Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead 2 Review for PC

On: PCXbox 360

New survivors attempt to escape the zombie threat.

Review Verdict Read Review
9Out of 10
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The Jockey is almost as freaky as a normal horse-riding midget.
The Jockey is almost as freaky as a normal horse-riding midget.

The Jockey is almost as freaky as a normal horse-riding midget.

I've spent a lot of time talking about the campaigns and the improved level designs, but it would be wrong for me to ignore the other new features in this sequel. There's now a far wider selection of firearms on offer, and while most of them stick rigidly to the templates drawn up by the original game's machine gun/shotgun/sniper rifle trio, you'll still be grateful for the slight differences on offer. You'll also occasionally get access to special ammo packs that let you fire incendiary or explosive rounds, and for really big bangs there's a rare grenade launcher - a toy that will cause massive arguments if used carelessly. The new melee weapons are far easier to wield effectively, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. As a rule I find the "slice-y" choices like the chainsaw and katana to be more fun than the "bludgeon-y" picks like the guitar and frying pan, but to be honest they all do the same job - decimating the zombies at close range. Wielding a close-combat weapon prevents you from carrying a pistol, so you'll have to be a little bit more sparing with the ammo on your primary gun.

The final new pick-up, and arguably the oddest of the lot, is a defibrillator unit that can be used to bring recently-deceased colleagues back from the dead. In the games I played, most people seemed to be giving this a wide berth - perhaps because it prevents you from carrying an all-important medkit. Hopefully a few more charitable players will emerge as the online community swells, because in theory this could be a game-saving tactical device.

Naturally enough, the game's cadaverous forces have also gained a few new allies. Aside from the standard Infected, the five Special enemies from the first game have returned, and this time they're joined by three new monstrosities - The Charger, The Jockey and The Spitter . All three fit neatly enough into the game, particularly when you see how their special attacks can work together. Chargers and Jockeys both force survivors into helpless positions: the former dashes into people and then smashes them into the ground, while the latter "rides" people and steers them into nearby hazards. However, it's The Spitter who proves the most dangerous newcomer, with an area-of-effect acid attack that can swiftly decimate an ill-organised group.

A typical situation is that one survivor will be incapacitated, and as a friend rushes over to help them back up, a Spitter shows up and gobs all over the place. In seconds the rescuer's health is whittled down to nothing, resulting in a second incapacitation, while the original victim is killed outright. At this point you'll probably hurl your joypad or mouse and keyboard across the room and make a disparaging remark about your colleagues - most likely a two-word phrase that rhymes with "Mucking Boob".

Such frustration is perhaps one of the only real criticisms I have of Left 4 Dead 2 - and indeed of the series as a whole. There's something unique about the way you're constantly put under pressure by The Director - the neat AI system that remixes level design and enemy placement on the fly - but every once in a while I wish that he'd slow the pace down a bit. The Director's style certainly owes more to Zack Snyder than to George A Romero, and at times the action can seem a little too relentless for its own good. I like a challenge, and I like close-run fights, but I'm not such a big fan of being vomited on by a Boomer just seconds after I've been strangled by a Smoker. This is a notably harder game than its predecessor, and it can be frustrating when you're sent back to a checkpoint for the fourth time in a row.

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User Comments

PussyCat's Avatar

PussyCat

the graphics are amazing! i hate the witch zombies. scary! fantastic game tho
Posted 18:39 on 27 December 2009
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

This game is good fun just with Jean Claude RanDammers online. Though some of them can be infuriating at times. Stuck it on to play for 20 minutes there before lunch and ended up playing for over an hour.
Posted 12:44 on 07 December 2009
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

I bought a 360 for the original and I was left a little disappointed. If I can convince a few friends to get this then I will also purchase. Hopefuly in the January sales, if it drops in price which the original didn't do.
Posted 19:22 on 19 November 2009
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee@ RecoN

It's a brilliant suggestion, RecoN. Sure, the game would have to be quite massively gimped from a graphics perspective, but waggle-happy zombie horde fighting has the potential to be absolutely hilarious! Especially with the new melee weapons...

I actually felt the review lacked a little personality, Neon. It seemed more 'functional' than 'fun', which is definitely not what I think of when hearing you on the podcast. That being said, it does the trick, and made me absolutely determined to get hold of this one.
Posted 18:17 on 19 November 2009
Rickitis's Avatar

Rickitis

Valve doesnt like the PS3 though as they always complain that its too hard to make games for so they always stick to the PC and 360 which sucks for PS3 owners.
Posted 18:17 on 19 November 2009
RecoN's Avatar

RecoN

Agreed L4D has been around for a while now and i think Valve would make money releasing it on the Playstation formatt, possibly on the wii? LOL How fun would that be! Fling your wiimote to throw a grenade ;)
Posted 17:35 on 19 November 2009
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu@ Ghost_Dog

But not EA or Sega maybe Sony themselves? I'm pretty sure they would shoot down anybody else who got in their way to get this on the PS3 because The Orange Box was poor in comparison IMHO.

I'm confused why they don't do it to be honest. More money for them I suppose. After all money is king at the end of the day.
Posted 17:16 on 19 November 2009
Ghost_Dog's Avatar

Ghost_Dog

Oh how I wish this would come to the PS3.

If you don't want to do it Valve, farm it out to another developer.
Posted 17:08 on 19 November 2009
mydeaddog's Avatar

mydeaddog

I'd say that's a pretty easy call - just decide whether you want a single-player experience, or something to play with others online.

I'd also bear in mind how many other people you know who'll be getting L4D2. As I said in the review, it's best played with friends.
Posted 17:03 on 19 November 2009
thpcplayer's Avatar

thpcplayer@ GeNeCyDe1993

i am in same position as you, dude. but i would go for l4d 2 personally
Posted 16:27 on 19 November 2009
GeNeCyDe1993's Avatar

GeNeCyDe1993

Awsome now this or AC2? Im only getting one.
good reveiw Neon :)
Posted 16:06 on 19 November 2009
pblive's Avatar

pblive

Got the first on PC through Steam and it's brilliant but might get the second on 360 so I have one on each.
Posted 14:51 on 19 November 2009
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius

Another great review. This site's reviews keep getting better!
Posted 14:40 on 19 November 2009
Rickitis's Avatar

Rickitis@ mydeaddog

Yeah I meant the match-making more than anything and the fact you can play it on the sofa :) I might pick it up on PC then or hope some very kind person buys me a 360 for Christmas but I don’t fancy my chances of that happening :D
Posted 14:36 on 19 November 2009
mydeaddog's Avatar

mydeaddog

I played the 360 and the PC versions for the review, and they both work really well.

Personally I'd say that the PC has the edge, as the graphics are a bit sharper - plus you get the benefit of a keyboard and mouse. On the other hand, the 36 version is probably easier with regards to match-making. And naturally, you don't have to worry about specs, optimisation etc.

The bottom line is that it's a great game, whichever platform you're on.
Posted 14:24 on 19 November 2009

Game Stats

Left 4 Dead 2
9
Out of 10
Left 4 Dead 2
  • Scavenger mode is hugely fun
  • Still a great concept
  • Excellent level design
  • Not a massive evolution from the last game
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 20/11/2009
Platforms: PC , Xbox 360
Developer: Valve
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: First Person Shooter
No. Players: 1-8
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 520 12
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