Left 4 Dead 2
Left 4 Dead 2 came out about a single year after the original. This had many people up in arms accusing Valve of snapping out a game before it could possibly be ready to make a quick buck. Folks were worried it would be the same game, just perhaps a different setting and new characters to play as. Others were convinced Valve could pull it off and create another hit game wherein the reward is a satisfying twist on the zombie apocalypse. So is Left 4 Dead 2 just a cheap cash in? If so, is it worth your money? Or did Valve pull a fast one over its customers? The answer is…. A bit of a yes and a no. The yes is, it’s NOW worth your money . The no is, it is more or less the same game as its predecessor with some twists here and there. In this review I’ll discuss why it may or may not be worth your money while explaining why it wasn’t worth the $60 bucks it asked for upon release.
Left 4 Dead 2 Story
First up with Left 4 Dead 2, the overall plot. But surprise, this actually isn’t a complaint for me. The premise of the original was simple and to the point, and just about perfect for what the developers were going for. You and three other survivors must get from point A to point B by navigating through a mob of zombies ranging in the hundreds, all while blasting them full of lead and watching each other’s backs. It promoted cooperative gameplay in a way few games could. In Left 4 Dead 2, as I said, you must get from point A to B, shotgun, rifle, pistols, and chainsaw in hand. The genius is in its simplicity. It’s a game for those who just want to kill some zombies in style.
Left 4 Dead 2 Trailer Youtube vid by Ve3troGamesMedia
Left 4 Dead 2 Chainsaw
Now for one of the most noticeable things about the game. In Left 4 Dead 2 players can now bust some heads, or squash, or decapitate, whichever they prefer, with brutal melee weapons. My personal favorite is the chainsaw, but then again whose isn’t. If the chainsaw isn’t available, I like to tap into my Samurai heritage and take a katana to their throats. There’s also electric guitars, baseball bats, golf clubs, machetes, and crowbars. This adds an exciting new element to gameplay as players must choose between wielding a sidearm or the melee weapon. Which is best? Neither. It depends on the player’s play style and the situation. If you run out of ammo for your primary weapon, double pistols are the next best thing. If you’re surrounded by a horde of zombies, a nice katana or crowbar can help with crowd control. And while there may be some added risk getting up close and personal with those pesky undead, there is just something therapeutic about decapitating a zombie or sawing it in half with a chainsaw. Also, new to the game are more items to help aid the survivors such as a defibrillator, adrenaline shots, and even a boomer vile that, once thrown, the infected will swarm where the bile substance bursts, allowing the survivors to neutralize them while they’re distracted.
Left 4 Dead 2 Levels
Left 4 Dead 2 has seen some improvements in its levels. The graphics themselves won’t knock your head back, but that’s not what these games are known for. There is more diversity, meaning there is more to contend with as even the environments themselves act as an enemy. Without revealing too much, there are parts of the game where the environment will make it hard to see where you’re going and where the zombies are coming from. Other times there are things all around the player that, when touched, will alert hordes of infected.
Left 4 Dead 2 New Weapons
There are some new guns to add to the survivors’ arsenal. However, while there are many, most feel like slight variants of the guns already available to the players and don’t really change up the way the game is played like the melee weapons. But hey, most wouldn’t complain about more variety. Choose what matches your style. Do you like the powerful yet inaccurate AK47? Prefer guns with a three-round burst? Are you the sniping type but wish you should shoot with the speed of a semiautomatic? Or do you prefer your trusted sidearm but wish it had a much needed kick to its firepower? Pump infected with an auto shotgun? Left 4 Dead 2 is more than happy to accommodate you. Plus, all of the old favorites are back for your infected-killing pleasure.
Left 4 Dead 2 Gameplay Youtube vid by JNRoDz
Left 4 Dead 2 New Special Infected
One of the best things in Left 4 Dead 2 is the addition of new Special Infected. As one might expect, these new infected add to the already chaotic chaos that the first game is known for. Now, I’ve given up more than I intended with this review already, but just know, the new infected will keep you on your toes and each requires even more cooperation between the survivors as many specialize in isolating and picking the survivors off one by one.
Left 4 Dead 2 Online the Only way to Play
In terms of online gameplay. Left 4 Dead 2 is nearly identical to the first game. Players can fight through the levels together, which is how I or just about anyone will recommend you play the game as it’s better than with the computer. Remember, just like the previous game, half of what Left 4 Dead 2 is about is creating an online experience that rewards the players for working together and helping each other survive. Versus mode makes a return which pits one team controlling the survivors, and the other controlling the special infected. With the added special infected and weapons at the survivors disposal, versus mode is more of a sandbox of mayhem than ever before.
Left 4 Dead 2 Final Verdict
So now we come to it. I realize most of what I said sounds like this is a game far and away from its predecessor. And perhaps it is on the surface, at the tip of the iceberg. But in reality, all the changes are actually minor. Much of what is new in the game feels a bit hollow and rushed. I’m sure better weapons could have been conceived, and most are more or less the same as the original weapons. The levels themselves are almost exactly the same in layout. And though even the director has seen some improvements, besides a few new elements in the design, the levels just don’t feel all the different. The new infected at a welcome twist and force the survivors to work more in tandem with each other. But some new modes would have made the game better. And ultimately, everything else in the game is identical to the first game both in function and in execution. My opinion? Left 4 Dead 2 could have used some more time and changes with a bit more substance and thought. That being said, for what the game goes for now, the new additions make this game more than worth digging into your wallet for some extra cash. The final verdict for Left 4 Dead 2 is a strong 7 out of 10. It was just too little, too soon, to score as high as the revolutionary original.