Game Review: Left 4 Dead 2

Though a sequel, Left 4 Dead 2 is not a sequel in the traditional sense. It takes place in the same world as Left 4 Dead, but this one takes place in the Southern States. It features all new survivors to play as, new weapons, and new types of infected zombies. In press releases developer Valve Software said that after the release of Left 4 Dead they were coming up with all sorts of ideas to make the game better, and hence the development of Left 4 Dead 2. They succeeded.

Veteran L4D players are going to have an easy time getting into L4D2. It offers the same fast paced action as the original game, but this time with a little more punch. The variety of weapons has more than doubled. It won’t take long to decide upon your favorites. Even better, L4D2 introduced melee weapons. Now this might not sound like a good idea, after all how are you going to take on a hoard of zombies with a baseball bat, or a frying pan, or a ninja sword, or even better, a chainsaw? In answer to that question, pretty damn well. Melee weapons are not dinky knives, or fists as seen in many games, they are tools that deliver a lot of damage to a lot of zombies at a time. When surrounded by a pack of zombies, often whipping out your melee weapon and taking a whack at them is the best way to get them off of you. Not to mention that in general the melee weapons are a hell of a good time.

L4D2 also introduces new types of scenarios. In the original game the finale for each episode consisted of fighting a huge hoard of zombies, while waiting for some type of rescue to come. Some episodes still have that in this game, but new finales have been introduced. For example the finale of the first episode consists of filling up a car with gas cans as fast as you can in order to escape.

As mentioned above the survivors are new as well. L4D2 introduces Coach, Nick, Ellis, and Rochelle. Each with a unique, and comical personality. Nick is the sarcastic one. Ellis is the redneck. Coach is the bad-ass. Rochelle is the scaredy-cat. All of them seem to be highly trained in weapon use. It won’t take long to decide on your favorite character. Their personalities are much more fleshed out, and more entertaining than the characters in the original game.

Another new feature is daylight scenarios. None of this “zombies don’t come out during the daylight” like you might see in zombie movies. They aren’t vampires after all. Quite of few of the episodes are still set during the night, but daylight adds a little more interest to this game. Further, daylight actually has an effect on the zombies, as witches wander around during the day, instead of just curling up in the fetal position and cyring like they do at night. It also features some other interesting weather effects. The episode “Hard Rain” features a rain storm so bad, it’s any wonder how the survivors are going to get out of it. You can barely hear other players over the microphone when the storm really acts up. And the real beauty of it all, is that none of these things are annoying, they make an extremely fun game.

The game is highly action packed, but the violence hasn’t even been mentioned yet. This could possibly be the most violent and gory game to date. Zombies are getting their body parts dismembered left and right. Heads are exploding. Pipe bombs blow zombies in half, vertically. Arms and legs are literally flying everywhere. Any gamer that needs of fix of violence is going to love this game. The funny thing about it too, is that nothing can be taken seriously in this game, it’s too funny to take seriously. Sure it’s violent, but in a way that is part of the comedy.

Co-op team play is even more important in this game than ever before. Many of the levels are more wide open, and a special infected such as a smoker or jockey can quickly get teammates separated from each other, so sticking close together is a must. Also the game introduces a new difficultly setting called realism in which you can’t see your teammates’ IDs, so if they get separated it is going to be very difficult to find and rescue them if necessary. It’s also much easier to experience friendly fire in this mode. Voice communication is key. No gamer should be in this game without a microphone.

Left 4 Dead 2 is going to satisfy anyone interested in a co-op, action packed experience. There is nothing more satisfying than barely making it into a safe-room and thinking to yourself, “And that’s how you do it!”.

Rating: 91/100

Alternatives: Left 4 Dead, Duke Nukem 3D