Home > Demo Impressions, Gaming, PC Games, Steam, Xbox 360 > “Left 4 Dead 2” Demo Impressions

“Left 4 Dead 2” Demo Impressions

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In recent memory, there has been no other demo that I have anticipated more than that of Left 4 Dead 2. I was (and still am) a fan of the first Left 4 Dead, but for the months after its sequel’s surprising announcement at E3 I have wondered whether number 2 is worth buying. Are there enough differences to justify a full-priced sequel? Well, now that I’ve been able to spend a few hours with the PC demo over Steam, I think I might just have an answer.

It’s worth noting that I said I spent “a few hours” with the demo. Most demos last no more than half an hour for a single playthrough, and while that is true for the Left 4 Dead 2 demo, they aren’t normally something I return to again and again. The fact that I’ve already played this roughly half hour long demo that much should be a testament to its quality. It’s true, Left 4 Dead 2 looks to be a very fun game. The fun, frantic, and intense action from the first game is there, along with the necessity for teamwork if you want to survive. Many other things from the first game are in the sequel as well, but I noticed that many of the changes between Left 4 Dead1 & 2 are simply cosmetic. For example, there are different looking guns, but at the end of the day an SMG is an SMG and a pump shotgun is a pump shotgun.

And a melee weapon is a melee weapon. These close-quarter tools are new to the series, and actually make up a big chunk of the differences between the two games. The problem is, though, that they are all essentially the same. Yes, a machete seems like a better thing to take to a fight, but in the world of Left 4 Dead 2, a frying pan is just as lethal. That aside, the melee weapons are fun to use, providing another way for players to traverse the levels – right there in the center of the zombie horde. They can be a little cheap at times, but they’re enjoyable in the end, so I’m happy.

Picking up a melee weapon makes you drop your pistol(s), and surprisingly, that wasn’t always my favorite choice. There was only one kind of pistol in the first game, and even when you got to wield two of them at once, I never used them unless I absolutely had to. With the much-needed introduction of new pistols in the sequel, I found them sometimes to be a delightful alternative. Accurate and deadly, they are great for picking off zombies from a distance. The magnum in particular is awesome; it fills the role of the amazing one-hit kill pistol that every good first-person shooter has to have.

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A few new items come into play as well, and they are all great additions. The Boomer bile container can be thrown at zombies to make other zombies swarm and attack them. Once you start using it more and more, you’ll find that sometimes the best defense against a Tank is, ironically, the other zombies. Another item, the adrenaline shot, is an alternative to pain pills, as it offers a temporary speed boost and small health increase. One of the most useful items out of all of them in the entire game is the defibrillator, which can resuscitate dead teammates. The worst of the new bunch is probably the adrenaline, but even that is an interesting and useful tool to use.

With Left 4 Dead 2 comes some of the highest levels of carnage I have ever seen in a video game. The twisted minds working at Valve appear to have spent a huge amount of time on the zombie dismemberment effects. Specific body parts are blasted off when shot directly, and huge gashes appear on dead bodies almost exactly where you slice them with a machete. It’s a little unnerving to see how much delight the developers seemed to have with packing in the most violence they possibly could. It only took a few minutes into my first time playing the demo that Left 4 Dead 2 became somewhat of a guilty pleasure for me. It’s a pleasure because of the fun action (not the gore), but it gets pretty awkward having people walk into the room when the screen is filled so many intensely graphic images. When that happens, I just end up putzing around, hoping a horde of zombies won’t swarm me so I won’t have to shoot/hack them down and cover the screen with blood and guts. I thought the first Left 4 Dead was bad enough, but oh boy… don’t let your grandmother watch you play this game or she’ll never look at you the same way again.

The new setting is a nice change of pace from the dark environments of before. The demo features two levels of a campaign that takes place in New Orleans during the daytime. As a result, the special infected zombies can be spotted easier this time around, although they can still pounce on you unexpectedly if you leave yourself open. The three new special infected all add something new and help shake things up, and being attacked by them in the demo actually made me want to play as them in the Versus mode of the real game once it comes out. I know there will also be “uncommon common” zombies in the full game, but the only kind in the demo levels are the police zombies. Decked out with bullet-proof armor, they can be only killed from the back. I found it surprising to see how much of a (welcome) challenge they ended up providing, even if they are cheap against incapacitated players who can only shoot them from the front.

In the end, you could say that a lot of things in Left 4 Dead 2 are just facelifts of things in the original game. The new environment is nice, but the overall design of the two levels doesn’t feel all that different from the stages of Left 4 Dead 1. The regular infected might be bloodier than ever, but they still act the same way. The healing, reviving, and “getting attacked by special infected” animations are identical. Still, there are enough differences in the game to make it worth a look for fans of the original. If you enjoyed Left 4 Dead 1 but clamor for some more things to shoot, in different places to shoot them, with different things to shoot them with, this sequel looks to satisfy. I’m not sure the differences are enough to change the minds of anyone who did not like the first game, but if you haven’t played Left 4 Dead 1, start with this. I’m not convinced I will pick this game up when it releases, as I’ll probably still be knee-deep in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer, but it’s definitely something I’d love to play. Now excuse me while I go play this demo some more.

By Josh60502

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  1. DWB
    November 7, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Is the new special ‘Spitter’ infected as freaky as she looks in the trailer?

    Can’t wait to get my hands on this, thanks for the info! =D

  2. August 25, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    only crackheads can play dix inhuman n evil game….

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