Hands On: Left 4 Dead 2
Thursday 29 October 2009
Format: PC, Xbox 360
Release: 20 November
‘What’s that,’ you say. ‘Has hell frozen over, or is Valve publishing a sequel within just a year of the original title’s release?’ Indeed, it may well be that Satan is skiing to work these days as Valve, notorious for their lengthy development time between sequels (just look at the six years separating Half-Life and its sequel), is gearing up to unleash Left 4 Dead 2 on us already.
Anyone familiar with last year’s Left 4 Dead will feel instantly at home with its sequel. In the action stakes not a lot has changed: you’re still one of four survivors of a zombie apocalypse and you’ve naught but your weapon, your wits and your fellow survivors to aid your survival across the game’s episodes. What is new is a greater variation in zombies (or ‘infected’ as they’re known in the game), five new episodes to survive through, a more involved mêlée combat system and something Valve are calling ‘AI Director 2.0’, which improves the variation in zombie placement amongst other things seen in the original game.
Scenario ‘The Parish’ was available to play at the event - the same scenario seen in the demo. Having played the previous Left 4 Dead to death – or should that be undeath? – the bloodiness of the game is the first aspect to really stand out and is particularly prominent when dispatching zombies with the various hand-to-hand weapons. Heads will be cleaved in two and limbs hacked off by the swing of a machete, samurai sword and even an electric guitar. Each blow sent reams of blood splattering, particularly appropriate to Halloween and fully deserving of the game’s 18 certificate. The close-combat weapons worked well and though they felt slightly tempered by the sheer speed of the infected hordes – which seemed faster moving than those in the original game – proved a satisfying addition.
New to the ranks of the ‘infected’ are the Charger, Spitter and Jockey boss characters. The Charger is built similarly to the Tank boss character from the original game and lives up to its name by pelting into survivors knocking them for six. The Spitter, as you might imagine, spits venom at the survivors causing burn damage, while the Jockey – perhaps the most amusing infected – jumps on to the back of unlucky survivors causing incapacitation until a colleague shoots it off. The previous five boss characters: Smoker, Hunter, Boomer, Tank and Witch all make appearances too. Finally, there’s the ‘uncommon common infected’ which vary from scenario to scenario. In ‘The Parish’ scenario, these were in the shape of a fallen riot policemen, still clothed in full body armour and hence much harder to take down than your average grunt.
From first impressions Left 4 Dead 2 is shaping up to be every bit as good as the original and in fact looks like a significant improvement. The improved AI director looks like vindication enough for the release of a sequel rather than the release of add-on material for the original game. Each scenario benefits from increased variation in weather effects, night and day rotations and even alternative routes; something the original game would have greatly benefited from. All signs point towards another classic, so grab a baseball bat and prepare yourself for a second zombie apocalypse.
Life & Style blogs
Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
Facebook attacked over dead relative photos in 'Year in Review' slides
Grim second life of the 'breastaurant': The oft-loathed sector is booming in the States thanks to Hooters, Twin Peaks and Tilted Kilt
PlayStation Network still partly down after hack, but fixes in place
Anti-smoking adverts accused of 'scaremongering'
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Douglas Carswell tells Ukip to stop blaming foreigners as youth poll shows Nigel Farage is even less popular than Nick Clegg
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
- 5 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...
£30000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a Web Developer looking...
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...