Left 4 Dead 2 Xbox 360
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Released on 20/11/2009
BAFTA Winner! Twice the fear, twice the action, twice the excitement. The original Left 4 Dead was one of the scariest first-person shooters ever but the sequel leaves it for dead! You are one of four survivors desperately trying to escape an outbreak of the psychopathic Infected. Play on your own, or with friends online. Either way, your survival depends on teamwork. Left 4 Dead 2 features five new, terrifying and varied campaigns, plus new devastating melee weapons to let you get up-close and personal. There are even more vicious Infected types to battle too, a Scavenge game mode that introduces a new way to feel the fear online. The ‘Director’ mode has been overhauled too, to maximise your experience while adjusting the game to suit your skills.
With new characters, new campaigns, new game modes and new Infected, Left 4 Dead 2 is looking to go above and beyond the critically acclaimed original Left 4 Dead. Set in the deep south of the USA, you will take control of Nick, Ellis, Rochelle or Coach (he's cool) in your bid to survive the the mystery zombie outbreak.
But if you're thinking this is the same ride as last time you'd be wrong. With the addition of Melee combat and new special Infected, Left 4 Dead 2 will require better team work as you shoot, slice, whack, blast and run through each of the terrifying campaigns.
The Infected aren't the only ones having an upgrade. Meet the the AI Director 2.0. The AI Director controls weather effects, world objects and even has the ability to alter the paths available to you. Meaning you go where the director wants you to go.
But if you're a true hardcore gamer than take the ultimate challenge in Realism mode where ammo, health packs and fallen team mates are no longer highlighted meaning teamwork will be more important than ever as you fight with your friends to survive.
- More Campaigns - With 5 campaigns that vary in their setting and objectives, no game of Left 4 Dead 2 is the same!
- More Undead - The Boomer, Smoker, Tank and Hunter are joined by the Jockey, Spitter and Charger. Not only that but now the witch can wail and walk!
- Up close and Personal - Tired of taking out zombies from a distance, then get up close with the all new melee weapons such as the Cricket Bat, Crowbar, Fire Axe, Frying Pan and delightfully friendly Chainsaw!
- New Guns - You can now get your hands on more fire power to fight of the unrelenting horde such as the Silenced SMG, Chrome Shotgun, Assault Rifle and the Desert Eagle.
- And ACTION - The AI Director is more demonic now that it controls the Zombie population of the level and which paths will be available to you and your team. It even controls the weather.
- Making Friends - Louis, Francis, Zoey and Bill have been replaced for this installment by TV Reporter Rochelle, Mechanic Ellis, Conman Nick and Football Coach...Coach (Think Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince)
- New ways to play - With Survival supported out of the box, you'll also be able to challenge yourself with Realism and Scavenge modes.
This Left feels right
When asked about my favourite online game for the past year I've been saying 3 words; Left 4 Dead. For me Left 4 Dead (aka L4D) is THE online game due to its fast pace, unpredictability and use of team work throughout its co-op based campaigns. When L4D2 was announced I was excited but also wondered – could valve improve co-op brilliance?
Hell Yeah! Valve have taken what made L4D popular shined it up, added more game modes, more weapons and attacks and even added more undead fiends for you to fight. L4D2 has a very different vibe to the first L4D. L4D2 is set around the same point as the original but in the deepest south of America. The survivors, Nick, Rochelle, Ellis and Coach (Ledge) don't really know what's going on or who each other is, as proven in a lift in the first chapter of the first campaign.
Swap thing, you make my bat swing
There are five campaigns this time around; all of them not only different to each other, but very different from L4D. In L4D2 you'll find yourself blasting through an amusement park in Dark Carnival and wading through a swamp in Swamp Fever to name just two of the new and definitely more intense campaigns that await you.
Thankfully you're not going to take on the undead empty handed as Valve has added new weapons to the mix, from SMGs to grenade launchers. But despite the latest firepower, my new favourites are the melee weapons. In L4D the closest you had for melee was shoving, whereas now you can utilise cricket bats, crowbars, Katanas and even a chainsaw! If you preordered at GAME, you'll have been given access to the Baseball bat, me and the guys I've been online with can't help but cry “Batter up!” before sending a Zombie head sailing through the air.
Now you can utilise cricket bats, crowbars, Katanas and even a chainsaw!
If you thought L4D was easy, even on the higher difficulty settings, you'll be pleased to hear that valve has crafted a new mode called Realism. In this mode zombies are a bit more resilient to bullets and the helpful halos that show players through walls, weapons on the ground and friends in cupboards has now been removed. This makes L4D2 feel like a completely new game, as we could no longer run off on a Rambo spree for fear of being in capped and not found, which did happen.
Another mode to make its way to L4D2 is Scavenge mode. In this mode you'll work as a team to gather objects such as fuel cans while an opposing team of infected try to stop you. Scavenge really forces you to work as a team as players who favour the solo run will be easy prey for the human controlled infected.
So on top of the already established campaign and versus mode you also have the two new ones scavenge and realism. Is there anything else? Well yes actually.
Like the first Left 4 Dead, you can walk around the levels listening to audio commentary from the developers which is a nice touch, and should be a feature in most games. Another addition that I've not seen in a disc based game yet is Avatar Achievements. These achievements are primarily T-shirts, but one nice avatar extra is a med pack that you avatar will display (show off) to your friends.
Perseverance pays off
On top of that, there are improvements to L4D's underrated 4v4 Versus mode, which benefits from all of the gameplay features above, and gets Matchmaking on top. There's also Scavenge mode, which is a bit like King of the Hill; a team of survivors trying to gather fuel cans in an area while fighting off a team of four player-controlled infected. It's a fun diversion from the Campaign levels, and makes Left 4 Dead 2 even better value.
Many people thought it was too soon to release a sequel to the popular Left 4 Dead. Some feared it would be a hashed job, with little thought or imagination. This is not the case with Left 4 Dead 2. Everything feels better than the original; the crescendo moments are more varied and if possible more manic with mad runs and an over whelming amount of undead coming at you. At this point Left 4 Dead 2 can not be beaten for its laugh-out-loud dialogue, terrifying amd dash moments and its ability to make four strangers work together in the face of certain death amidst the horror of the zombie apocalypse.
- Melee Weapons make a welcome addition.
- New and definitely longer campaigns.
- New modes and infected are fantastic.
- L4D didn't get a great deal of DLC, hope this changes for L4D2.
- More dialogue and some cut scenes would have been nice.
- The Jockey. I HATE THE JOCKEY!!!!!!.
Left 4 Dead may have been full of zombies but the people who bought it weren't the only ones who found it scary - Valve was nervous too. The game demanded four people play online to get the full effect and while many games have four-player modes these days, few ever make them the whole point. The creators of this series may be responsible for several of the best first-person shooters of all time, but they still placed a lot of faith in us by taking this approach.
Fast-forward to the present day however, and Left 4 Dead 2 suggests the studio has thoroughly overcome all that. Whereas the first game was quite lean, with a few basic modes and simple concepts, the sequel is so bloated with cool ideas it's starting to resemble one of its own Boomers - albeit a sexy one with lots of gory new special effects and explosions.
On a basic level it's more of the excellent same: you control one of four survivors and fight through post-apocalyptic cities, slaying the undead until you reach safety. There are five campaigns this time and each takes you through a chunk of the Deep South - a shopping centre, New Orleans, a swamp and even a funfair. Versus mode is also back. The characters are new but they're functionally similar - they all spout one-liners depending on the situation, and they all play to harmless stereotypes.
But this is no mere expansion. For a start, your arsenal now includes melee weapons like a cricket bat and chainsaw. These replace the pistol when you pick them up. They mash the undead up something proper and eliminate the frustration you used to feel when you were swamped: now it's an excuse to swing a samurai sword around.
Plus those new campaigns are very different to the old ones, exhibiting lots more variety in locations and gameplay than the first game. Dark Carnival, for example, is a working funfair, with set-pieces built around a mixture of the zombie hordes and familiar attractions like a rollercoaster and, in finale, a rock band light show.
The Parish culminates in a breathless, violent and spectacular sprint across a huge suspension bridge piled with abandoned cars, while Dead Center forces you to run around collecting petrol cans to fuel an escape vehicle - rather than hunkering down to defend your position.
The hunt for petrol cans is also a prelude to a brand new game mode, Scavenge, in which survivors and infected face off in a more traditional multiplayer setting. The survivor team has to collect petrol and the infected team has to try and stop them, then once a timer runs down the roles are reversed. It's perilously compulsive and provides a good answer to the people who argued the first game's competitive mode, Versus, was a bit long-winded.
It's not the only new way to play Left 4 Dead either. Realism mode changes the nature of the campaign's difficulty by removing things like glowing halos around pickups and other players, so the only way to survive is to communicate and co-operate - to a degree that even very good players never had to before.
Dead and loving it
Were these the only new features in Left 4 Dead 2 it would still be one of the best games of the year, but of course they're not. You've also got new special infected (like the Spitter, who expectorates to accumulate, and the Jockey, who jumps on survivors and rides them into danger), new weapons, better Achievements, and an excellent selection of Survival maps.
In other words, Valve isn't worried any more, and you needn't be worried either: Left 4 Dead 2 is every bit the sequel the first game deserves.
It may require four players - or even eight in some modes - to get the most out of it, but none of the people who rock up will go away disappointed.
+ Addictive new campaigns.
+ Useful and hilariously gory melee weapons.
+ Scavenge mode.
- Single-player is a bit lonely.
- Easy to get lost sometimes.
- Safehouses rather few and far between.
Left 4 Dead 2 Review (25/11/2009)
This Left feels right
When asked about my favourite online game for the past year I've been saying 3 w…
Left 4 Dead may have been full of zombies but the people who bought it weren't the only ones who found it scary - Valve was nervous too.…
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