Left 4 Dead 2
Time for a sequel! That’s what Valve must have thought after the equally unexpected as overwhelming success of the first, and quite limited, Left 4 Dead. That the game was a small top title is something you would discover after only a few minutes of playing already. Infected would storm at you like in the better zombie movies and in a way as introduced by 28 Days Later, but what got noticed most was the need to work together as survivor with the three other non-infected. If you didn’t, you would quickly die. Those that managed to convince three friends on PC or Xbox Live for a game of co-op were in for a real treat!
And the same goes for Left 4 Dead 2. You get the same graphical engine, the same gameplay, the same strategies and that same necessity to work together if you like staying alive. But then a lot better and deeper worked out, with more content and more variation. What can you want more?
This time Valve gives you five campaigns instead of four and they’re more atmospheric, better worked out, have more detail and animation, and you can work the maps in five different modes. As survivor, but also as infected where you get to hunt down and kill the four doushbags. The makers of Half-Life again show their strongest side and then you know you can expect best-in-class level design, finishing and replayability. Your walks through the game are now even less predictable and more varied so that there’s more to do than just alternating between walking and keeping up or defending a certain point. Also the characters got renewed and received more personality, more dialogue and therefore also add more comedy to the game. Nice!
The campaigns are this time set in the south of the US which means you get to shoot and shiver in some city environments, a swamp and a carnival that got out of hand. Also the weather does its best to add some atmosphere, and a burning sun as well as a powerful storm do their best to scare you to death. Of course you can also count on the undead opponents to put you at the edge of your seat. Standard opponents are sometimes tougher than before thanks to the fact that they tend to wear some protective clothing at times or move even faster than the usual cannon fodder.
Next to these “unusual usual” Infected there are also a handul new “special Infected” which bring more variation. Especially the Jockey is fun (he jumps on your back and takes control over the character) and also the Spitter and the Charger bring plenty of excitement. On top of that the Witches now head out so that you need to watch where you’re going even more.
Luckily you’re also better equipped. You finally get the possibility to get going with melee weapons, and which! From a sword to a frying pan, or by means of a crowbar or axe: ways enough to look zombies in the eyes and then chop off an arm or open up their tummy to watch their guts fall out. Not only can you control large groups of hostiles better, it also makes the game more tense.
Also the standard weapons got an update, but they don’t bring more additional variation than you’re used to. You also get some new gadgets like the defibrillator to give fallen partners a new change, and gear like inflammable ammo and slime bombs to mislead zombies. Great!
As said, there are five modes in which you can use all that good stuff. Next to the standard mode you can also immediately go into Versus or try out Realism. There a lot of aids are turned off. You’ll for instance no longer see where your friends are when they’re out of visual range. Also the opposition is tougher and you can kiss your friends goodbye when they die. Something for the die-hards that find the standard difficulty degree something for pussies.
Next to that there’s the Survival mode where you need to hang on as long as possible against never-ending waves of Infected, and Scavenge where you have to gather gasoline and take that to a central point while in the next round you need to prevent this while being in the skin of the Infected. Two good additions that only confirm that this package is very extensive and will bring forth hours of fun with or without your friends. But of course mostly with.
If may be clear: if you like shooters and co-op and have never played the first Left 4 Dead then this one is an absolute must. Those that do have the original will find more variation, better and more atmospheric campaigns, a more extensive amount of modes and content, and most of all a new load of fantastic and addictive (co-op) gameplay in this sequel. Get it!