Review by WeeblsPie
"Valve delivers, again."
The announcement of a sequel to Left 4 Dead during E3 2009 came as a shock to many people. Left 4 Dead was the ace in the hole for Valve, not even a year old with a quickly expanding community. Nobody would have thought that Valve had plans to release a full sequel by mid November, only days after the anniversary of Left 4 Dead's release. People were outraged, many felt that Valve was abandoning the Left 4 Dead 1 community by failing to give them any additional content. Boycotts sprung up and people were sure that Left 4 Dead 2 would never live up to expectations.
To make a long story short, it did.
The graphics in L4D2 are pretty much the same as L4D1, with only minor improvements. Since L4D1 is still a young game, however, the graphics hold up well. You still get all of the detail one expects from a Valve game. You also get all of the gore you could want with no shortage of blood, guts, and dismembered limbs. It's what you would expect from a game about slaughtering hordes of zombies.
The sound in L4D2 is great. You have the sounds you would expect from the locale you are in, swamps, cities, carnivals, it's all there. The dialogue of the survivors is excellent and suits the characters perfectly, making for some memorable lines. The sounds of the infected work well and the use of the music cues for special infected are spectacular and help you know what is ahead. The use of sound during hordes and crescendo events provide for a unique experience. There are a few lines of dialogue that don't serve any real purpose and a few glitches that can be annoying, but nothing major.
The controls are this game are the standard controls that are used in almost every Valve game. I would have preferred to see some variability with the controls, but they don't let you down. Valve decided not to mess around with a good thing I suppose.
The story of the L4D series is pretty simple. The games take place after an infection sweeps the U.S. The population aren't really "zombies" in the literal sense of the word, they're simply infected with this mysterious virus. The only real background on the situation is provided in the graffiti found in the safehouses. Other than that, it's you versus the infected as you fight your way down to an evacuation point at New Orleans.
The gameplay is exactly what you would expect from a Valve game, superb. You get a whole new cast. Rochelle, a reporter. Nick, a con-man, Ellis, a mechanic and Coach, a coach. Each character has a developed back-story and different relationships with each of the other survivors, giving you a unique and realistic experience. You have the return of the special infected from L4D1, the boomer, the smoker, the tank and the hunter. You also get new special infected, the charger, the spitter, and the jockey.
You also get the return of the old weapons from L4D 1 along with the addition of new weapons, mostly variations on the old weapons. You do get the introduction of melee weapons allowing you to conserve ammo while putting yourself in the open.
The game takes place in a far different locale than L4D1. L4D2 takes place in the southeastern U.S. and the survivors travel from Savannah, Georgia through the swamps of Louisiana down to New Orleans. This involves them travelling through swamps, carnivals, and towns until they reach New Orleans. You get what you would expect from such a game. You fight through hordes of zombies to reach safehouses, you travel from safehouse to safehouse until you reach the finale. At the finale you hold out for a specific amount of time until evacuation arrives. It may sound pretty tame, but the finales make up for it. They involve attracting a helicopter with a rock concert, filing a stock car with gas so you can escape from a mall, defending your position in a flooded town and others. It does seem repetitive, but it is a very fun experience, especially combined with the...
The online in L4D2 is what will keep you drawn into the game. You have the standard 4 player co-op mode where you can run through the campaigns with other people, versus mode where you and 3 others can play as special infected against a group of people playing as the survivors, and the all new realism mode which requires you to have a headset. Online in this game will always provide you with a unique experience. The community does have its share of jerks, but the majority of the community is kind and willing to help new players.
In conclusion. Left 4 Dead 2 rose up to the challenge. It provides a new experience to an old idea. It is a well made sequel that deserves praise. If you like games that can give you a fun online experience, pick it up. If you have a group of friends and want a game that will pull you in, pick it up. If you liked L4D1 or anything by Valve, pick it up. You won't be sorry.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/20/09, Updated 12/23/09
Game Release: Left 4 Dead 2 (US, 11/17/09)
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