Left 4 Dead 2 Review

Left 4 Dead 2 was announced to the world last July to a lot of noise, both supporting and opposing it. Those who loved the original Left 4 Dead couldn’t wait to see how the creative brains at Valve could improve on what already was an awesome game. Others were mad at Valve for developing a sequel too soon and “boycotted” it.

Well, I’m all for free speech, but the boycotters are missing out on a doozy of a game.

Left 4 Dead 2 improves on everything that the first did well, and fixes all of the little bugs that the first one suffered from, not to mention all of the additions. The game runs smoothly, plays smoothly (if you can call it that with all the madness going on), and has some of the best visuals available. Aside for some balance issues in one online mode, the game is near-perfection.

Left 4 Dead 2

Visually, whether you’re in the Savannah shopping mall or good ol’ New Orleans, the game creates the perfect blend of beauty and horror in every scenario. Each of the five campaigns: Dead Center (shopping mall), Dark Carnival (amusement park), Swamp Fever (swamp), Hard Rain (gas station in torrential downpours), and the Parish (New Orleans) are expertly represented.  A beautiful sunny day on the docks is marred by death and devastation everywhere. A lone dwelling in a murky swamp houses the half-eaten corpse of the man who lived there. The zombies themselves are just as scary as the first game: blood dripping from their mouths, pale gray skin, and the speed of a track star as they run after you.

The four Survivors this time are just as interesting as the first: Coach, the high school football head coach, Nick, the gambler, Rochelle, the reporter, and Ellis, the mechanic. The banter between the four is at times hysterical, one instance in particular making me pause the game because I was laughing so hard. As the four make their way through the swamps, Ellis starts to talk about his friend getting attacked by an alligator, causing Nick to shout, “Ellis! Not the time!” The conversations add a bit of comfort for the player as they make their way through the zombie-infested worlds, while at the same time making the four Zurvivors seems that much more real.

The Special Infected have some new faces as well. Joining the Boomer, Witch, Tank, Smoker, and Hunter are the Jockey, who jumps on a survivor and forces him or her to run in a certain direction, the Charger, who charges at the group, grabbing one and pounding it into the ground, and the Spitter, who spits acidic goo at the survivors, draining their health as they stand in it. This is where the game runs into its first problem: The Spitter is way too overpowered. During one online game of Dead Center, the four of us stayed together on a narrow bridge-like scaffolding to make our stand. We were doing well, until a Spitter showed up, spit on the the scaffolding, and killed us all at once. I don’t know whether the size of the puddle should decrease or the length of time it stays should be shortened, but it seemed like one minute we were all at full health, and the next we were dead. A quick patch could fix it, but it seems like that kind of power should have been dealt with before release.

The meat of the game, though, is in its game modes. The single-player campaign, online campaign, and online versus modes all return, as well as two new modes: Scavenge and Realism. In Scavenge, the survivors must find gas cans strewns throughout the level and use them to fill generators to keep the game going, while the Infected must kill them or blow up the cans themselves. Realism mode is the same as the Campaign, but the silhouettes showing the other players are gone, dead players can only be revived by a defibrillator kit and will not respawn, and only headshots will cause considerable damage to the Infected. Realism mode is a welcome challenge to anyone who thought they mastered the first game, as the tweaks to the gameplay make survival considerably more difficult, even on Normal difficulty. The only issue I have with the game types is in online Versus mode. It seems as though it is much too easy for the Infected to win, as they can just spawn and spawn until the Survivors are dead. Granted, both teams get to play as both the Survivors and the Infected, but I’ve played about 10 Versus matches and have yet to see a single group of Survivors make it to the safe house. Perhaps more times between spawns for the Infected would help, but as it is now the Infected are much too powerful.

Despite those little annoyances, Left 4 Dead 2 is gory, gritty, and a great play. Whether you’re in single-player or playing online with friends, you will not be disappointed by this zombie-fest.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

One Comment on "Left 4 Dead 2 Review"

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.