Whether or not you thought we needed a sequel so soon, Left 4 Dead 2 is here. And with it comes a brand new setting, four new lead characters, and plenty of other additions that make the first feel like more like a demo than the full experience.
The gameplay is just as you remember it. Your goal in each campaign is to get from point A to point B, doing different objectives along the way to clear your path and eventually get to rescue. The concepts are the same, but with some radical new additions to the game, there are plenty more reasons to revisit each campaign.
Your A.I. buddies tend to not be too helpful, so we recommend playing with other human players. The co-op, especially with four people, is still just as addictive as it was in the first, and all five of the campaigns show a lot more variety than first’s.
There are several new additions to the game, but let’s start with the enemies. In every level, there is a new common infected scattered among the rest. In the Dark Carnival level, you have zombie clowns. In Parish, there are zombies in SWAT armor. They generally are a bit harder to take down than the normal zombies, but you will find yourself mowing them down pretty quickly in time.
There are also three new specials that can be just as dangerous as the original’s. Spitters shoot deadly acid at you and your allies. Jockeys jump on top of you and try to steer your character towards any kind of danger. And then chargers, well, charge at you and continue to slam you into the ground until you are rescued.
There are also new zombie-killing tools available as well. First, melee weapons are now in the game, and there are a lot of them, from a frying pan to a chainsaw. These replace your standard pistol and can be pretty useful in tight situations. Sometimes they can become your prime weapon during key zombie horde attacks. There are also new variations on the guns, and stuff like incendiary ammo that can very handy when taking on waves of zombies.
There are also other multiplayer modes outside of the co-op campaigns. There is versus, which pits a team of survivors against four players playing as the special infected, and a survival mode which is just as it sounds: survive as long as possible. The new game mode is scavenge, which has you trying to collect as many different items as possible before being wiped out by the infected. It’s addictive and might be the new preferred mode of play among many players.
Overall, Left 4 Dead 2 is a lot like the original, but with a enough improvements and new additions to keep you coming back for more. It is one of the best shooters of this year, and it will be one you continue to come back to for many months.
ESRB: Rated M for mature; rated for blood and gore, intense violence, and language
Pros: Amazing co-op; all five campaigns show more variety than the original game; new additions to the game are welcomed; scavenge mode is addictive; the A.I. director offers more challenge and ways of altering the levels
Cons: A.I. allies are still not too helpful