Left 4 Dead 2 Review – Revitalising the Zombie Genre

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Left-4 Dead-2
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Some time ago now I reviewed the first Left 4 Dead game. I basically said it was fantastic both in hindsight and at the time. Really it shouldn’t surprise you that I feel the exact same way about the sequel, which released little under a year after the first game.

The core gameplay is more or less identical to the previous iteration of the game. Four unique survivors battle their way through five campaigns spanning five levels. But considering this is a sequel there must be some noticeable changes to the game as a whole, right? Well, that is very true, there are a number of changes to be made in this game.

For me the biggest change was the inclusion of melee weapons. Now that I think about it though it really wasn’t that much of a big deal, was it? Sure, it was cool at the time but I’m not exactly sure why you would pick a melee weapon over a pistol. To be fair it’s your prerogative so I’m not going to stop you.

Obviously one of the huge changes to the game is that we no longer traipse the world as the usual four survivors from the original game. A whole set of fresh faces this time around and there seems to be a bigger focus on a core group survival. There’s a lot more small talk and comedy. To me it seems that there are a lot more lines of dialogue given to the survivors. Nothing wrong with that, the writing is really good and delivered well by the voice actors.

But you can’t just make the same game again, can you? Well, yes, because that’s what Valve did. However, they did add some new special infected to the game. The Spitter, Jockey and Charger were all added. Now that I think about it none of them really left all that much an impact. That’s not to say they weren’t fun to kill or play as, but not as fun as the original special infected. The original special infected are pretty much the exact same as the first game, no added abilities or anything of the sort.

I have yet to mention that survival and versus mode return. There was also something that I can’t remember the name of, but I didn’t enjoy it all that much. Survival for the most part is pretty much the same as the first game just with some different environments.

The original cast of the first game can be seen throughout the game.

See this game is a hell of a lot of more fun with friends. You can waste literal hours on this game without realising it. No playthrough is the same and that’s really the beauty of it. You could have a genuinely easy blast through the campaign or you could hurl your mouse at a wall. I have not hurled my mouse at a wall.

There’s a great amount of new weapon variety too, aside from the melee weapons of course. It seems that a bigger variety was included but to be fair they all do the same thing. Shoot bullets, aim towards infected. Not the most complex thing, it’s not really rocket science is it? Personally I went with the hunting rifle or the assault rifles. Sod the shotguns to be honest, they were my favourite in Left 4 Dead but not anymore.

There seems to have been a definite shift made from creating a working game to creating a fun one. To me it seems like there are a lot more set pieces than the first game. At the end of the final campaign you run across a bridge which is blowing up. The levels just seem larger and grander, because of that there’s more to do and more to see.

What does amaze me the most though is that this game was my first experience with the Steam Workshop. My God what a genuine masterpiece that place is. They couldn’t have picked a better place for it to be working either. It’s not just the campaigns on there that appealed to me though. I should point out though that the campaigns are truly marvellous. Some of them are without a doubt better than the ones provided in the base game.

The set pieces coupled with the Steam Workshop addons are impressively brilliant.

Aside from the amazing campaigns though you have the ability to switch out pretty much anything. Character models can be changed on a whim, as can the weapons and environments. So really what Left 4 Dead 2 becomes is your favourite characters from the media fighting zombies. I had Nick, Zoey from Left 4 Dead, Master Chief from Halo and Garrus from Mass Effect as my four survivors. But that’s not all you can change either.

For me, the best part about this game is this one singular mod I downloaded. Whenever a tank is approaching, Queen’s song “Don’t Stop Me Now” begins to play. It’s not only fitting but genuinely one of the greatest mods ever made. Hell I stopped writing this review just to go and play around with the mods I have installed.

Verdict

Possibly one of the most fresh and invigorating zombie video games of all time. That’s how I would summarise Left 4 Dead 2. Honestly this game is a marvellous piece of gaming history and you just have to play it.

For many this game is just the first Left 4 Dead but with some bells and whistles attached to it. Fair enough, it does seem to be like that, but to me, it’s still an amazing game. If I had to choose between this game and the first Left 4 Dead, this game would win every time. Mainly because it’s some of the most fun I have ever had with friends in a very long time.

Remember those mods I mentioned earlier? Yeah, that’s a big part of why you should go and buy Left 4 Dead 2. Simply because the amount of freedom you actually have when playing this game. Hell, why buy the first game when they literally made it free DLC for the second game. That’s right, the original game campaigns are in this game. With the added ability of melee weapons and everything else that came before it.


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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Left 4 Dead 2
10
Ewan Gleadow
I've been writing for various different places for roughly four or five years now. Currently focusing my writing on film reviews, politics and occasional game reviews. Hopefully you enjoy my work, be sure to contact me if you have any criticisms or praise.

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