Left 4 Dead 2
I am super pumped today as I get to talk about one of my all-time favorite games, Left 4 Dead 2. The first game was a huge hit so Valve got straight to work to make this sequel happen. It is not a brand-new game, but it expands upon the original Left 4 Dead in pretty much every way you could imagine.
Meet the Squad
Like the first game, Left 4 Dead 2 features four playable characters. These characters are thrust together due to the zombie apocalypse that is happening. The characters this time around are Coach who is a high school football coach. Rochelle who is a TV production assistant. Nick who is a shady gambler and Ellis who is a mechanic. Like the first game the characters all talk to each other and this is something that I really do like. It gives you more back story on the characters and also fills you in on what exactly is going on.
What Is the Story?
There is a campaign in Left 4 Dead 2, but the game is not super story drive, but thanks to the chatter between the characters you do actually care about what is going on. The game is split into four different scenarios like before and there are also two extra DLC ones that you can play through. The first one is Dead Center and it has you guys stranded at a place that is supposed to be safe. The second one is my favorite, the Dark Carnival which as the name suggests is a theme park. Then we have Swamp Fever which is like you are in the bayou and the final one is called, The Parish which is set in an overrun city. There is some great variety to the different stages and each one is as you would expect made up of multiple levels that you need to survive through.
Meet the Undead
One of the things that I loved about the first Left 4 Dead was the zombies. Once again you have a ton of standard zombies to kill and the “boss” zombies also return from the first game. Left 4 Dead 2 though is kicking things up a notch by adding in some new special boss-type zombies for you to worry about. There is The Spitter, The Charger and the worst of the bunch, The Jockey! The Jockey is a nightmare to deal with as he jumps on your back and forces you into dangerous areas. Like in the first game these boss style zombies take teamwork to dispose of quickly and as safely as possible.
The Director Is Back
Left 4 Dead 2 brings back the director AI. This is improved over the first game. As well as changing the number of zombies that you encounter each time you play a stage. Director 2.0 also changes the level layout slightly by putting walls where you could once go and changing the weather and lighting. It makes each time you play it rather unique and fun and I often wonder how they would have expanded this had they made a third game.
Lots to Do, See And Kill!
The campaign is the main game mode. You can play on your own with bots, but you have to play this with other people to really see just how good and clever this game is. You have to work as a team there are no two ways about it. You cannot run off on your own in this game, your team needs you and more than likely you will end up dead. Versus mode is a multiplayer mode where one team gets to play as humans and the other gets to play as the special zombies in order to stop the people from getting through a stage. Survival is what it sounds like, you play on a map from the game and just see how long you can survive. Scavenge is a really neat mode that sees teams of 4 compete for fuel cans that are around the level. The idea being you need to power up your generator. What makes this tough is that as well as the other team, zombies are all over the place too!
I really do think that Left 4 Dead 2 is one of the best multiplayer shooters of all time. This game is an absolute classic and there is no reason at all why it should not be in your collection. It is so much fun and you will be amazed at how quickly the hours go by when you are playing this.
- One of the best multiplayer shooters of all time
- New special zombies are gross and awesome
- The story is great
- New characters are very interesting
- Makes you have to work as a team to succeed
- Where is Left 4 Dead 3?
- I really cannot think of another one!
Remember when we ail hated Valve last time? When they bundled Steam with Half-Life 2, and you had to download their game from a bottlenecked server? It was a ham-fisted, invasive, and unjustifiable coercion. Valve were literally turning the entire world into their sexual playthings, using our desire to play their new stupid game to make us install a lump of free software.
We came around, and there's not many of us who'd be without Steam; and until 2 June, if you wrote the words "Gabe Newell" on a sack of potatoes, a legion of love-struck PC gamers would hurl themselves at it, trousers off. The depth of Valve's fans' devotion can be measured by the stunned backlash, and dozens of disorganised petitions (some of which have gained thousands of signatures, others gaining around seven) demanding that Left 4 Dead 2 be released as free DLC.
Personally, I'm torn between thinking "Well, they did say they'd work on L4D a bit more, I suppose," and "Where the hell did we get this wretched sense of entitlement from?"
But, the perception was that they'd broken a promise - a promise to deliver free DLC for the first game. Valve have built a pretty big rod for theirown.back, in terms of previous generosity - but judging from their response since the announcement, it's not a rod they resent. L4D isn't being killed off - far from it as with the release of the SDK, there's likely to be an explosive proliferation of maps, models and mods on the horizon. Sure, some of it might be crap - but if Valve wanted to migrate everyone like helpless automatons into their new game, that SDK release would be an odd gesture.
Well, we've got a long way into a preview without mentioning the game, but the backlash has been as interesting as the game itself. Because L4D2, as much new content as there is, is still L4D. If you've played the first game, you'll be instantly at home in the second.
Chet Faliszek's unapologetic about that "I hate it when people make a sequel, and ruin what was so good about the first game". But to justify such a rapid sequel - especially from Valve, the kings of delay - we should probably address what you'll be getting for your money.
New Is Old
The characters are different: stranded reporter Rochelle, untrusting conman Nick, good ol' Southern boy Ellis, and football coach, erm, Coach. And the setting's changed to the Deep South, rather than a nameless city. But while the characters and locations are different, you're still fending off waves of infected-likes, and despatching the special infected as they turn up.
So, what's new? Well, the level that was open for play at E3 was called The Parish, and knowing Valve, it was handpicked to give a little, but not much, away. We saw the newly-mobile Witch, and I'm ashamed to say that I did a tiny freak out, and shot her.
Then there are the "uncommon common" infected, as Chet calls them. These guys wear Hazmat suits, making them invulnerable to the gasoline fires. The Hazmat character is the first revealed - a hooded, misshapen character who's visible in a crowd. He can soak up a couple more bullets than his common-common counterparts, but his main distinction is that he can't catch fire. Their bizarrely inflated hunchbacks may look weird, but you need that visual clue to know these guys aren't going to be bothered by a carefully shotgunned gas puddle or thrown Molotov cocktail.
Then there's the Charger - a lop-sided creature with one withered arm. This fellow is vulnerable to fire. But that's not always a good thing, as he likes to sprint and ram himself into you, stunning you and sharing the flame. This means in the sequel, fire won't be the unequivocal friend it used to be.
Melee weapons are another big addition. It might not feel like that much - every weapon hard a right-click melee attack in the first game, right? -but this time, it'll be much more than a push back. You'll be able to crouch down and chop a infected's legs off them (dismemberment has been improved, too), and knocking the Hunter off a buddy with the axe will trigger a change of perspective. There's a frying pan, too -a bit of evidence that Left 4 Dead isn't taking itself that seriously.
Melee weapons aside - the chainsaw wasn't playable at E3, and I only managed to get my hands on a frying pan - you'll be rewarded for exploration in the new game. Not with collectible stars, but with incendiary bullets. This is why fire had to be slightly nerfed -because when you find the incendiary ammo, you're briefly transformed into a flaming hosepipe of death, pan-frying the necrotized flesh of your assailants. These bullets aren't just lying around - they'll be tucked away by the Director in a level's less accessible areas, making them available only to dedicated foragers.
The locations of the campaigns in the first game was never made explicit, although it had a definite feel, in the same way Half-Life 2 was "a bit East European". Left 4 Dead2 is explicit: you're travelling from Georgia to Louisiana, over five, much longer, campaigns. This time, it's not the standalone movie-spoof missions we know from L4D - this is an overarching story, spread over larger campaigns.
This'll give Valve a chance to explore the relationships between the characters. The tailored interplay between the characters was one of the high points of L4D - every person had something unique to say to every other character, in most situations. If those relationships change over the overarching campaign (and it's being hinted that they will) we can only doff our caps to the effort Valve put into the "nice touch" aspect of a game. Will Rochelle fall in love with Nick?
But the biggest new start is the unseen Director - the malevolent, manipulative Al that ran its fingers down your spine, then yanked the veins from your forearms. She (I like to think of her as somewhere between GlaDOS and the Team Fortress 2 announcer) has been completely renovated. Her remit is no longer confined to controlling the ebb and flow of the hordes, and making a slight difficulty adjustment when you're really good or really pants. Now, she also controls the weather.
The action can shift from idyllic sunshine infected slaughter, to low-visibility thunderstorm infected slaughter in a matter of seconds. She can also change the layout of the level, making the route less straightforward, if it looks like you need slowing down.
Other differences feel a little more superficial, but do change the game: there are daylight campaigns, and the infected come apart in pleasing new ways. Chet seems keen on the idea of chopping an infected's legs off. These changes don't make the game any less tense - the first game wasn't tense because of the dusky purplish hues, it was tense because you had more infected than you could reasonably fend off, coming for your face. And that's not going to change. And remember, the Director could bring in the clouds for a mighty thunderstorm anytime... now.
Left 4 Dead 2 seems to be all about improving the first game; and Valve feel they've improved it so fundamentally, that it makes no sense releasing it as DLC for the original. And while the sum of $50 has seized the internet's imagination, Valve haven't set a price for it, yet.
Sometimes, the internet suffocates in its righteous idiocy, and sometimes, it has a point. But sometimes, it needs to acknowledge that it doesn't have enough information to fuel a justified rage. Like Chet's said - just give Valve a little bit of trust, at least until new information comes out.
Download Left 4 Dead 2
PC compatible, P-100
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode
Left 4 Dead 2 Screenshots and Media
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