Left 4 Dead 2 - game review
Barely a year after the premiere of the fantastic Left 4 Dead , Valve launched a sequel, which, however cool it may be, will always be associated with a cash jump. Regrets, grievances, forum discussions and boycotts did not help. Anyway, the American studio, aware of the negative reception, prepared a very solid promotional campaign, costing millions of green bills. And all this to convince the undecided and silence the critics. We managed to tame the latter (the free trip to the studio did its job), but what about the rest of the fans? Left 4 Dead 2 is sure to share their environment.
The second part, similarly to the first, focuses on multiplayer gameplay, in which players must cooperate with each other to avoid death at the hands of hordes of zombies. Despite the butcher's nature of production, cooperation is the key to victory. In a group, the fun is not only more effective, but above all more effective, because no bot can replace a human at the time of a massive attack by an opponent. "Two" is faithful to the ideology of its predecessor and does not introduce anything new here. Four new Survivors play the main roles in the game: Nick, Rochelle, Coach and Ellis. Before the premiere, many people questioned the chances of this team against the legendary team from the first part. Thankfully, Valve hasn't broken anything. The new heroes are great, charismatic and perfectly integrated into the L4D brand.
The first impression after looking at the main menu, however, is not the best. The decor is almost identical to the "one" with small corrections in the form of changed icons rather does not fill you with optimism. However, it was short for me to complain, because what is most important - and it is about the game modes - has grown to a satisfactory size. In addition to the popular Campaigns, Counter and Survival, the developers gave users the Seeker and Realism. The variety of modes is a strong point of the sequel. Depending on the level of advancement, everyone will find something for themselves. Beginners will easily warm up during the Campaign and Survival, and the more experienced will find the greatest fun in Counter. For total laymen, there is a single-player mode that allows you to practice certain habits needed to avoid compromise during online skirmishes.
The new gameplay options seem to be a nod to organized groups. The Seeker is nothing more than a slightly modified version of Counter. The rules are simple - the Survivors have to find as many gas canisters as possible and refuel the machine (e.g. a car), and the Infected have to disturb them. The whole thing, accompanied by a ticking clock, provides great emotions, especially when the level of the teams is very even and the final result is heading towards a draw. Realism, on the other hand, is distinguished by very limited help from the AI Director - a small number of weapons and the lack of bright partners is a real treat for amateurs of difficult challenges. Overall, the new L4D is simply brilliantly implemented in terms of gameplay compatibility. Do you have buddies who like such atmosphere just like you? Get four copies of the game right away. You don't have anyone to play with? Nothing is lost, many similar individuals fly the web.
The playability of the first L4D would not be high if it were not for AI Director. The loudly advertised module guaranteed a certain uniqueness of each session. Cleverly adjusting the difficulty level to the players' skills, dispensing items, weapons, and the number of special Infected left many sweepers in the dark. In the second part, the AI Director goes one step further - he controls the weather conditions, as well as the route followed by the tireless heroes. It is a pity that in this particular case we are dealing with great promises and a poor result. The changing weather and corridors apply only to selected parts of the campaign. Perhaps something will move in the upcoming DLC.
Left 4 Dead 2 is also a big change in the choice of location. This time the plot was moved to the south of the United States, around Savannah and New Orleans. The atmosphere is slightly different, but still fits into the canon of the zombie genre. In the air you can feel the characteristic notes of blues and jazz (jukeboxes are located in some places - you can play nice music during the slaughter!), And a large part of the action takes place in the daylight. The new maps do not disappoint and are of high quality. A cemetery, a shopping mall, a swamp, an amusement park ... everything is carefully crafted with lots of small details. While Left 4 Dead 2 was never meant to be serious, the atmosphere of desolation and apocalypse still grabs your heart from time to time. Especially when you look at a crashed plane or a road full of carts without owners and bodies lying here and there.
The most important aspect of the game, of course, concerns the undead. The Infested host was joined by the Jockey riding its victims, the brutal and fast Charger, the acid-spitting Spitter, and the Witch now able to move. This has made the game a bit more difficult (on normal difficulty and above), but it keeps it fresh and still presents a challenge for routine players. The arsenal of guns has also expanded - new assault rifles and a grenade launcher are wreaking havoc on the ranks of zombies. A novelty is the melee weapon. Fire axes, batons, machete, katana, crowbar, frying pan, and for dessert, a chainsaw are exceptionally successful as an alternative in the form of a gun. Coming back to our victims - it is impossible to miss the significantly improved effects responsible for the presentation of the damage dealt. I feel like I stepped back in time to such a nice era of Soldier of Fortune. Limbs falling off after each shot, full body penetration, flying heads - these are the main attractions served by Valve. You can even observe guts falling out of the body. You simply cannot escape this massacre, and what is worse - it is fun.
A game never has to have a pretty setting to captivate me. However, the new part is a pleasure to look at. It is not a strict lead, but - as befits a refined Source engine - there is not much to fault with it, especially in terms of performance. With proper limitation of details, playing on a laptop does not cause major problems. HDR effects, new location lighting and texture quality do not raise any objections. Left 4 Dead 2 has its own style and does not try to exceed the standards set by its predecessor. The sound and music look even better. Crazy songs during chaotic clashes or the aforementioned jukeboxes will make the time spent emptying the magazine in your gun even more pleasant. And by adding humorous zombie noises and characters' lyrics, we get one of the most refined audio settings this year.
I sweeten and sweeten the new game from Valve, because there is what. But I also have to rebuke for a few things. The application likes to crash into the system desktop from time to time, crunch on powerful hardware for a second, and even unexpectedly minimize it. The canceling achievements are the biggest underdevelopment. If you play for them - refrain from buying. Pity the nerves. The authors keep you informed about the bug fixes and I wish them to deal with them as soon as possible. Two fixes released in recent days are still not enough to fully enjoy the game. Also, some changes to the Versus Mode rules are annoying. In Left 4 Dead, the entire team had to demonstrate amazing chemistry and skillful use of first aid kits and painkillers. In the sequel, however, the distance traveled (mainly) counts, which encourages you to perform a "speedrun" towards the shelter.
Is Left 4 Dead 2 worth buying? The number in the title is a moot point. Here, everyone has to answer the question whether adding new weapons, enemies, maps and some interesting solutions deserves the price of a full-fledged item. On the other hand - since such productions that contribute little to the gaming world, such as Modern Warfare 2, are gaining mass popularity, why should we accuse Valve's lack of originality? I have a lot of fun with her.
Adam "eJay" Kaczmarek