Left 4 Dead 2 – Shambling Ramblings


I was lucky enough to win an early code for the Left 4 dead 2 demo from Console Monster, and the nice people even asked me to write a paragraph or two on my opinions, which as of yet has not been published. I got a little carried away and had to stop myself when I hit 700 words. You see, for a demo, there’s so much to talk about.

Over the past few days I’ve been thinking more about the demo – especially things that I did not mention before – so instead of keeping them penned up I thought I’d bore you lot with them. I’ll warn you now that these are just my opinions and it may become a bit of a rant. I want to open these topics up for discussion and see if we can get some alternate viewpoints

L4D2

Atmosphere

Remember the first time you booted up Left 4 Dead? I do. I downloaded the demo over night and jumped on to grab a few games in the morning. Being the big wuss that I am, I waited for some friends to come online as I was too scared to play it on my own. I remember my first game, it was the subway level of the No Mercy campaign and I believe it was with Hi-Scores very own, Mr Daniel Lipscombe a.k.a strybe.

My hands were sweaty, I was close to smashing the pad as I hammered RT; spraying my Uzi through Bill’s buttocks, Laying out Louie and maybe, just maybe, killing a zombie. I shot Strybe, and our friend’s, more than I shot the Zombies. The reason I shot the hell out of my friends? Because I was scared half to death. Creeping around corners in the dark to be greeted with a horde of undead was not my picnic (then at least).

You see, a friend pointed out to me, although he loves the demo, it seems to lack the atmosphere that the original captured. I kind of agree with him, the sunlight is great but it does take away the fear of the shadows and what might be lurking in them. But, on the flip side, you cant hide in the shadows any more. I felt completely open, every where you turn you can see the zombies meandering about, massing up for a charge. Valve will have some darkened creepy levels tucked away but what the demo lacked in atmosphere, it made up for in adrenaline; the new events, sunlight and wide open spaces all added up to give me, and maybe you, a new heart pounding experience.

melee

Versus

I am a huge fan of the originals versus mode, I’ve probably played more of it than the actual campaign mode. It’s such a different affair from your standard multiplayer FPS, requiring teamwork and co-ordination. On around my fourth play through of the demo I could not help myself from looking around at the level from a versus perspective. The major thing I noticed was the balconies along the tight streets. With no ground access these are definitely smoker perches. The daylight will add an interesting perspective as your smoker will be a lot easier to spot. Teamwork is going to be key, splitting up the survivors might be even more important in the sequel than it was in the original.

Cue the new special infected: the Spitter, Charger and Jockey. Having these new “weapons” at your disposal is going to change Versus for good. It feels like Valve have created them (almost) purely for Versus as their main purpose is splitting up and isolating the survivors, the afore-mentioned key to Versus. The Spitter can force the survivors out of the hiding spots, the Charger can pick one player up and smash him out of the group and most importantly the Jockey, who if used correctly (and with support) could be the most fun. His possibilities seem endless, whether your running survivors into ambushes, off buildings, into fire, into boomers, he will always cause chaos and disorientate the group.

The last, and most hotly debated item, is the melee weapons. How will these factor into Versus? I honestly can’t say. I trust Valve won’t have made them too powerful against infected players but who knows. If you play together and use teamwork then you should be able to deal with any situation, even chainsaw wielding humans. The more melee weapons, the less guns to shoot you.

I did warn you it was going to be a rant, but I hope some of these thoughts made sense. I for one can’t wait to get my hands on this game. Please post your own thoughts, opinions, disagreements, whatever you want to call them and I’ll reply to them all.

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    • @BornAcidBBC
    • November 5th, 2009

    I agree some of the fear from the first game is lost on me. I think it may be the 200 hours in the game makes everything less scary. I find it to be a competent update and in such a short time. Valve is an interesting company in that they let their employees work on whatever they want. That means almost every Valve team member wanted to make this game, I’m excited to play the final version.

    • Steven Wright
    • November 6th, 2009

    Valve are easily one of my favourite developers. You can tell they enjoy what they do and make games they want to make.

    L4D did lose its fear but the sequel will definitely scare ma all over again. I’m not looking forward to playing the field level.

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