Left 4 Dead 2 is one of the best co-op shooters around and has been since its inception over a decade ago. It’s fast, frantic, and fabulously fun to run around and blast zombies. This is, in part, down to the phenomenal level design and emphasis on relatively short micro-campaigns that make up the bulk of the game’s content.
Not only that but Left 4 Dead 2 is the definitive Left 4 Dead experience. Not only does it build upon the amazing original in new (but subtle) ways, but it also contains the entirety of that game as free DLC. There is a lot of game to love here, but getting to the best content is not easy for newcomers – there’s just so much to dig through.
13 Hard Rain
In general, there are no BAD levels in Left 4 Dead 2. Every level is fun to play through, it’s just that some are better – or in this case, worse – than others. Hard Rain falls flat because it gets old. The first time you play Hard Rain, it’s fine – great even. Its unique gimmick builds genuine tension.
The thing is, on repeat playthroughs, Hard Rain gets harder and harder to stomach. We aren’t exaggerating when we say this level is quite the eyesore due to the constant downpour of, you guessed it, rain.
12 Cold Stream
Where Hard Rain is a pretty good level that doesn’t hold much replay value, Cold Stream is a pretty mediocre level that doesn’t hold much replay value. Cold Stream is one of the new additions to the level roster, and, unfortunately, it’s not that good.
This is mostly down to the horrendous pacing this campaign suffers from. It feels very long – repetitive even – and the lack of momentum leaves the campaign feeling pretty lifeless.
11 Crash Course
Crash Course falls into the same traps as Cold Stream. It’s not a bad campaign, it’s just incredibly bland. If there was a campaign that you could point to that was cookie-cutter, B-team Left 4 Dead, it would be Crash Course.
It’s absolutely playable of course – it can even be fun. It’s just not going to be a campaign you are actively going to replay.
10 Swamp Fever
Swamp Fever is very similar to Hard Rain, in the sense that it has a gimmick that engulfs the entire campaign. Like with Hard Rain, that gimmick is not great on repeat playthroughs. Swamp Fever is painfully slow to playthrough at times, and that’s because your movement speed is hampered by water.
In Left 4 Dead 2, being in water slashes your movement speed, and since large portions of Swamp Fever are in this kind of environment, there is no way to just dip in and play the campaign. You are forced to endure the slog. It’s a shame because this campaign is visually pretty interesting.
9 The Passing
The Passing is a fine campaign. It has some decent set pieces, it’s visually interesting and it’s a fun time even on repeat playthroughs. Where The Passing falters is in its finale – which we can’t stand.
The Passing has you running around a fairly large area collecting gas canisters. This is a gimmick we will see done better later on this list, which further adds to why The Passing’s ending is a bit naff.
8 The Sacrifice and Blood Harvest
We have bundled these two together because these two campaigns are so unremarkable that we forgot they existed – multiple times. Upon replaying them, they aren’t bad campaigns – they just exist in a weird limbo state.
The Sacrifice and Blood Harvest are staggeringly middle-of-the-road. They don’t do anything egregiously bad, and they don’t do anything outstandingly good. There isn’t that much to say about them. They exist, and they make for passable entertainment. These are the definitions of “middle-of-the-road”.
7 Death Toll
Death Toll is the first campaign on this list that we genuinely think is great – and that includes multiple playthroughs. Death Toll is the kind of Campaign you can throw on whenever and have a great time with mates or strangers.
Death Toll has great themes, fun set pieces, and even an interesting RNG-based twist. There are campaigns we think are better, but Death Toll is absolutely one of the winners.
6 The Last Stand
This is another fairly recent expansion to Left 4 Dead 2, and unlike Cold Stream, The Last Stand is legitimately excellent. Everything Cold Stream did wrong, The Last Stand did right. It is night and day.
The Last Stand is short, but it is paced perfectly. You can jump into The Last Stand, blitz it, have a blast, and then go about your day. Left 4 Dead is already a bit of a “pick up and play” kind of series, but The Last Stand takes that to the logical extreme, and nails the execution.
5 Dark Carnival
Dark Carnival is all about the visuals and the finale. This campaign, as the name eludes to, is set in a theme park. Theme parks and zombies go together like beans on toast, and Left 4 Dead 2 delivers a stellar experience.
But then we have the finale, which is just a good laugh. Loud music, great effects, fantastic set-piece – the works. You can’t go wrong with a bit of Dark Carnival.
4 Dead Centre
Dead Centre is another instantly recognisable level rocking great level design and pacing. It is set in a shopping centre, and this leads to some great setpieces and moments that make this campaign stand out.
Not only that, the finale uses the gas canister mechanic from The Passing, but pulls it off way better thanks to the finale being set in a much smaller area. Top marks all around.
3 The Parish
The Parish is the “No Mercy” of Left 4 Dead 2 (more on No Mercy in a bit). It starts strong and keeps on delivering hit after hit of dopamine. The level design, in particular, seems to have had extra love and attention poured into it because it's endlessly replayable and fantastically memorable.
Adding to all of that, The Parish is devoid of any gimmick that could hold it back. It’s just straight Left 4 Dead, and we love it for it.
2 Dead Air
Dead Air is a visual spectacle and an all-around good time. As the name implies there are planes everywhere in Dead Air, and there’s more than one crash during the run time making it one of the most explosive levels on this list.
Not only that, but it’s not too difficult. We rank Dead Air’s finale as one of the easiest in the game, and that is honestly to the campaign's credit. Dead Air, as bombastic as it is, is pretty relaxing to play and is a great way to blow off some steam.
1 No Mercy
No Mercy is THE quintessential Left 4 Dead 2 campaign. This was the campaign that kicked off the entire series, as it is pulled directly from the original Left 4 Dead. Even after all of these years, No Mercy is a blast to play.
It has everything you want in a Left 4 Dead campaign. It has amazing pacing, a fantastic finale, and brilliant level design. No Mercy fires on all cylinders and is still number one.
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