[SPOILER WARNING] If you do not want to know the ending battle to “Dead Center”… DO NOT READ MY REVIEW!
I like many other gamers awaited for Steam to bless us with the arrival of Left 4 Dead 2 at 11pm CST that would be as specified per the Left 4 Dead/Valve blog’s time of “12am Eastern time”. Well… 11pm hit and there was silence… The forums exploded! Stuff like “Where’s my #$%^#%$ game, people?!” and the like were spewed. I then scanned for a topic with news regarding a delay… then I got one. Some users in the Steam Community forums were in the Official L4D2 group saying that Mike Blas made mention in the L4D2 group chat that the game was delayed due to a last second bug that was causing the game to crash so they were trying to fix it before officially letting it out. So the time kept going until 12:10am CST when Mike Blas in the L4D2 chat made the announcement “L4D2 is officially out!” At this time (12:27am), I am currently decrypting the files at 48% and counting until I can get full access to play it… For me, it’s like being 7 again on Christmas day! The suspense is MURDER~!
By 12:40 (after file unlocking and decryption) I would be able to get my game on… I decided to take a leisurely pace on single player Easy mode and grab some pretty screenshots for you all in a nice 1600 x 900 size image to boot, because you all deserve the best! I know my buddy Mobius from Clan Avalanche had requested me to screen capture my first kill with the baseball bat, which I have done, but there’s so much more! Do feel free to give the gallery a gander! The “movie” in question is the “Dead Center” movie.
I will say one thing for sure… If you initially had problems with the demo, like I did, the final copy works PERFECT! I had an odd sound issue where there was a constant buzzing or hissing which is not present on the game. I actually applaud Valve for delaying the game to ensure a smooth release…
With the melee weapons, they are actually pretty fun! If you pre-ordered, the baseball bat is available to you immediately on the “load-out” table. You get your basic selection of gear at load-out… So a melee weapon(s), hand-gun (should you change your mind on melee), secondary weapons (machine pistol/shotgun), and first aid kits. The melee provides a fun element that even books like The Zombie Survival Guide mention “Blades don’t need reloading“. I got to witness this first hand with the katana or as the game characters call it a “ninja sword”. You can hack up swaths of zombies but you have to be careful and time the slashes right or the hordes will claw at you. Of the fun melee weapons, the chain saw is more of a psychotic spree good for the swarms. I will provide the disclaimer that the chainsaw does run out of fuel and if you’re trying to do the achievement of an entire game without using guns… The game will auto drop the empty chainsaw and instead give you a hand gun! As far as the guns go, the selection was pretty good in “Dead Center”! I personally loved the AK-47 and the FN-SCAR for your secondary guns. For primary guns, the option for the semi-automatic Magnum with its excellent stopping power was impressive. It really put the stopping power of the pistol from the original Left 4 Dead game to shame. The weapons can be “modded” so to speak as you can pick up laser sights for sharper accuracy and incendiary ammunition. The balance for the weapons is quite appropriate… Power guns will have killer recoil, but immense power. Your classic grenade items are back, in addition to the Boomer bile! The Boomer Bile being hilarious as when you smash it against a Tank, you not only get the achievement “Septic Tank”, you get to see the ravenous horde devour the tank~!
The enemies are a remix of the old but with some of the newer special infected such as: The Jockey, Spitter, Haz-Mat Zombie, Charger. The newer infected to take a strategy of breaking up your lines. This makes it vital for you and your friends to stick together or you will get pwned! The revision of AI Director 2.0 is rather good! If you dawdle around, the hordes do come out to play! The zombies also are more attentive to the strategy of trying to overrun you by surrounding you when you’re separated or with your comrades to boot. Smarter zombies make for a bit more challenging game play, that is GREAT to have!
However, should you get turned into a zombie silver-screen dinner… Your friends can rescue your corpse provided one of you in the team has a defibrilator! This and the adrenaline pen are new additions to the game… The adrenaline pen is really great for things like rushes to hit a switch, as it gives you a small bump in health and for a short duration, any actions performed (melee, switch activation, etc) are sped up. The addition to the new health items brings about a tactical aspect of gameplay as you have to decide with friends who will be carrying a defibrillator, adrenaline, pills, or first aid kits. This is one challenge I rather like!
The last bit is incorporating aspects of the scavenger mode to the in-game story… At the end of “Dead Center”, you find out that a modded stock car is on a pedestal but it needs gas before you can escape! So you have to find 8 gas cans, fill it up, while battling out the hordes and special infected. I could see stuff like this being hectic fun with good friends online! I will share my tactic… For the gas cans on the second floor… throw them down to the first as it will make life a little easier for you.
I haven’t gotten to try multiplayer campaign, Realism mode, and versus modes yet… But if I get to within the next 48 hours, expect another mini-review! For now… I leave you to enjoy the picture gallery!
If you want my official verdict on this game: 9/10 as the only thing that bothers me is how the AI for the teammates can be rather sluggish. It’s worth the $50 or if you were lucky to pre-order it $45!