With frying pan in hand, I head out to face the hordes of living dead. Yay!
Left 4 Dead 2 is the sequel to one of last years most popular multiplayer games by Valve. The game is available on both the PC and the Xbox360. Upon announcing a sequel, the Left 4 Dead community was in uproar, thinking that it was too soon for a sequel and that the new content would be better added to the original game than released as a sequel. The L4D community has calmed down now and L4D2 is available in the shops. Was it worth the “sequel” status?
L4D2 is a zombie apocalypse survival game, for those that don’t know. The player takes on the role of one of four survivors of a mass infection that has turned the majority of the population into flesh hungry zombies. As a survivor, your objective is simple…stay alive. In the first game, this was accomplished by simply traveling from one safe house to another. I say simply, but the hordes of zombies standing in your way did their best to prevent you from reaching those rooms. You would be armed with various weapons, and the occasional health kit, and then you would have to blast a path through the undead to your destination.
This time around, things have changed. Firstly, there are a lot more campaigns to work through than the original. Secondly, there are more objectives to the game, creating what could almost be described as a storyline. The game is based in the southwestern region of the US, providing a much more varied backdrop than the original. From swamplands through to a particularly creepy carnival, the survivors will have to work a lot harder to survive. Making survival even more difficult are the three new special zombies. The Charger is a particularly fun adversary that will hurtle towards your group with the intention of grabbing one of our hapless heroes and pounding them. The Spitter is responsible for spewing acid everywhere, which will harm anyone standing in the acid filled puddles.My favorite is the Jockey though. This little blighter will jump onto a survivors head and steer them into harms way. Bless him!
Do not fear though, as you have been blessed with more ways to dispatch those nasty flesh eaters. There are a selection of new weapons available, along with some rather handy special ammo types that can be found occasionally within the levels. Most importantly, and giving the most fun, are the melee weapons. These can be carried in place of your infinite ammo pistols and come in a variety of different forms. From the frying pan to the guitar, the axe to the supremely bloody chainsaw, there is a melee weapon for everyone. If I had to be critical, I would say that the melee weapons seem to be unfeasibly powerful, but given the fact that the game is much harder this time around, survivors need all of the advantage they can get. Also new to L4D2 are the defibrillator and the adrenaline shot. The defib takes the place of the health kit and can bring a character back to life, and the adrenaline takes the place of the pain pills and gives the player a short lived boost in speed and strength.
The four new characters that can be played are more interesting this time around. They have been fleshed out and seem to have personalities. The random chatter from these guys, combined with the assorted graffiti plastered around, gives the game a feeling of continuity and provides insight into what is happening elsewhere in the world. The game has a much darker and grittier feeling about it aswell. This atmosphere of dread, combined with more difficult gameplay, makes the game much edgier and provides the game with many more genuinely tense moments than the original.
All of this is great, but the original game was known for its multiplayer mayhem. You will be pleased to hear that L4D2 has taken the impressive multiplayer modes from the original and improved them. Alongside the campaigns, which are fully playable in co-op mode (in fact, playing the campaigns with other humans is preferable, as the AI is one of the weak points of the game) there are a number of fun distractions to be had in the other modes.
Versus mode splits online players into two teams of four. Each team will then take it in turns to play as either survivors or infected. In this mode, the most fun is to be had playing as the infected and their various special zombies. The original specials are still available, the Tank, Smoker, Hunter and Boomer, alongside the new special infected. Survival mode makes a return with the exciting “stay alive as long as possible” gameplay. With twenty five different areas to play in and massive hordes of zombies to try and survive through, this mode provides plenty to entertain for hours. Then there is the new Scavenge mode, which is like a combination of the other two modes. Again, players alternate between the survivors and the infected, but this time around the survivors have the added pressure of collecting fuel for the generator to increase their survival time.
With every aspect of this game being playable online, L4D2 is one of the best multiplayer games out there. The new additions to the game make it all the more important to play together as a team. The whole host of new content, from levels to characters, new infected to new weapons, and the new multiplayer mode, easily make this worthy of being called a sequel and is far better than the original.
Left 4 Dead 2 is easily one of the best games of the year. If you played the original, you should be playing this already. Newcomers should waste no time and rush out to buy this now. You never know when the zombie apocalypse will arrive, you need to get your practice in now.