It all started way back in 2004 with the release of the Source Engine and Counter Strike: Source. From there, we have seen many excellent games from Valve, and Valve has become one of the most loved game developers of today. Their latest installment, Left 4 Dead 2, stands on its own among Valve’s repertoire of titles. Whereas Left 4 Dead reflected the atmosphere of 28 Days Later, Left 4 Dead 2 would be better suited to Zombieland or Planet Terror. It exhibits a less dire feel than its predecessor. The characters are more stereotypical, the events are sometimes almost hilarious, and the dialogue could easily have been pulled out of almost any 80s-90s zombie b-film. Fortunately, the quality of game still stands strong.
Anyone following the hype surrounding Left 4 Dead 2 will be aware of the rating issues in Australia. The game’s well deserved M rating is primarily the result of its gore. The gore in L4D2 is incredibly detailed and explicit. Bullet wounds on zombies are very realistic and generally reveal their insides and often result in realistic human organs spilling out. Striking zombies with melee weapons results in large amounts of blood spattering in the player’s eyes. Explosives, gunfire, and melee weapons can dismember and mortally wound zombies, sometimes even turning them into a red mist. Mild language also finds its way into the game as the survivors react to their situations. Typically the cursing is lost in the excitement of the game, but it is certainly still present.
Bugs aside, with all of the added material stretched out over five, intense and cinematic campaigns, Left 4 Dead 2 easily lives up to the hype. The new items, characters, and zombies give the game a new dimension while still maintaining the good old Left 4 Dead feeling. The five campaigns are all quite long and interconnected, giving more continuity to the story. The finales are explosive and exciting, the multiplayer is intense and competitive, and the atmosphere is excellent. Had it not been for the faulty A.I., Left 4 Dead 2 could have easily earned itself 5 stars and an editor’s choice award, but unfortunately, it is too glaring an issue in a game so focused on teamwork. It certainly earned its 18+ rating due to incredibly explicit and detailed gore and filthy language. Left 4 Dead 2 stands strong both as another excellent Source Engine game and as a striking addition to the weak genre of zombie video games. By the way, Valve just released the development tools for Left 4 Dead 2 just in time for Christmas, so be ready for lots of PC mods and custom content!
» By Daniel Straite, Plain Games. Published 12/28/2009 8:09:40 PM.