Left 4 Dead 2 Review
The sequel to the original Left 4 Dead, creatively deemed Left 4 Dead 2, was released exactly a year after the first part and offers the player new options, new zombies, new campaign maps, and most importantly, a wholly new atmosphere. The dark and fearful northern states of the original L4D are replaced with the sunny south of the United States. In the single player campaign, the four survivors (including the player) must run through the state of Georgia to New Orleans, to a place where the military are supposedly evacuating those who survived.
This ‘expansion pack’ is exactly like an expansion pack should be. Besides everything that’s new, e.g. the three new zombies, which have changed the strategy (but not gameplay!) beyond recognition, you can see the good old zombie apocalypse ideas, albeit turned in a new direction. Valve’s new ideas were worked out to perfection, and the result is a dynamic, interesting game. Even Team Fortress 2 players have a reason to play Left 4 Dead 2. For example, the new Scavenge game mode is very similar to the classic Capture The Flag, albeit it is also quite like the classic Versus mode from the first L4D. In this new game mode, you have to run around in seizure-like motion and gather stuff that you need to deliver back to the center of the map.
Remember the annoying campers in the first Left 4 Dead? I certainly do, and the memory alone makes my inner child weep. In L4D 2, camping in the corner is rendered useless, because one of the new zombies, The Spitter, seems to be MADE for getting rid of them pesky campers – this zombie can spit out a green fluid which consumes health points faster than you can spell ‘geomorphology’. The other two zombies are also quite adventurous and specific. There is The Jockey, which, as the name implies, is a jockey. He (it) works by jacking a human player and making it run towards a certain direction. There is also The Charger, which is hideously overweight and can separate the players by rushing in and stomping a human player away with a huge crash.
The new maps won’t change the strategy in the new Left 4 Dead; the new zombies will. Although they make zombies from the previous game close to artifacts of sort (pay my respects to Hunter… it was the best zombie I’ve ever seen in video games), the new zombies have made the strategy pretty intuitive – and the gameplay becomes bizarrely funny because of that. For example, a Charger can separate an unlucky individual from the pack of survivors, but a Jockey can then lead the unlucky individual to a place where you wouldn’t want to spend more than a few seconds – an acid pit (courtesy of Spitter).
To be blunt, the four new survivors are boring. The only one that stands out from the pack, is Ellis, the mechanic from Georgia. Although Valve couldn’t possibly make L4D even half as enjoyable in terms of fun as Portal, because L4D2 is ultimately a horror game, Ellis’s jokes are utterly funny! Other characters are pretty pale, and it’s bad for single player, but the stupid A.I. is even worse; it sometimes seems that the player would even be better of by himself than surrounded by computer-controlled ‘teammates’, which seldom do something remotely useful.
Other than that, the game is fun. The graphics aren’t that good, but, as the accent is set to multi-player gaming, Valve did great with Left 4 Dead 2, even in visual terms. By preserving the precious gameplay of the first part, and not setting the system requirements too high, Valve did a lot to make this seemingly complicated team FPS game available to the masses, and that’s what so great about this zombie survival – an accessible, fun game that still has a lot of depth to it.