Left 4 Dead 2

Review

posted 11/30/2009 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC

Along with new ammo, you can outfit your gun with a laser sight. It says it makes the gun more accurate and it might just do that when firing while standing or running instead of being crouched as I seem to be on target more with certain guns using the laser sight this way. It's a feature that's in a few mods that's out for the original game, but Valve decided to make it an official item here. You just can't outfit any pistol with the laser sight though which is a minor disappointment.

Another new item that I'm happy Valve incorporated is the defibrillator. In Left 4 Dead, death means you having to wait until enough time has passed for you to spawn inside a spawn room or the level changes. If you died on the last level, you're pretty much done for. Now, someone carrying the paddles can bring a dead Survivor back to life so they can fight again. It does take up a health pack slot like the ammo box so again, you'll need a person who's pretty good at not taking damage or one that uses a lot of pills to carry this around with them. It's great to be able to bring back a buddy quicker than waiting for them to respawn when things are hectic. It’ll take some time to use the defibrillator on a downed friend, but it's all the more worth it to keep your group numbers intact.

While the Molotov cocktail and pipe bomb return in the game, a new item to toss now is the bile bomb. These can be found on the shelf or dropped off by a zombie in a haz-mat suit. As the name suggests, the bile bomb is a jar containing the boomer's bile but now works for you rather than against you. Toss one of these babies and watch the horde of zombies come rushing to it like zombie catnap. Hit a few zombies or a tank and see the horde start pounding on the ones being slimed. It's won't cause any damage to your friends and offers up a relief against the horde or help against a Special Infected. It's one of the cooler new items and one I use a lot.


Three new Special Infected make their debut in Left 4 Dead 2 with the original five also making an appearance as well. The Spitter can shoot out acid at a pretty good distance and anyone being hit or stepping in the puddle will take some pretty hefty damage. Killing her will also leave a pool of acid for a short period of time so it's best to stay away until everything dies down. She seems to have an average amount of hit points but isn't too hard to take down. The Charger can be considered a mini-tank based on the size of it. What it does is it can run full speed and push the group apart as well as grabbing one of the Survivors and pound him into the ground constantly until killed. You're pretty much toast unless someone comes and takes cares the Charger but it doesn't take too many bullets to bring him down. I was surprised at how easy it was to kill one of these things and with the way the size and strength it exhibits, I would've expected a tougher kill. The Jockey is surprisingly hard to kill though based on the size of the thing as it takes more bullets than I thought it would. These guys jump on your head and try to guide you into danger such as a horde of zombies or fire. You can fight the Jockey by pushing in another direction but you'll need one of your friends to get him off. One of the funnier moments in the game was watching a Jockey lead one of my buddies right off the ledge and a fall to his death. All three are a great addition to the current four and found them to be different enough to make them fun to play both as and against.

You now have a nice diversity of zombies in the game but even the old breed gets some improvements. The hunter now dresses in shorts but keeps the hoodie when he leaps towards you in New Orleans. The smoker gets a new skin making it a little seedier with a more ugly looking tongue. Oh yes, there's now a female boomer who's as disgusting as you think she looks as well as the original male boomer. The witch looks a little different as well as the tank. Seeing new skins for familiar foes was a nice change for a player like me who has logged many, many hours on the original game.

While I didn't see much in terms of AI tweaking on the old crew, there were two changes that was pretty noticeable. Tanks, in the first game, usually tried to finish off a downed Survivor. It's at this point where the other three could just stand in front of it and unload their ammo on it. In Left 4 Dead 2, the tank will now go after any other upright Survivor after taking down one of them. Therefore, the strategy to just unload on a tank pounding on a Survivor is null and void in the second game. It does make getting the incapacitated Survivor up easier though as a remaining Survivor can lure a tank away while another brings him back to life. Witches will now walk around sometimes so don't expect them to just sit and cry in one place. They will still do that but you'll also have to be careful against the wandering kind as well. Sometimes this can be to your benefit as I've had a witch who initially was in the way wander around me and out of our path. So, two of the more dangerous Special Infected from the first game gets both a skin update and some behavioral update that changes it up a little.
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