Vienna Calling

helicopter escape. While the NewsChopper 5 escape vehicle is a bit overused, nowadays, the rest of the campaign is of such excellent quality...

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helicopter escape. While the NewsChopper 5 escape vehicle is a bit overused, nowadays, the rest of the campaign is of such excellent quality that I honestly didn't care.1: Innere StadtWell, here we are. Starting in a third-story closet in the middle of a burning, wrecked city, you have to make your way to the subway. Sounds simple enough, right? Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention that the level size is easily three times greater than Valve's per map. Normally, this would be a bad thing, but the level design is fairly straightforward while maintaining a sense of openness you rarely find in campaigns, nowadays. The map is good-looking, as well. Nice, detailed brushwork, lighting, and architecture really project an atmosphere of a post-apocalyptic Vienna. It feels like a city, albeit a very small part of one.My journey to the subway was pretty eventful. The open nature of the level gave Hunters some prime opportunities for pounces, while the abundance of corners got me covered in Boomer vomit a few times. It's a shame this campaign doesn't have support for Versus Mode, as I can easily see it being a blast for the Infected. The crescendo event was a little confusing at first, but once I realized that the door closed again after a certain amount of time, I was able to progress. As for performance issues, I didn't experience any framerate drops. So far, so good.2: BahnhofNow this is a train yard.Valve's work on Death Toll: The Church pales in comparison to what the 44V Mapping team has managed to pull off here. I don't want to spoil too much, but I will say that the entire level is very well-mapped. The train station was exciting and convincing, and the train yard was excellent. It really felt like a long haul to get to the safe room. The only real complaint I have is that the event trigger needs to be more "in the way." I really had no clue what I was doing until I searched around for a good seven minutes. Other than that, no performance hits or any other issues. Still great, but still long.3: NussdorfSticking to the river, you have to make your way across to get to the safe room. Again, it sounds easy on paper, but as we're all aware, Left 4 Dead isn't without its fair share of twists. After playing this map, I am now of the firm opinion that every water source in Europe is contaminated with radioactive waste.There are so many places to fall into the toxic water that it's almost a bit excessive. If you get incapacitated in it, there's no way you can be revived, as the constant damage from the river will keep you down. This wouldn't be too much of an issue if there were more rescue closets around this level, especially considering how brutally long it is.The lighting on this map also needs a re-work. It's far too dark in many places. I couldn't see the Common Infected until they were right on top of me, even with my flashlight on. It may seem realistic in the sense of "Oh my god, it's nighttime during the zombie apocalypse, we're all going to die," but it just isn't efficient in the Left 4 Dead setting. Other than that, no performance issues, and still great level design. I can't see anybody making it through this on Expert without someone dying, though.4: DonauinselOh, man. I thought the last level was long, but this just takes the cake. You have to make your way from the starting building up to a highway overpass, go back down, jump down from a roof, climb up a ladder... You get the picture. This wouldn't be a problem if I could see anything. Again, the lighting needs some serious adjustment.Despite the lighting being too dark, there are no performance issues to speak of, and you really feel like you've accomplished something by the time you get to the Donauturm tower. I did manage to get outside of the map early on entirely by accident. I'm not naming locations, but don't go to the left once you get over the boat. Tumbling through mazes of houses and fences, it's pretty easy to get lost here. I'd like to say that this is the weakest map of the five, but it's still fun enough to play that it doesn't really matter. Once the 44V Mapping team fixes the holes in the map boundaries and the lighting, it'll be perfect.5: DonauturmFinally.After a good 45 minutes of running through the previous levels, I'd finally reached the finale. It's pretty linear, and admittedly a bit bland looking until you get down to the finale area. I recommend spicing it up with a bit more color than maroon. There are rooms to explore, but there really isn't anything worth looking for, at this point.The finale itself is, well... too easy. There's plenty of space to run circles around the Tank, and the helicopter rescue area is within spitting distance of the radio. The Special Infected even spawn behind the rubble sometimes, making them entirely useless. After beating it, I thought to myself, "That was it?" The finale definitely needs some work before it can be considered anywhere near challenging.In conclusion, it's a large campaign that will easily take up an hour or more of your time. There's nice eye candy and some fantastic level design, but it's marred by bad lighting, an abundance of sludge, and the occasional hole in the map. Despite the unsatisfying finish, I recommend this campaign to anyone willing to download it, if only to challenge themselves with beating it on Expert. Hopefully, the problems I had with the map will be corrected in the next iteration.--Odyssey1319

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