finales. Heck, in some cases the finales can’t match the craziness that erupts when there are dozens of infected, a couple of smokers, a hunter and a tank or two running around.

If you haven’t given L4D a chance yet, this is a great time to do so. If you haven’t patched up and tried Survival Mode yet, you are definitely missing out. I recommend it to all shooter fans, and anyone who likes zombies.

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1 Comment on Survival Mode is a Great Addition to Left 4 Dead

Daniel Perez

On April 24, 2009 at 3:52 pm

I completely agree! The new Survival mode is a great addition to an already great game. There have been so many times where I want to play Left 4 Dead, but I can’t dedicate more than 30 minutes to the game, so I wanted something I can jump in, play, and get out quickly. Survival mode is great for that and it still gives me the drama and suspense a normal Left 4 Dead game would.