Should I Buy? – Left 4 Dead 2


Pretty much everybody’s putting zombie or suspiciously similar substitutes in their games these days. They’re an easy enemy to make and justify. You don’t need to program any intelligence to them and you’re not gonna kick up any controversy or moral questions by having players blast a creature of folklore into bloody chunks.

Well Valve, of Steam, Half Life, Team Fortress and Portal fame (who doesn’t love Valve?) got in on the action too with a pair of zombie blasting games. Both are very similar mechanically, but I’m more familiar with the second one so that’s what I’ll be talking about here.

The game is a first person shooter in which you take the role of one of four survivors and attempt to blast your way through one of five campaigns. There’s the jerk of an ex-con with a mysterious past Nick, the dim but good natured Ellis, the loud, angry black guy Coach and Rochelle whose…well, rather lacking in the personality department.

If you’re playing single player, or local 2 player co-op then the other roles are filled by bots who are competent, if limited. For example, they won’t use melee weapons. These are perfectly fine to play with, and they will rarely if ever be a load you have to carry.

In each campaign, you work your way through several areas until you reach a place from which you can be evacuated while fending off hordes of Infected. The campaigns each have their own setting and challenges, so none of them feel repetitive or rip-offs of the others.

The weapon choice is simple, you get pistols, assault rifles, shotguns, rifles and melee weapons of varying strength. Each is useful for different situations, and lets you approach combat in different ways. There are a few other unique weapons like chainsaws and grenade launchers that the game’s A.I. ‘Director’ throws up for you.

Speaking of the Director, it’s what keeps each replay feeling fresh. The Director changes the location and frequency of enemy and item placements. If you take down the Horde with big guns at every opportunity, it’ll throw more at you. If you’re doing too well, it’ll spawn one of the dreaded Special Infected to take you down.

L4D2 never feels like a typical shooter, so you don’t have to be an FPS fan to enjoy this. I’m a gamer who plays multiplayer as an exception rather than a rule. L4D2 is one of the games that I enjoy playing with friends. Unfortunately local co-op is only two player, if you want a full group you’ll have to brave random online gaming.

And those Special Infected I mentioned earlier? They really break up the monotony of zombie killing. Each poses a unique challenge to you and your team, requiring you to move out of your usual tactics to face them.

This is a difficult one to say something constructive about. I don’t want to go too far into explaining the mechanics, but criticisms aren’t very forthcoming and the game isn’t exactly innovative. If you want a fun game to play with friends, or a dedicated zombie shooter or hell, just something that’s fun to play then L4D2 is a blast to play.

 

Price:  £15 (XBOX 360 -CEX Price)

£12 (PC – CEX Price)

£14.99 (Steam Price)

 

EXTRA – As of the time of writing, L4D2 is on a 33% sale on Steam, along with a four pack that gives you three copies to gift to your friend, a pack bundles with L4d1 and as part of the Valve Complete Collection.

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