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"[Preview] Left 4 Dead 2"

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Sun 15/11/09 at 23:07
Regular
"Ghosts Can't Die!"
Posts: 774
When I read reviews on a lot of sequels, I begin to notice a particular comment used many a time when criticising them. Something along the lines of “It’s good but doesn’t do anything drastically different from the original” appears which gets me thinking. For example with many originals come great sequels (Metroid Prime, Legend of Zelda, Madden) that have been commented on for doing nothing new at one point or another. The way I see it, if the original blueprint was so good in the first place why mess it up? Sometimes a revolution isn’t always the answer.

Left 4 Dead was perhaps my favourite title of last year and I have to say after trying out the new demo for its sequel and reading all about the hype surrounding it, that I’m glad things have remaining fairly similar to the original.

For those of you that don’t know what the Left 4 Dead series is about, let me start off by saying go out and get a cheap copy of the original! Secondly it’s a cooperative first person shooter that sees you and three other members (online or computer controlled) gun and literally beat down waves of zombies while making it from one safe room that may be in an apartment to another that could be several streets down in a pawn shop. If you’ve ever seen the sprinting zombies of 28 Days Later or the Dawn of the Dead remake (great movie by the way) then you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Those of you who have played will know all this and simply want to get to what exactly is new so let me move onto that.

New weapons are included with shotguns, magnums, snipers and the like all making an appearance. More interestingly though are the melee weapons that make their debut. Electric guitars, batons, frying pans and “Shaun of the Dead” inspired cricket bats can be used to dismember and batter the undead making for some interesting strategic decisions. Do I take two pistols or opt for the chainsaw? You’ll also come across injection needles that can give you a speed boost for a limited time (essential if wanting to make it past a huge pack of zombie real quick) or defibrillators that can bring a deceased member of your group back to life. These new additions didn’t come into play too much during the demo, but I’m sure in a five chapter campaign that at points they may become handy.

New ‘special infected’ also join the growing cast and bring with them some unique and challenging abilities to tackle. The Spitter for example… well… spits acid at you that will slowly eat away at your health, Chargers will barge you out of the way like pins in a bowling alley before smashing you onto the ground repeatedly and the extremely weird looking Jockey will jump on you back and try to steer you toward more danger. Then there are the ‘uncommon infected’ that have unique features about them in each campaign. During the demo for example some zombies appeared wearing armour which made taking them down a lot tougher unless shot in the back while later campaigns will include zombies dressed as clowns with squeaky shoes that attract more infected. Overall it sounds like there will be a lot of enemies to deal with making teamwork even more essential than the last game.

While the first Left 4 Dead wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, the sequel seems even tougher thanks to some new events that occur during the game. “Crescendo” moments in the original cropped up when you triggered an alarmed door or set off a huge explosion that would attract large waves of zombies. You had to then camp out and try to survive long enough to continue on your way. These moments return, but there are also some slight twists on them too. At one point in the demo my friends and I opened a door only to have an alarm go blaring off in the distance. Of course zombies came running shortly after and it was then up to us to run through a maze of fences to the off switch high up on some scaffolding all the while dealing with hundreds of infected. Others I’ve heard of include battling through streets full of cars that when shot set off an alarm making good accuracy a must. Another will see you repeatedly refuelling power generators to keep a set of lights running to signal for help. Not only do these points sound like they add variety, but also make for a tougher experience than the original.

Five campaigns will be in the final game and each offer a unique and interesting set of environments to go through. The demo version showed off a sunny town complete with a giant park and buildings to explore while others are said to include a carnival, sports stadium, swamp, shopping mall and even a campaign set during a torrential rainstorm. One complaint I had with the first game was the sometimes lack of variety in settings. The sequel already sounds like it’s got this covered.

I mentioned earlier that campaigns can now take place during daytime which is both good and bad in my eyes. Sadly it does make the game feel less tense as naturally night time and darkness is the common setting for horror games such as this. On the other hand though, while daylight settings don’t exactly change the way you play drastically, they do offer one small tweak. The witch, terrifying as she is simply just sitting in a corner sobbing at night, will now wonder around during the day making her even tougher to avoid and dodge. It may sound like a small addition, but after playing with my friends and battling through it really did feel nerve racking knowing during any heated battle with the infected, she could walk through at any moment and catch a stray bullet.

While you can work together just getting from one spot to another in the campaign mode, three other options are included to add some life to the overall package. “Versus” returns seeing four players control the survivors (who try and make it through each stage alive) and another four play as different infected (who try to stop them) as does the amazingly addictive “Survivor” mode where its literally a case of lasting as long as possible in one area against ever increasing waves of infected. The final inclusion is called “Scavenger” where the aim is for the survivors to collect canisters of fuel to keep power generators running while the infected either try to kill them all or destroy these fuel canisters themselves.

Overall Left 4 Dead 2 seems like it improves on the original in pretty much every department. It has more levels, more modes, more guns, more zombies… and well more everything. While I’m not expecting the ground-breaking experience I once had when I first played the original last year, I am expecting some frantic and fun times online with my friends and at the moment, I’m sure that will happen.
Mon 16/11/09 at 21:31
Regular
"Peace Respect Punk"
Posts: 8,069
I write a preview of this only to find not one, but TWO already up here! Ah well, I'll post it in a minute...
Sun 15/11/09 at 23:07
Regular
"Ghosts Can't Die!"
Posts: 774
When I read reviews on a lot of sequels, I begin to notice a particular comment used many a time when criticising them. Something along the lines of “It’s good but doesn’t do anything drastically different from the original” appears which gets me thinking. For example with many originals come great sequels (Metroid Prime, Legend of Zelda, Madden) that have been commented on for doing nothing new at one point or another. The way I see it, if the original blueprint was so good in the first place why mess it up? Sometimes a revolution isn’t always the answer.

Left 4 Dead was perhaps my favourite title of last year and I have to say after trying out the new demo for its sequel and reading all about the hype surrounding it, that I’m glad things have remaining fairly similar to the original.

For those of you that don’t know what the Left 4 Dead series is about, let me start off by saying go out and get a cheap copy of the original! Secondly it’s a cooperative first person shooter that sees you and three other members (online or computer controlled) gun and literally beat down waves of zombies while making it from one safe room that may be in an apartment to another that could be several streets down in a pawn shop. If you’ve ever seen the sprinting zombies of 28 Days Later or the Dawn of the Dead remake (great movie by the way) then you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Those of you who have played will know all this and simply want to get to what exactly is new so let me move onto that.

New weapons are included with shotguns, magnums, snipers and the like all making an appearance. More interestingly though are the melee weapons that make their debut. Electric guitars, batons, frying pans and “Shaun of the Dead” inspired cricket bats can be used to dismember and batter the undead making for some interesting strategic decisions. Do I take two pistols or opt for the chainsaw? You’ll also come across injection needles that can give you a speed boost for a limited time (essential if wanting to make it past a huge pack of zombie real quick) or defibrillators that can bring a deceased member of your group back to life. These new additions didn’t come into play too much during the demo, but I’m sure in a five chapter campaign that at points they may become handy.

New ‘special infected’ also join the growing cast and bring with them some unique and challenging abilities to tackle. The Spitter for example… well… spits acid at you that will slowly eat away at your health, Chargers will barge you out of the way like pins in a bowling alley before smashing you onto the ground repeatedly and the extremely weird looking Jockey will jump on you back and try to steer you toward more danger. Then there are the ‘uncommon infected’ that have unique features about them in each campaign. During the demo for example some zombies appeared wearing armour which made taking them down a lot tougher unless shot in the back while later campaigns will include zombies dressed as clowns with squeaky shoes that attract more infected. Overall it sounds like there will be a lot of enemies to deal with making teamwork even more essential than the last game.

While the first Left 4 Dead wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, the sequel seems even tougher thanks to some new events that occur during the game. “Crescendo” moments in the original cropped up when you triggered an alarmed door or set off a huge explosion that would attract large waves of zombies. You had to then camp out and try to survive long enough to continue on your way. These moments return, but there are also some slight twists on them too. At one point in the demo my friends and I opened a door only to have an alarm go blaring off in the distance. Of course zombies came running shortly after and it was then up to us to run through a maze of fences to the off switch high up on some scaffolding all the while dealing with hundreds of infected. Others I’ve heard of include battling through streets full of cars that when shot set off an alarm making good accuracy a must. Another will see you repeatedly refuelling power generators to keep a set of lights running to signal for help. Not only do these points sound like they add variety, but also make for a tougher experience than the original.

Five campaigns will be in the final game and each offer a unique and interesting set of environments to go through. The demo version showed off a sunny town complete with a giant park and buildings to explore while others are said to include a carnival, sports stadium, swamp, shopping mall and even a campaign set during a torrential rainstorm. One complaint I had with the first game was the sometimes lack of variety in settings. The sequel already sounds like it’s got this covered.

I mentioned earlier that campaigns can now take place during daytime which is both good and bad in my eyes. Sadly it does make the game feel less tense as naturally night time and darkness is the common setting for horror games such as this. On the other hand though, while daylight settings don’t exactly change the way you play drastically, they do offer one small tweak. The witch, terrifying as she is simply just sitting in a corner sobbing at night, will now wonder around during the day making her even tougher to avoid and dodge. It may sound like a small addition, but after playing with my friends and battling through it really did feel nerve racking knowing during any heated battle with the infected, she could walk through at any moment and catch a stray bullet.

While you can work together just getting from one spot to another in the campaign mode, three other options are included to add some life to the overall package. “Versus” returns seeing four players control the survivors (who try and make it through each stage alive) and another four play as different infected (who try to stop them) as does the amazingly addictive “Survivor” mode where its literally a case of lasting as long as possible in one area against ever increasing waves of infected. The final inclusion is called “Scavenger” where the aim is for the survivors to collect canisters of fuel to keep power generators running while the infected either try to kill them all or destroy these fuel canisters themselves.

Overall Left 4 Dead 2 seems like it improves on the original in pretty much every department. It has more levels, more modes, more guns, more zombies… and well more everything. While I’m not expecting the ground-breaking experience I once had when I first played the original last year, I am expecting some frantic and fun times online with my friends and at the moment, I’m sure that will happen.

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