165 of 179 people found the following review helpful
It's evolutionary, not revolutionary. A quality sequel with more of the same.,
This review is from: Left 4 Dead 2 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
I loved the first Left 4 Dead (L4D) game. I discovered it about 6 months later than the rest of the world, but I was hooked. The fast-paced co-op gameplay has provided me some of my favorite and most memorable multi-player moments. Left 4 Dead 2 is basically more of the same with incremental improvements, a few new features, and a generally improved experience. Since I never liked the competitive modes on the first L4D game and doubt that I'll play the competitive modes on L4D2, I'll keep my review focused on the single-player and co-op campaign modes.
+++ Fast-paced gameplay
+++ Intense and frantic battles that can feel overwhelming
+++ Huge emphasis on co-op
+++ Five campaigns
+++ Dynamic enemy placement switches the action up so you get a slightly different experience each time you play the different campaigns.
--- Computer controlled AI teammates are about as sharp as a bag of wet hammers.
--- The XBox 360 offers only 4 types of control scheme, but none of them seem to offer me the flexibility I desire.
NOTABLE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN L4D and L4D2:
+++ Added new melee weapons
+++ Added a new variety of weapons, including fun toys like grenade launchers.
+++ Added several new special infected such as the Charger, Spitter, and Jockey
+++ Common infected are much more colorful and diverse in design
+++ Dismemberment and more detailed death animations result in more gore and chunks than the original game.
+++ Improved sense of character development and story
+++ Mission objectives have been more fleshed out, going beyond the first game's "Get to the extraction point and wait" concept.
+++ Daytime levels
--- Fewer lull moments. There is almost ALWAYS an attack imminent, which kind of kills the suspense.
GAMEPLAY: The basic premise is that you play one of four different survivors attempting to fight their way to safety during the zombie apocalypse. Essentially you blast thousands of zombies into ever-loving bits as you fight and run for your life. The new game brings some new mission objectives, which adds a subtle but noticeable bit of depth to the game. Instead of waiting for a helicopter or boat to come pick you up after 5 or 6 intense minutes of fighting for your life, you might be expected to find a bunch of gas cans to fill up a car. No matter what you do, success will require teamwork.
The new special infected are a nice addition to the mix. Jockeys that jump on you and ride you around, Chargers that pin you against walls or the ground and beat you to a bloody pulp, and Spitters that spray acid and explode into nasty bubbling pools of acid force you to adapt your strategies more quickly. Tanks and Witches are still tough, and the Smokers, Boomers, and Hunters are still around to make life hell as well. The common infected are more diverse and interesting. My favorite are the hazmat suit infected, which make a cool little depressurizing noise when killed which makes me smile every time.
GRAPHICS: For the most part, the graphics are very similar but improved in many subtle ways. Shadows seem to be smoother and more accurate, levels have more color, and there is generally more detail to seen. Enemy death animations have been noticeably improved with more dismemberment and more detailed models. For example, shoot a zombie in the chest with a high powered rifle or magnum handgun and the creature will have a neat little hole you can look through. Subtle, but still noteworthy.
PRESENTATION: With only a few (very minor) exceptions, I would argue the presentation for L4D2 is much improved over the original. The environments feel more diverse, taking you from bright and colorful New Orleans outdoor scenes to dank and ominous indoor settings. Many of the dark indoor settings are much more open, which is much spookier since your flashlight isn't as effective in large, open areas. The characters are far more interesting and have some interesting and humorous pre-scripted conversations. The redneck character, Ellis, is definitely my favorite since he says some really funny stuff followed closely by Coach. All in all, a step forward.
SINGLE-PLAYER: Single-player mode is ok, but you'll be dealing with the game's biggest flaw: frustratingly stupid AI teammates. Do you feel like sniping zombies from a distance? Have fun with that because at least one of your teammates will invariably park themselves right in front of you so they can absorb your bullets. They heal you when you don't want healed and constantly give you pills, which suddenly means your gun isn't in your hands. They fall off ledges and have trouble keeping up in general, especially if you go up some stairs. Apparently they forgot that Rule #1 is Cardio. If I were stuck in a real zombie apocalypse and these were the only living people I ran across, I'd leave them for dead.
CO-OP MULTI-PLAYER: As far as I'm concerned, cooperative multi-player is where it is at. I love it. Three or four players working together with good strategy can be a devastating zombie grinding machine. This is where the game truly shines and where I spend almost all of my time with the game.
COMPETITIVE MULTI-PLAYER: I never really liked the competitive modes in the original and I really don't expect to spend any time playing them in L4D2. It isn't a judgment against the game itself, but more representative of the fact that I prefer co-op games so much more.
Whether or not you should buy the game depends on several factors:
- If you never played the first game but enjoy co-op FPS games, I highly recommend the game.
- If you enjoyed the first game and couldn't get enough of it and crave some more, this is a must buy.
- If you played the first game to death and are bored of it now, you might consider renting L4D2 first because it is essentially more of the same with a fresh coat of paint and a few new features.
Overall, this is an enjoyable game that improves on the original in many ways as long as you have other people to play it with. As far as sequels go, the changes are evolutionary instead of revolutionary. None of the changes are all that major, but they are noticeable. In fact, I look back on the original and now realize how much was missing in the original design.
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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 30, 2009 5:43:53 PM PST
Twilight Zone Fan says:
Thanks for the well-written review. I will definately go and buy this game now.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2009 12:09:14 PM PST
You're welcome. I hope you enjoy it.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 16, 2009 10:18:12 PM PST
Michael Pappalardo says:
Very thorough and well written. I was pretty much in the same boat as you with the first L4D (got it later than the rest of the world, wasn't overly impressed). Your review delivers pretty much exactly what I figured L4D2 would be. I'll definitely pick it up.
Thanks for your thoughts!
Posted on Dec 25, 2009 7:55:06 AM PST
M. Donk says:
A bag of wet hammers? haha! what? never heard that before. I understand what you mean though, the A.I. from the first wasn't great either.
Anyways, very well written, much appreciated that you took the time to write a nice, comprehensive review.
Posted on Dec 28, 2009 8:48:51 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 18, 2013 4:19:42 AM PDT]
Posted on Jun 2, 2010 12:56:56 PM PDT
Jack Merridew says:
i dont know, this review was great but i think you could have just said
"the joy of downing 3 people with a single acid burst from the spitter is just too great to pass up"
or maybe "charge someone off a roof and feel the joy of versus mode"
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2010 2:38:44 AM PDT
Matthew Mclaughlin says:
The ONLY thing that still bothers me about the L4D games - is that you cannot escape the special dead by yourself. If a smoker, jockey or charger grabs you, there ought to be some way to free yourself from them without the AI/co-op players' help. I understand the game is designed for players to stick together, but what if they're all dead? Anyway, a minor - if annoying - flaw in an otherwise great game.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 27, 2010 4:38:26 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 27, 2010 4:44:25 AM PDT
Ron Burgundy Unrated says:
It is kinda annoying that you can't escape the special infected, but if not for that, you'd have too many people going solo on what's supposed to be a co-op game. Most recently I played a game where two people on our team were dead on the level "Hard Rain". It was just me and this other guy. The other guy decided to make a run for the safe room WITHOUT telling me. I tried to catch up to him and even asked him to come back, no dice. Needless to say, I died from a special infected and then he died a moment later from another special infected and it was "game over, man. game over". Both of us had a good amount of health (and health packs in reserve) prior to him running off without telling me, and we could have easily completed the level if he had been a team player. That is the main thing I get really annoyed about in Left 4 Dead... while playing online with randoms, you get some incredibly stupid people that don't seem to grasp the whole concept of co-op/team play.
If you're looking for a good single player zombie game, try Dead Rising or Resident Evil 5. Dead Rising 2 comes out this fall and looks great.
Posted on Sep 12, 2010 4:08:25 PM PDT
Halicon5; Thanks for a review worth reading. It is many times more loaded with information than these 10 year old fan boys keep leaving us...so I went ahead and sent for mine.
Posted on Sep 26, 2010 4:15:36 PM PDT
Denise A. La Bella says:
The competitive online multiplayer is what makes the game what it is. If it weren't for Versus, I'd say it's just an above average game too. Versus makes the game a classic.
To those who do not compete in Versus, you are severely missing out. You are neglecting the heart of the game. Yes, not just "the best part" but the "heart", the true purpose and soul of the game.