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"You can't see each other, but they can see you."
―Realism Versus tagline
Realism Versus icon.png

Realism Versus is a Game mode that combines the competition of Versus with the tension of Realism. It was first released as a Mutation for Left 4 Dead 2 (4/22/10), but due to positive feedback from the community, it was made an official game type as of May 21st, 2010.

Realism Versus follows normal rules for Versus in terms of gameplay style and scoring, but makes things harder for the Survivors as they are bound by Realism rules. Common Infected are tougher, there are no glows around Survivors or items, and the Witch can kill in one hit, among others. Though Realism Versus will appear in the main menu, it cannot be played unless The Passing DLC has been downloaded.

Realism Basics[]

  • Common Infected are able to take a lot of damage before dying, and body shots are far less effective. The only weapons that can kill the Common Infected regardless of where they hit are the Magnum, M60, and melee weapons.
  • Players are unable to see their fellow Survivors when they are in danger (i.e. vomited on, smoked, pounced, charged, incapacitated, etc.) so always stay together, and remain alert for Special Infected.
  • Be cautious when encountering the Witch; she is able to kill the Survivor instantly, so be evasive especially in the "Hard Rain" campaign.
  • Search carefully: items do not have (blue) outlines around them unless you're close to them (in which case they will glow white, indicating they are reachable).
  • Speech bubbles over Survivors' heads are disabled, but it will still display above the character's icon on the HUD.



Teamwork is a must―make sure the team moves as one cohesive unit and the Infected won't stand a chance. Remember that sometimes moving slowly and cautiously is much better than trying to blaze ahead and get team points for the team.

  • It is best for players not to just pick up their favorite weapons―pick up the gun and/or items that would help the team best at that level.
  • Never run off. Never. The Special Infected can grab players easily if they try to rush and, since damage is much higher, teammates will probably never make it to the ailing player in time.
  • Players should turn their speakers up. Listen carefully for the growl of a Hunter, or the cough of a Smoker. Sometimes a player's teammates won't hear these things, so be sure to alert them of the nearby Special Infected. In-game subtitles will work to this same effect.
  • It's highly recommended to use a microphone to communicate with the teammates as typing with a keyboard always renders the Survivor vulnerable to any Infected attack.
  • Don't rush off for the Special Tier weapons like the Grenade Launcher or M60 if you can help it―if the Special Infected get smart, they'll camp those spots and wait for players to run into the ambush.
  • Players need to find weapons, pills, bile―all the stuff they need to survive without help from the game.


General Tips

  • Lone Survivors are always easy fodder.
  • Try to camp Tier 2 weapon locations or spots with clearly visible healing supplies, as the chances of Survivors rushing to those spots are extremely high.
  • Try to work together! Communicate with teammates and work out a plan. Nothing can be more devastating than four Special Infected working together and taking down the Survivors.
  • Don't fear getting killed so much! Infected damage is increased here so even if a player only gets in a couple of hits as a Charger, the attack could cripple their team greatly.

The Hunter[]

"Then, you were dangerous, now, you are deadly. Your strength has tripled, and you have a larger role. As usual, it is your job to punish the stragglers...now that task has become far more simple. Prepare to spread fear and panic as one of the most powerful Infected in this game-mode."

  • Never go after a group of two or more Survivors, unless they are distracted, such as by a horde of Common Infected.
  • Those weasels who run and leave their teammates in danger are tasty.
  • If a player must go after a group, pounce on the ones at red or yellow health.
  • Another good technique is jumping on a Survivor in the middle of a tightly knit group and causing them to stumble.
  • Remember, the Hunter's pounce will knock back any Survivors standing close enough.
  • Utilize the rooftops and the damage bounces they give the Hunter's pounce. If rooftops are not available, try lampposts, trees, or long-distance pouncing.
  • Survivors will be on high alert, so try not to crouch and alert them until absolutely necessary.
  • Hunters work extremely well when paired with other Specials, so communicate with teammates and plan.
  • If a Survivor is at black-and-white or the entire team is red, claw them until they are incapacitated/dead.
  • Standing in front of/clawing a Witch is a malicious and effective way to use Realism down-points to a player's advantage.
  • Remember that all outlines are disabled, so pounce on Survivors that go back for ammo/health/weapons and, again, those weasels who run ahead.

The Smoker[]

"Pulling a Survivor into danger is your game. You're more then just an annoyance: you set the trap, make the first move, spread the icing on the cake. It hasn't changed. Sure, you're more powerful, like the Hunter now is, but you're still the one to trigger that 'unofficial' panic event."

  • Pulling a Survivor away for a Hunter to deal with them is a deadly tactic.
  • Grab any Survivors that try to help "pinned" teammates.
  • In some places, it is possible to pull a Survivor off a ledge to damage severely/kill them.
  • Pull Survivors into hazards, such as fire or Spitter acid.
  • The Smoker is usually a tool to start an ambush, so communicate with teammates.
  • Distract the Survivors. Pull the only green one backwards, a red one into an angry Horde, or another into an unsuspecting Witch.
  • Avoid Survivors with Hunting/Sniper Rifles.
  • Pick at the group, and leave stragglers for the Hunter. If there is no Hunter, then grab them before they can catch up.
  • If the Survivors have been attacked by a Boomer, grab the one that was not vomited on.
  • Protect the Tank and pull an attacking Survivor away from him.
  • An extremely cruel tactic is to drag a Survivor into a Witch. This is very effective on open maps such as Dark Carnival and Dead Center.

The Boomer[]

"Your job is simple: vomit on the Survivors to cause confusion and havoc. This never was a mundane attack, but now it's so much more. You're there as a distraction and to give support - ready to go even kamikaze to give your teammates time."

  • A seen Boomer is a dead Boomer.
  • When escaping, climb on rooftops or duck into buildings.
  • Try to get as many Survivors as possible covered in bile.
  • However, sometimes it is helpful to ignore the group and vomit on incapacitated/pinned ones instead. Be wary, though: if a Survivor shoots and kills a Boomer near a pinning Special Infected, they will stumble and cancel their pinning attack.
  • Jumping in front of Survivors from rooftops causes panic and they may shoot you immediately, causing them to get covered in bile.

The Spitter[]

"Think of blocking paths and extra damage points. Your role hasn't changed very much, but the confusion you add will have a lot more of an impact. You should not underestimate her abilities."

  • Spit on incapacitated or pinned Survivors to cause massive damage.
  • Spit when it is apparent the Survivors aren't going to move from an area for a while, preferably bunched in a room.
  • Try to attack from strategic positions, such as a rooftop.
  • If a Survivor is surrounded by Infected, or covered in Boomer Bile, spit on them to cause further damage.
  • If a player cannot hit Survivors with their spit, then block their path instead.
  • In Dead Center and The Passing finales, spitting on the gas cans will cause them to explode.

The Charger[]

"While playing as this guy, you should have one thought on your mind: do as much damage as possible. Don't think of the consequences. If you time and plan exactly right, there won't be any Survivors to give you any."

  • Like with the other mobile-pinning Special Infected (Smoker and Jockey), the Charger is much more deadly in Realism Versus: just charge an unguarded Survivor (most likely the last one in a line) somewhere out of sight. Even though the Charger is big and makes a lot of noise, its high damage will usually incapacitate the victim before help can arrive.
  • Though the Charger can (as stated above) easily take down Survivors by itself, work as a team to take down multiple enemies at once; in the best case, all of them.

The Jockey[]

"Steer the survivors into danger, whether it be a Witch or puddle of acid. You have a small frame but pack a large punch. Don't be afraid to be malicious like the laughing maniac you are."

  • In normal Versus Mode, the Jockey is sometimes considered the weak joint of the Infected team, mainly due to his low damage output. However, in Realism Versus, a Jockey can easily incapacitate a Survivor regardless of health, since the other players first need to find the victim to shove the Jockey off. Paired with the attack of any other Special Infected as distraction, smart Jockeys should always incapacitate someone in one of their attacks.
  • Don't make the first move; let the Smoker do that. Or if there isn't one, a Charger, so the Jockey can pick up the pieces of scattered Survivors.
  • If possible, try and get a Survivor to turn a corner behind a wall or other object which cannot be seen through, as the victim's teammates will then not be able to see them due to the lack of Survivor outlines.

The Tank[]

"Pancakes, mmm. Smash them with a car or two. See how they like you now."

  • Since this is Realism Versus, the Survivors will most likely play it safe, throw a Molotov at the Tank and try to run―don't let them.
  • While it may not have been very effective in normal Versus mode, your rock attack is devastating here. If a player ever enters an open area, such as The Park, be sure to lob a rock or two. Plus, the attack stuns any Survivors hit, which provides an easy opportunity to catch up to them.
  • Always, always, always try to hit Survivors with heavy objects such as cars; if the object successfully hits the Survivor, they will be instantly incapacitated, which can quickly end their turn as the Survivor. A great place to utilize this strategy is The Bridge, where cars are plentiful and the Survivors have little room to move around.
  • Even though it certainly isn't a fair tactic, sometimes the only option is to move ahead of the Survivors and employ a door-block. Since it is Realism, the smart Survivors will move back and fire at the Tank, but usually one person will try and make it past him―take advantage of them.