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Incredible Follow Up

  • Nov 23, 2009
The first Left 4 Dead game was actually pretty incredible.  It was released last year, and as a result, the second one coming started quite a controversy.  It's nice to know that for once the controversy wasn't actually about the amount of violence in a video game.  Instead much of the controversy centered on Left 4 Dead 2 coming out a year later.  As well as people complaining that everything included in the game should've just been downloadable content for the first game (but they'll still flock to the new Madden game released every year...).  As a result there was a boycott against Left 4 Dead 2 that began.  As you might imagine... most people who said they'd boycott it... didn't.  Probably because it's so good.

In spite of that, Left 4 Dead 2 actually doesn't do an absurd amount of things differently from the first. As with the first one, you play the role of one of four survivors and play through campaigns fighting through a horde of zombies in an attempt to survive.  Each campaign looks a little like a cheesy movie poster on the loading screen with cheesy sayings.  For example the Dark Carnival Campaign has as a tagline: "You must be this tall to die!"  It's funny, though.  The game knows stuff like that is cheesy.  It isn't trying to be clever. 

Yet what may be a nice change for some is that the campaigns actually connect this time around.  They're not standalone stuff.  As a result you'll have to do them in a specific order.  Of course, there's not really a whole lot of importance to the story.  There's only one rule that applies here: Survive.  And to do so it means shooting anything and everything that moves... except your partners, of course (though if you're playing by yourself you just might want to). 

As far as playing the game itself goes, there's really not much that's changed from one game to another in terms of what you can do.  On the other hand, there are small tweaks made that do make the experience amusing in and of itself.  There are new types of zombies introduced and you can now use melee weapons like a bat, ax or even a Chainsaw, if you want.  They seem like really small changes but they're still quite rewarding in and of themselves as they make the experience different.  The difficulty has also been altered as well.  Left 4 Dead 2 is harder.  In some instances you may not feel quite as swarmed as you did in the first one, but you are dealing with smarter enemies, at least.  You'll still take several out with ease, but doing so isn't quite as straightforward as the first game.  And the first game was actually pretty difficult as well.  You're not dealing with super zombies.  Only with zombies that will actually do things like try to dodge your shots or run in more unpredictable patterns.

You'll go through the game mowing down your enemies with an unusually large arsenal of weapons.  You can't carry them all at once.  The game actually limits you... but that's probably a good thing.  On the other hand you'll find it incredibly hard to take advantage of.  Each campaign is divided into chapters.  Each chapter ends when you and company run into a safe room.  In each safe room is a chance to restock on ammo and weapons and medpacks.  All of this is important.  Especially those medpacks.  The chapters and the overall campaigns are actually longer than in the first game.  Not by a ton but they are.  You can only carry a little bit of you what you get.  For the most part you'll find enough ammo to take on anything, but you'll definitely only want to use your medpacks in case of emergencies.  The closest thing Left 4 Dead has to lives is watching your characters go down after all their life is drained.  Once down they get a chance to take down the undead until THAT life is gone.  Think of the Final Stand in Call of Duty Modern Warfare.  The difference is that a player can come by and revivie you.  This doesn't happen an infinite number of tmes.  Eventually you'll die for good.  And while in this "final stand" mode you can still be killed if the undead kill you or if no one revives you.

One of the biggest differences, actually, is how the finales in each campaign play out.  In the first one it usually consisted of you fighting off a huge horde of zombies.  Here there are actually things you have to do besides survive.  In one campaign, for example, you'll have to find gas to put into a car before you and your allies can get into the car and escape.  Until you fill up the car with gas, the zombies will just keep on coming.

There are four characters to take control of.  There's Nick, Ellis, Rochelle and the Coach.  All completely different characters from the first game in a whole new setting.  You can go about the campaign by yourself but you'll notice that the AI isn't nearly as sharp as they used to be.  In the first Left 4 Dead your AI wasn't perfect... but they were at least helpful.  Here the AI just isn't as smart.  It can actually be somewhat frustrating to deal with them.  They'll still do things like heal you when you need it and all... but if you're faced with the dreadful situation of having to be rescued by them you'll find that you're better off dead. 

At the very least the interaction between characters is still pretty good and lively.  If you shoot them you'll know as they'll chide you.  They'll call out when they're healing, scream for help when they're in trouble and sometimes in safe rooms they'll have side conversations for the moment.  Despite not really having a lot of story, you'll be surprised at just how well you'll get to know your characters.  The cast is very likeable.  Although the cast in the first game had more interesting interactions between one another.  

There's co-op in Left 4 Dead 2 as well.  Only two can go about the campaign offline, unless you want to link systems, but going online is perhaps one of the best experiences about Left 4 Dead 2.  You'll definitely learn the meaning of teamwork.  The game has been designed in such a way that it's straightforward... but you'll still have to communicate with your team mates.  You don't want to play Left 4 Dead 2 without a mic.  Not if you want to be able to get through the campaign in a more manageable way.  The multiplayer doesn't end there, of course.  You can still go into modes and play as the undead if you want up against your friends and all, and it's still a lot of fun to do.

One of the biggest complaints about the first Left 4 Dead was that each of the campaigns were short.  That still persist with Left 4 Dead 2.  On the other hand, that's really not quite so bad when you consider that the games have some replay value to them.  At the very least, Left 4 Dead 2 does have a longer campaign and it is harder.  But you might still find yourself able to complete all the campaigns in around five hours.  That's five campaigns that might take you an hour each.  The good news is, however, that even when replaying it isn't always the same thing twice.  Sometimes enemy placements are changed around, but you'll also notice the same tactic rarely works twice.  Although that mostly comes from your enemies coming from all over. 

Left 4 Dead was a fantastic looking game.  The second one... doesn't really look all that different.  It's awesome looking at the carnage and chaos.  The world has gone to hell and it definitely looks like it here.  On the other hand, those expecting the game to be a graphical step above the original will be disappointed to know this isn't the case.  For the most part it looks the same.  But it's not like the original needed any sort of graphical improvement to begin with.  The soundtrack has a bit of a sourthern flair to it that works out okay and the voice acting is absolutely incredible.  It's great stuff.

It has small changes that make bigger differences than what it appears.  On the other hand, the campaign is still, well, short.  Also, it's a little sad that there wasn't much more added in.  That doesn't mean Left 4 Dead 2 isn't worth it... but it definitely means that much of what you get wouldn't really suffice as just "downloadable content."

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January 07, 2010
I still haven't picked this game up because I have yet to renew my xbox live gold and 75% of the fun in this game is playing with others. Great review though and as soon as I get it I'll send you an invite so we can go on a zombie killing spree together.
More Left 4 Dead 2 reviews
review by . November 17, 2009
 My roommates and I have been playing since Rolsie and Cecily got back from Gamestop with their pre-ordered copy of Left4Dead 2.  The game is different, it packs much more puzzling boards, with strategies involving bringing characters back to life with defibrillators, beefing up ammo with incendiary rounds, explosive rounds, laser sights & a slew of new weaponry. First off, we've got new weapons:   Fire Axe crow bar Katana Sword Chainsaw Baseball Bat Cricket Bat Electric …
review by . November 26, 2009
posted in The Gaming Hub
The following game is a definite improvement over the previous game. While I cannot say it is one of the best games on the console, I definitely feel like they are moving in the right direction.     Before I go onward, I wanted to state that I am one of the many people who disliked the first game simply because of how lazy the game developers were. They created a game that resembled a minigame and should have been worth $20, not $60. And yes, I am angry that instead of adding …
Quick Tip by . November 17, 2009
This game has longer, more puzzling boards than the last one. More infected, more weapons: (incl: Melee weapons!). watch out 4 the spitter
About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #6
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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About this video game


Left 4 Dead 2 is the sequel to the best-selling and critically-acclaimed co-op multiplayer smash from Valve, creators of the Half-LifePortalTeam Fortress and Counter-Strike game properties. With multiple multiplayer options both on and offline, extensive AI custom functionality, four character options, new melee weapons and more, Left 4 Dead 2 promises to become one of 2009's best games on the Xbox 360 platform and set a new benchmark for co-op centric action games.


Left 4 Dead 2 game logo
Zombies coming for you in Left 4 Dead 2
Battle the infected again in the sequel to Valve's original hit.
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Co-op gameplay in Left 4 Dead 2
Superior multiplayer and co-op gameplay.
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Survivors using a mix of melee and firearms against zombies in Left 4 Dead 2
Utilize a mix of available weaponry.
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Left 4 Dead 2 is set at roughly the same time as the original – just after the outbreak that turned most of the population into various zombie mutants. Players assume the role of four new "Survivors," each with their own personality and new dialog. The game leads these "Survivors" through the southeastern region of the US - from Savannah, Georgia through the bayou country, and climaxing in New Orleans’ French Quarter.


Just as with the original Left 4 DeadLeft 4 Dead 2 is a first-person shooter which pits players against hordes of zombie-like enemies. As you would expect in a scenario where you are regularly surrounded by masses of the undead, it is very good thing to have plenty of ...

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Number of Players: Single player, Multi-player
Publisher: EA - Electronic Arts
Developer: Valve Corporation, Electronic Arts
Console: Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Mac OS X
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Release Date: October 5, 2010
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