Left 4 Dead 2

Through all the boycotts, expansion pack accusations, and server issues; Left 4 Dead 2 dares step up and stare Modern Warfare 2 square in the eye for the upcoming Christmas period. Valve knew the competition was going to be tough, so they pulled out all the stops by improving Left 4 Dead 1 in almost every conceivable way – adding new survivors, new special infected, new zombies, new modes, new weapons, and five fantastic new campaigns.

Valve have truly outdone themselves with Left 4 Dead 2, as each and every upgrade they have given us compared to the original seems to have come from the players. Almost everything we wanted added to the first has been brought to the table, including the most sought after request of ‘more weapons!’. Valve not only replied with added machine guns, sniper rifles, and shotguns; but also threw in the grenade launcher as a beautiful bonus, and my personal favourite – melee weapons. Cricket bats, baseball bats, police batons, machetes and more litter the levels like presents under the tree in December. Never before has it been more satisfying to slay a horde of undead than it has been with a saucepan clutched in your hand and the ‘clang’ of pan on skull echoing in your ears. That is until you find the chainsaw. Oh my, the chainsaw brings a whole new meaning to the term “Splatter-Fest”, and even with limited fuel you’ll never see a group of survivors turn on each other so quickly as when a chainsaw comes into sight.

To go with these new ways of slaughtering zombies, comes a brand new set of places to slaughter zombies. Left 4 Dead 2 comes packed with five totally unique campaigns, some of which consist of five sections and some only four (?). I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but if a tear doesn’t leak from your eye by playing the ‘Hard Rain’ campaign then you best check your priorities in gaming. Each campaign contains a special zombie (not to be mistaken for special infected) which each have a special ability. Some can only be shot in the back, others have ways of drawing a horde together to follow them, and some are impervious to headshots. Nobody expected this level of detail from Valve, as pairing these special zombies with the old and new special infected mean that Left 4 Dead 2 is a whole different kind of monster. The smoker, boomer, hunter, tank, and witch are all still present and accounted for, but there are three more in the mix: The Spitter; who has the ability to spit an acid-like substance. The Charger; a mammoth sized infected who has the speed of the hunter but the strengh of the tank. The Jockey; a tiny infected who can leap onto the survivors and pull them in any direction they please. Needless to say, with all these new foes to deal with, Left 4 Dead 2 is a much more difficult game. That’s without even mentioning the new ‘Realism’ mode, which has the ability to melt your brain if you don’t have a PhD in zombie survival.

However, just as with Modern Warfare 2, there’s only so long we can focus on the rest, because it’s time for the best – multiplayer. Since launch there has been some serious problems with the online aspect of Left 4 Dead 2, mostly being lag and frame-rate issues caused by overloaded Valve servers. That little hiccup put down as a temporary negative though, the multiplayer is (somehow) even more addictive than Left 4 Dead 1. The new locals, special infected, and weapons ensure that all versus modes feel as fresh as possible.

Teamwork has never been more essential. If a single survivor goes on too far ahead of the group it can end in four incapacitated team-mates in a matter of seconds. This rule, though, is never emphasised more than in the ‘Scavenger’ mode. It’s the same as versus, team wise (four survivors versus four infected), but the survivors are attempting to fill a generator with fuel cans while dodging the unending infected attacks. If you aren’t working with your partners every step of the way in any mode of L4D2, you will die. You will die a lot. Once you do get a merry band of friends together and figure out a strategy though, L4D2 is a pulse-pounding game. If you are even the most remote fan of first person shooters, zombies, or both and this game isn’t on your wishlist – you’re brain dead.







2 responses to “Left 4 Dead 2”

  1. MrCuddleswick avatar

    Summed up most of my thoughts perfectly there!

  2. Kat avatar

    Two decaying putrid thumbs up!

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