Since the launch of the original Left 4 Dead during the holiday gaming season of 2008, Valve has received an outcry of industry recognition for their excellence is crafting an engaging First Person Shooter experience set in the world of survival horror. However E3 2009 would prove to be the grounds for the shocking announcement that a sequel was in the works and set to appear one full year after the first title. Now in the unveiling of the latest entry in the series, Left 4 Dead 2 intends to strengthen the core elements of the first game while continuing to keep the cooperative play addictive and exciting. Here are a few reasons why now is the time to take out the infected.
Campaign and Gameplay:
Left 4 Dead 2 recreates the original formula of the first game by staging all the events within the southern region of the United States, including Savannah, Georgia and New Orleans, Louisiana. The new cast of survivors this time around includes Coach, a high school football coach; Rochelle, a TV network production assistant; Ellis, a witty mechanic; and Nick, a gambling conman. The initial goal of the cast is to successfully evacuate the infected regions by working together as a team and using safehouses to regroup. The story is set up into five campaigns or chapters as you progress through till the end. These campaigns include the following:
Dead Center– A Shopping Mall Setting
Dark Carnival– An Amusement Park Setting
Swamp Fever– A Bayou Setting
Hard Rain– A Rainy Setting
The Parish– A New Orleans Setting
Overall these new venues are pretty creative and not only allow you to learn more backstory about the main characters but also accurately portray how widespread the outbreak is. Every stage is completely abandoned leaving only you and the infected zombies to deal with. However, there are interesting elements throughout each stage, which make them more dimensional and less boring. The Dark Carnival stage makes reference to a band known as the Midnight Riders, which foreshadows the final wave of zombies you face while on stage at a performance arena. It would be completely easy to display these stages without any story elements, but Valve’s attempt to create further storylines shows their commitment to the content as a whole.
When it comes to gameplay mechanics, Left 4 Dead 2 raises the bar by including 10 melee weapons this time around. These new weapons include the following:
The inclusion of these melee weapons provides an added combat strategy for gamers. Often times you’ll end up being surrounded by enemies and these weapons will be more effective then guns. The most powerful melee weapon is the chainsaw, which is only limited by the battery life that you have to work with until it runs out completely. You’ll notice that when you do use these weapons the decapitations are gorier then before, adding to the fun factor. You’ll also be able to use at least one melee and one gun as your weapons inventory. Should you decide to use guns as your primary and secondary weapons then you’ll have many options to choose from along with different types of ammunition rounds hidden throughout each campaign. When wounded in battle, you’ll have the ability to revive fallen teammates by healing them. After dying though, you can only revive someone if you have a defibrillator kit. All of these aspects insure that teamwork must be the anchor to completing the game.
Multiplayer Features Galore: Left 4 Dead 2 outshines the original when it comes to multiplayer features. In edition to offering Single Player, Campaign, Versus, and Survival modes there is also the new Scavenge and Realism modes. The Scavenge mode offers a variation on versus mode, pitting teams of survivors and infected against one another as the survivors gather up to 16 gas canisters to maintain fuel in power generators. In many ways this is an expansion of the objective you complete when finishing the Dead Center campaign with the only exception that the gas is used to fuel your getaway car. However, players this time around may find satisfaction in playing as the infected. Several of the infected zombie bosses from the first game have upgraded abilities that are more damaging. The new infected included the Jockey, Charger, and the Spitter. The Charger stands out as the most dominant of the new in the sense that his charges knock you off course and you can be grabbed and pummeled into the ground. The Jockey provides a leaping attack that just as damaging and annoying to avoid.
The Realism mode adds a more realistic feel to the campaign. You are unable to see your teammates silhouettes and when dying only a defibrillator can revive you. There are less health packs scattered throughout stages and zombies appear more brutal in attack mode. Add in the fact that the Director A.I. has been improved and this easily assures no playthrough will ever be the same. Enemies may spawn in different places forcing you to change your strategy impulsively on the fly. The only advantage you have to make it through this mode is within your headset you use with other players. Communication becomes the centerpiece of getting the most out of Realism mode. On the surface, these modes are great editions to the package. Ultimately PC gamers will have a better advantage over Xbox 360 owners because they can make use of the modding community and create varied maps and enemies. Still it’s interesting to see what future downloadable content Valve will add to this already enticing package.
Left 4 Dead 2 continues to redefine the genre of Survival horror First person Shooters. In more ways then one this game is exactly what the first game should have been. Valve has promised to be more dedicated to offering more weapons and campaigns in the very near future. If you’re a die hard fan of the series then you absolutely can’t go wrong picking up this title.
NOTE: Should you decide to pick up this title, I highly recommend you pick it up at the reduced price of $35 as part of Best Buy’s Black Friday sale. With a deal like this you absolutely can’t go wrong.