Left 4 Dead 2 Hands-On

We dive into the first two maps in the Swamp Fever scenario.

If there’s anything immediately familiar about Left 4 Dead 2, it’s this: If you separate from your group of zombie apocalypse survivors, you’re not going to be a survivor much longer. In our initial run-through of Swamp Fever--the dank and dark third area of the game--our group of survivors started like any other. We grabbed our preferred weapons (playing as Coach, we grabbed the shotgun) and first-aid packs and headed out from an abandoned boxcar to a nearby gas station. Unfortunately, things got off to a bad start. One person went on beyond the gas station while another stayed in the boxcar, seemingly attempting to figure out what exactly they were supposed to do or how to play the game. To make matters worse, there happened to be a witch sitting around the corner from the player who ran off to the gas station, and as anyone who has played the original game knows, if you disturb the witch, she'll go completely bonkers and probably kill whoever startled her. And that she did, since that player chose to run off, and the two people actually playing as a team couldn't make the save. The third player was still sitting in the boxcar, possibly admiring the scenery.

The two active survivors headed beyond the gas station and the corpse of our fallen comrade, but things only got worse. One of Left 4 Dead 2's new enemies, the charger, decided to pay us a visit. Being completely caught off guard by its speed, we couldn't do much in the way of evasion. Eventually, it zeroed in on our character and subsequently started going to town, doing plenty of damage with every punch before grabbing our character and slamming him into the ground repeatedly. Unfortunately, our only remaining (and useful) teammate was overwhelmed with the witch and a group of her zombie buddies and had no opportunity to save us from our predicament. And with that, we both died, leaving our single surviving member still in the boxcar--undoubtedly ecstatic with the designation of being the lone survivor.

Thankfully, a new group of three players joined us in our renewed attempt at surviving the zombie-infested Louisiana swamps, and from the start, we worked together. This newfound team spirit enabled us to plow through the hordes surrounding the gas station (by the grace of the new AI Director system, there was no witch waiting for us), and to make our way to the swamp and outlying areas. All was going well until we reached the third or fourth abandoned shack where a small plank led into the murky water below. Unfortunately, the player who took the lead (and who happened to be also carrying the ax for a melee weapon) was unprepared for another new enemy, the spitter, lurking just beyond the plank and out of view. Of course, if you're in an elevated position, the spitter's not much of a problem. You'll see the spit and watch it burst into flames (and then watch it burn out) before moving on, but in this particular situation, our designated leader was in a confined space and essentially ambushed, making it difficult to find the right way out of the immediate area--much less navigate out of the fire. But our team pressed on and continued to encounter more spitters, chargers, and the usual assortment of infected before finding the safe house and moving into the next area.

What makes the second part of Swamp Fever a little different from the first is that there seem to be more choke points that mostly force the infected zombies to come out in single file, which, as luck would have it, saved our team more than once. In fact, there was one section of the level where our team came across some airplane wreckage. Getting up and through the wreckage wasn't so much of a problem as it was to simply exit and jump down off the wings, because at that point, we were greeted with what seemed like an almost endless stream of enemies coming from just about every direction. Since one of our teammates fell off the wing and to the ground (where he was met with an additional swarm), we jumped down to help out while the other two survivors stayed on the wing and took aim from above. Just as we thought we had cleared one wave, another came, but this time we were in such a position that we could pick them off as they were coming through the airplane door and out onto the wing. One member of the squad in particular did the most damage by using exploding rounds--another new feature introduced in Left 4 Dead 2.

A similar scenario occurred minutes later with infected coming down a dirt path (somewhat obstructed by a fallen tree), and we were able to mow them down as they reached the top of the path. Whether or not this was by design or simply, once again, the AI Director having mercy on our team wasn't completely clear, but we gladly took the strategic advantage and made our way to the end of the demo.

Of course, what we played of Left 4 Dead 2 felt much like its predecessor, which is great for anyone wanting more of what made the original so fun. And we're anxious to see how Valve has used the Louisiana theme for other levels in the game. Look for Left 4 Dead 2 on the Xbox 360 and PC on November 17.

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235 comments
Squirrelatwar
Squirrelatwar

Looks like a $20 expansion, not a full-blown new game. We'll see...Valve is usually good with their games.

Hiroo4
Hiroo4

So LfD2 adds new stuff. New maps to run and shoot zombies, new guns to do just that, new enemies to shoot with said guns, and a new mode. But I also hope sequels will bring a very new experience... change the game by building off things that worked, creating unique gameplay that is similar yet extremely different to the original. Yet the only thing I've seen from the game is... new stuff. I'd like the campaigns to not just be run and shoot... add more to the game. Still have the run and shoot element, but add more... not just new guns... let's be chased by a big f**k off giant monster whilst running through a level? Sure it's hard to design all that, but for 60 more bucks I don't think it's too much to ask.

Deranged_Devil
Deranged_Devil

I still think Valve could have done a lot more with L4D1 and made L4D2 an expansion to it, but I will still be picking this up, since the first was amazing.

bdop4
bdop4

Man, I can't wait for this. Mainly because now you can get a blooper gun, which is a grenade launcher from 'Nam, for those of you who don't know.

Zingoe1
Zingoe1

What is with this whole boycott left 4 dead 2 thing? I like the first, the second looks epic, im not bothered if i have to pay out £40 extra, people still buy terrible movie games even when they know its going to be awful. Im happy to pay money for whats looking up to be a great game

mattisgod01
mattisgod01

they need to add more random events and not just ones that become predictable after a while. More things that attract the horde like traps that other survivors set up or sensor lights.

bodylotion
bodylotion

Left For Dead 2 is anything BUT different compared to the original game. The good thing is that Left 4 Dead 2 most certainly will become a great game but on the other hand it just feels like you're playing more of a DLC than a complete new game. The real Left4Dead fans will probably still buy the game though. Because playing the same missions over and over again get's boring. I hope they will come up with a reasonable price for L4D2.

perfect_chao
perfect_chao

They need to add something different 1: Slightly random position arrival of escape vehicles 2: Something more exciting, like while escaping in a vehicle the infected are still attacking and you have to fend them off before destroying it

Echo-417
Echo-417

man i want to get this game!

knifey
knifey

vanine this kind of IS the pc version

Vanine_28
Vanine_28

LOL..this is so funny..Why would i pay for this game when i can add hundreds even thousands of maps ,lvls and complete campaigns to the PC version. You can even play them ONLINE. Sorry but Left 4 Dead 1 was great 2 im not going to waste my time on unless they have a lvl editor like the pc version did for Left 4 Dead 1.

nomorepain4u
nomorepain4u

do they actually think they can sell games that are only fun to play online for $60. this is whack. plus it is the exact same as the first but with melee weapons. shive this game up your *** valve.

ArachisPT
ArachisPT

I will buy CODMW2 then AC2! Two great game whit lots of new aditions! So L4D2 is not in my buy list for a long while...

hillfinger73
hillfinger73

Might as well but this one to, love making the wife mad.

frogfromarz
frogfromarz

L4D was a cool game although it was dissapointing that they didnt add any extra content kinda felt ripped off cause i was expecting more campains awell guess ill buy this one too.

beltor5
beltor5

theyr not selling the same game bor its alot more diffrent and does l4d give u fire ammo? or the carger? or the spiter? OR a new mode

HellsKing
HellsKing

Left for Dead 2 will be just that...left for dead! Assassin's Creed 2 FTW!!!!

sun_rider95
sun_rider95

fartmoo I did and I will buy ac 2...personal reason...i can't play online l4d i don't know why ..gives me an error

SmartGhost
SmartGhost

ZOMBIES BOOM BI YA..!!!!! HAVE TO KILL THEM

fartmoo
fartmoo

anybody else notice that l4d2 is coming out on the same day as assassins creed 2?

furionpride
furionpride

I do hope it's more of a sequal than an expansion pack, especially if I'm gonna be paying fifty bucks for it. But regardless, I am still having great fun with the original. I'll get it when it goes down in price.

miyijura
miyijura

The first L4D is an addictive game, i never bore at all. The game always behave different and if you change the difficult to a hardest one, the experience is excellent. The next version must have this behaviors even better...i trust.

gaina_1
gaina_1

i heard this game gets boring after a while...... anyone care to clarify?

Boomkins
Boomkins

November is not that far off!!!

darzentas
darzentas

OOOOOOO!!!!!!!wow new l3ft4d3ad........i like this game is awesome!!!! i need this game is the best!!!

johnryandaplin
johnryandaplin

people who boycott this game are freaking losers

DavidRI
DavidRI

Whoopty-do... L4D 1 got old quick and is collecting dust at my LAN parties.

SymphonyOfAshes
SymphonyOfAshes

Lol.. Yay for Valve releasing a whole new game containing all the updates that were promised for the first one. Gotta love companies losing money.

MushroomRevenge
MushroomRevenge

I liked the concept of L4D, and I had a lot of fun playing the demo. I played the full game, and it got old pretty quickly. I don't hold anything against L4D or L4D2 but I don't think a full retail priced "sequel" will be worth the buy.

Tremor671
Tremor671

@VASOT skirmishes? thats what you thought the game was? I don't know if you played the game enough to even write on this comment board. The game was never meant to be singlplayer, it was never meant to have a story and it was certainly meant to be played with other people. Buy a different game if you want singleplayer.

Blashbuck
Blashbuck

the makers at Valve aren't idiots, I'm hoping that they'll make this game seem more like a sequel, and less like an expansion, and worth the extra $50

uberjannie
uberjannie

I just hope they make a damn ingame server browser for the pc this time around. Indeed it has right now but you have to use the console to activate it. But unfortunately, living in europe I have great difficulties getting the console to work... Obviously valve doesnt know there are other keyboards than the ones with english layout.

poopinpat
poopinpat

this game is fantastic looking. I'm still ballz dEEp into the original and i have nightly wet dreams about this upcoming game.

Kechas
Kechas

The games ar not supposed to look but to have good gameplay :D

Vasot
Vasot

If it has a good single player this time i will buy it. I do not buy games only for Multiplayer skirmishes...

FarmFreshDX
FarmFreshDX

In addition to all the stuff everyone else has said, don't forget the dynamic weather, time, and path changing. I also thought it was too soon that I was getting ripped off, but the Director 2.0 can do some awesome things. All the haters who say L4D had too little content obviously didn't play with the right people. A group of good friends in versus and admiring the Director's plays makes the game THE BEST multiplayer experience I've ever had.

Waza19
Waza19

Apart from the new special-infecteds and the uncommon-commmon zombies everything Valve is adding: gauntlets event, differents ammo, new guns, changing patways, revamped director ai. And to add to this the sdk just got out so what would this game be if Valve would have get it out when it was supposed to: near christmas 2008... thanks god some great moders could change the sdk to get them to work on theirs mods and map sooner then that. if you guys dont know its now possible to play 16 player, versus and coop. ive seen 12 too, and this has been out for a long time. anyway the point is even tough i appreciate Valve has a company and want to support them a sequel isnt due and there is still work to do on the first one, and has a company they should keep their words and add more content to the first one before actually thinking of a sequel, but heh, this wont happen now, so i jsut got crooked of 50$ and some of my friends too, but this happens so many times in the gaming industry that we can give Valve a chance this time

Baramos6
Baramos6

@Slipper...This is the reason why having a good rig, a 360 and a ps3 are a great idea. For instance you don't miss out on any great titles, for example having LFD on pc was a great decision because of the mod community. PS3 gets good titles as well, Infamous wasn't perfect but damn it was a good game, that game from FromSoftware Demon Sword got good reviews...if their going to release it here it must have done well in Japan. Think about it this way, every system gets it's exclusives, LFD would probably be on the PS3 if Valve wasn't against having to develop for it, short and simple.

chuckleechuck
chuckleechuck

I think even a little change would hugely revamp the gameplay, because L4D is a game that is played different every time. Considering they're adding in lots of things, I say the game would be worth getting.

HellsKing
HellsKing

A few new maps, weapons, bad guys, and playable characters, but it all leads down to the same concept...run and gun to escape with your life. Zombies! OMG!...not worth $60 when it's the same old, same old. The price for the first game was a rip-off for such little content the game actually held. Valve pays good money for top advertisment. If you have the money, you have the support.

volcomskater
volcomskater

I don't share the complaints I've heard about a premature sequel. I'm a big fan of Valve and I'll continue to support them by purchasing their top-notch titles. From what I've read it appears that L4D2 is going to be a perfect blend of familiar yet new gameplay.

Trevorwashere
Trevorwashere

i'd like to see a collectors addition or a pre order bonus that would be cool

SmartGhost
SmartGhost

I cant till this game come out I still play L4Dead and the updates are kinda fun but with them adding the suvior mode already in number 2 i wanna see where this goes

Tremor671
Tremor671

In addition to my earlier post, many people seem upset with the fact that valve promised additions to L4D1 and then announced L4D2. Maybe if you actually listened, you would realize that support for Left 4 Dead 1 is still present. The recently opened it to the modding community (PC only, sorry Xbox) and they already gave us a FREE expansion which added the ever-popular survival mode and expanded, my favorite, versus mode. If you want content that badly then buy the new one, because Valve has already learnt whatever lesson you were trying to teach. P.S.- Valve deserves the money for making this game.

archerus
archerus

At first I was a little pissed to hear about a sequel to L4D so soon after the original game was released, but given the amount of content that has been added, there isn't really a reason to be upset. To expect this much stuff to be added in free updates is stupid, IMO. Some people might look at how Valve supported TF2, but this is so much more than a few extra weapons/items.

Jackson97
Jackson97

Looks better than the first one. I'm happy with that!