Holy Crap I bought Left 4 Dead 2? … am I the only one?

So around Christmas time I was tooling around Amazon.com. Christmas shopping for family, and of course I ended up buying for myself. I found Left for Dead 2 for 48 dollars, and free shipping. Hell yeah! The game had only been out a couple weeks, and it was already being discounted online. Partly because of Christmas deals. Partly because the beast that was Modern Warfare 2 was released the week after L4D2 (or so I’m thinking).

Thoughts were L4D2 came out a little “too soon” after the original. Which was loved. Sold a shit-ton. I got the original Left for Dead very late. Months after its release, but absolutely loved it. I’m a sucker for Zombie movies. This was actually my first foray into a Zombie game. I enjoyed the Co-Op style of game play. The game was creepy as hell. They did a great job with music, and also I think the way they handled the Witch made you want to avoid that bitch at all costs.

I was excited for Left for Dead 2. Hell their ad campaign was effective enough I had to look up that “Bang-Bang-Bang-Bang… Vamanos Vamanos” song up and buy it from Itunes (“Electric Worry” by Clutch for those interested). Unfortunately I had recently purchased Borderlands. So while I owned L4D2. I wasn’t gonna touch it for a while. (On accounts of my growing, and as of me typing today, unkickable- addiction to the Skag).

Eventually I did plug in L4D2. I wanted to see what differences there would be, special zombies, and I was giddy as a school girl getting her first My LIttle Pony Lunchbox at the prospect of Melee weapons. I had seen screen shots of bats, crowbars, fireman’s axes, and chainsaws.

Was this on par with the first one, or was it another over rushed sequel?

Its definitely on par with the original, with some tweaks and some improvements.

You are one of four characters attempting to survive the Zombie-pocalypse in New Orleans. (This actually stirred up some controversy with a ravaged New Orleans being shown on video game form. Some people found it in poor taste with the history of Katrina.)

Every level starts with you in a safe room, where you can get a health kit (you’re gonna need it). Guns and Ammo (sadly no copies of popular shooting magazine Guns and Ammo are found). There are a wider array of guns. Uzi, AK-47, M-16, tactical Shotguns, hunting rifles, sniper rifles, just to name a few. There are L4D explosive devices. You still have molotov cocktails ( cuz nothing smells better than flame broiled Zombie). Pipe bombs… I love watching zombies flock to a beeping pipe bomb like a pack of puppies going after a squeaky toy, only to be liquified.

They have added special ammunition. You can get incindiery bullets, mmmm… there’s that burnt undead smell again!

They have added some additional health boosts. Not just the health pack. Pain pills return. Which gives a temporary health boost. Also they have added Adrenaline, which makes all your actions faster. You run, shoot, and reload faster. There is also a defibrillator. I haven’t used one, or seen one used. I know its for reviving a downed teammate.

I think the most fun addition is the melee weaponry. It gives you something to carry if you run out of bullets (you will) that can effectively kill the rampaging zombie hordes that want to gnaw on your face. Its also bad ass to be wielding an electric guitar and smashing the shit out of the lurching undead. Yeah, electric guitar. You can go all Pete Townsend on a Zombie’s grill. There is the fireman’s axe, which makes you a zombie decapitating machine. Also there is a katana… if you’re feeling like a zombie killing ninja! And of course, everyone’s favorite, a chainsaw. Chainsawing a pack of Zombies is endless entertainment.

How’s the gameplay?

Good. Same set up as the original. Controls are the same. There are 5 solo or Co-Op campaigns. Beating each one gets you gamer points, if that’s your thing. There are definitely more Zombies. More hordes come charging. They have tweaked and added to the “special” zombies. The witch moves around this time… which sucks. She also can basically incapacitate you with one hit (which sucks worse,and is one of my pet peeves of the game).

They have added little missions while you’re making your way through one of the campaigns (campaigns have taken me 60-80 minutes so far). So you have to run and get a 6 pack of soda for a guy locked in a gun shop, so he can blow up an 18 wheeler so you can get past a blocked street. Or you have to run through a mall grabbing gas cans to fill up a race car to escape and thus beat that campaign. Definitely like this aspect of the game.

So what my overall take?

Its more challenging than the first. I’m playing on Normal to start. I have been the only survivor… and that has taken me running like crazy and and barely getting out. It hasn’t taken playing over and over and over again. I think I’ve had to restart a final level twice at most, but it does elicit a healthy string of profanity when it happens… I don’t mourn the party members Iose… cuz well… its Zombie-pocalypse, and they need to be stronger and faster.

Plus those fuckers ALWAYS make you go first. Which means you ALWAYS take the most damage, but to get back at them I always do everything I can to snake another health kit.

Definitely as fun as the first. I think all the improvements are just that. They improved the gameplay. Its more challenging, and has frustrated me here and there, but isn’t “throw the controller through the TV frustrating”.

And even with the absolute pile of really good games out right now, I’d definitely recommend this game. Its a fun, chaotic first person shooter. It has good online and Co-Op elements, as well as a VS mode. Also Survival mode is always a blast. (You stay in a room and see how long you and 3 others can survive a Zombie Parade of Doom).

Main negatives for me would be the damage the witch can inflict. I know she’s supposed to be badass, but C’mon! The final stage of a campaign is where I’ve been the most frustrated. No one else in the party has survived with me, yet. Its a Zombie Shit show. And when playing with 3 A.I. characters its up to YOU to lead the way. Which is understandable. It just get frustrating cuz you’re constantly the one who gets brutalized. Specifically by the special Zombies who projectile vomit, pounce, or throw chunks of concrete at you.

But these negatives aren’t enough to deter me from playing the game. Now if I just had a couple friends who had the game it’d be cool to get on XBL and tag/triple/quadruple team some Zombie ass!

till next time (god knows when that will actually be)

sir scott m. hayes xiv