A gamer who says they don’t like zombie video games is a gamer who is lying. Zombies are everywhere and we can’t get enough of them. Even when a game’s only redeeming quality is that it has zombies in it gamers buy it. Left 4 Dead is a game that millions bought, despite it being much less than what it could have been. I have maintained that the first game was not really worth the praise it got, and do to this day, despite owning the game. Left 4 Dead 2 is the sequel to the original game developed by Valve and published by EA for the Xbox 360 and PC.
First and foremost this is not an expansion by any means, if anything Left 4 Dead 2 is the game that Left 4 Dead 1 should have been. Eight new firearms, nine devastating melee weapons, upgrades for guns, five new maps, new characters, and new zombies. The additions to this game make it feel like an almost entirely new game. Left 4 Dead 2 is to the original game as Portals is to Narbacular Drop.
The firearms, while many might seem extremely similar, are vastly different, although the differences might not be so readily obvious. The melee weapons in particular add even more of a variety in what you carry, and twice as fun as the fire arms. I often find it much more entertaining to find a cricket to beat zombies with largely due to it being more cathartic than something bladed, like a katana, although most melee weapons are often on equal grounds.
Half of what makes these new weapons more entertaining is the increased level in detail to the game’s graphics, namely the gore. Headshots, decapitation, limb severing, and even skinning zombies are all possible in great detail, which is sometimes a little too detailed. It’s impressive, but I can’t help but feel bad for the male zombies when they experience the unfortunate situation of a crotch shot.
The main campaign is different from the first, in that there’s a story that is cohesive and actually makes some sense. There isn’t much in the way of story, but there seems to be a conscience attempt at making the sections between each campaign as small of the major plot as possible, and much of the story(what little there is) progresses with in the game. The characters meet and get to know each other in the first campaign and much of what you learn about them comes mostly from the often humorous back and forth dialogue with in the game. Not a huge narrative leap, but much better from the first.
When the campaign was said and done in the first game there was versus, which consisted of mostly playing the campaign but with other people playing as special infected. It was entertaining, but not incredibly fun as the hunter is usually your most played zombie. With the new game comes new special infected in both the campaign and multiplayer. Three new zombies, with the old ones adds a much need sense of variety with in the versus mode.
Charger, Jockey and the Spitter are all classes which, while in large modified version of the old zombies, are a great addition that makes playing as the special infected more than just a frustrating repetitive experience like it once was. The addition of the scavenger mode just helps this more by giving you more than just all of the campaign to play creating a more competitive environment within the versus mode.
The game’s ultimate flaw is in it’s focus, which is largely online. Single player is boring and does not compare to the game’s online modes. However having Xbox live and friends remedies this as nearly everyone of the game’s mode allows for online multiplayer. It’s not suggested to get this game if you do not have Xbox live or friends to play with.
I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Left 4 Dead 2 is what Left 4 Dead 1 should have been. The addition of several weapons, new equipment, new special infected and the entirely new melee weapons bring together a game that feels far more complete than it’s predecessor. The game’s main flaw doesn’t lie with in the gameplay, but would mostly fall on the consumer’s hands if they lack online or friends to play this game with, as solo-play is quite weak. If you liked Left 4 Dead 1, you have this game. If you enjoyed it but thought it could use some work, get the sequel. If you like zombies and first person shooters but don’t own the first game, then skip it and get the sequel. If you have a PC that can play it, I’d suggest getting it for that but otherwise the Xbox 360 version is still a blast.
But that is just my view. I was impressed by L4D2, not so much by L4D1. Did you like one more than the other? Are you in the camp of thinking this is just an expansion made to milk more money out of the consumers? What’s your favorite level?