In this campaign you will visit the fictional city of Dawn, visit Anna's house, and of-course arrive at a carefully recreated Crossroads mall where an ever charming CJ will send you on a wild zombie hunt with custom created events and crescendo's optimized for a fast paced left 4 dead experience.

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Previous releases of Dead Before Dawn (DBD) have been very pretty to look at but kind of clumsy to play. The "Director's Cut" version takes steps to polish the campaign up, but some of it still feels like style over substance.

The Crossroads Mall on display here feels a lot closer to my own local malls - compared to "Liberty Mall" in L4D2's Dead Center, which was sprawling yet oddly cramped and completely lifeless. The "Director's Cut" entails them going back and smoothing out DBD's rougher edges (the original L4D2 release was pretty slapdash). The Director's Cut version axes the crash-prone opening city map; the campaign now begins on the roof of a gas station from Map 2. To make up for the lost map, a new map was added later on in the campaign that takes you through the second floor of the mall. The extra layer of polish is evident in the existing maps - but the new "second floor" map feels predictably tacked-on. At one point you can see through a skylight, and the view outside is of night time. This is probably a hold over from the campaign's L4D1 roots, as the L4D2 version takes place exclusively during the day. It's these kinds of lazy oversights that have always dragged this campaign down.

More problems arise with the ambitious objective design. Though a lot of it makes sense to the "story", many of the custom objectives aren't very fun to work through. Standing in one place, holding the "Use" key while a progress bar slowly crawls across the screen seriously sucks - especially when playing with bots.

And that's likely all you'll ever play DBD with. Map design obviously favors the infected, with an obscene number of hiding places for zombies harass players from. Even on Normal Difficulty, the normally inept CPU infected were surprisingly threatening - I dread to think what it would be like with actual human players in Versus mode.

DBD had so much potential. So much hype. If only it played as good as it looks.


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