Gameplay itself is, I would say, strictly a multiplayer experience leading to a dependency on good team building. There’s no way in hell you’re enjoying this game playing with the AI in single-player mode. I played the single-player campaign for roughly two purposes: (1) to get a bit familiar with the campaign before plunging in with a team, and, of course, (2) for this review. Otherwise, this is a multiplayer game. If you choose not to indulge in Xbox Live for whatever reason, I suggest you don’t bother with tackling hordes of zombies and Special Infected in Left 4 Dead 2
It probably comes as no surprise, then, that my primary time spent playing Left 4 Dead 2
is on the online gameplay modes, of which you have a great variation. There are the old school Campaigns, Versus, Survival, and obviously Single-Player.
With this sequel, however, you are privy to the new Scavenge and Realism mode. These are excellent additions to the game, and always keep gameplay interesting for me. Some moods will call for getting in a game with a few friends to tackle a new difficulty on a Campaign, other times I feel like doing a hardcore Versus round against another team. Still other situations arise in which I will have the urge to play round-based Infected versus Survivors mode but with not much time on my plate, which makes Scavenge perfect. One level, one challenge, but with all the glory of getting to spit acid on your prey making them not only drop their gas can but exploding it in the process (suckers). Realism also offers a great challenge, should you have a few good teammates.
I’ll be honest, though, and say that the emphasis on team building and good teammates also makes the difficulty levels in a constant flux, as it depends wholly on your team. I must have played the Dark Carnival campaign 20 times over on technically the same difficulty level, but with an entirely different experience each time. Also, I wanted that damn gnome to make it on the plane with me. Gnome Chompski and I finally made it safely throughout the entire campaign and onto the airplane with the help of a few good teammates. From what I can tell, John had a similar experience of a reliance on team members with his experience with Left 4 Dead
on the PC. You might argue about the caliber of gamers on Xbox Live (cue rant about 12 year olds), but I managed to find plenty of good gaming experiences amongst Xbox Livers.
This is the unique experience of online multiplayer games, particularly first-person shooters that command such a community as this one does. Left 4 Dead 2
gamers on Xbox Live, and other online multiplayer games for that matter, create connections with one another that make this game far outlive a normal FPS shelf life.
Gaming, at least for me, was never a solitary experience like some media representatives might lead you to believe. This sort of online experience, however, ups the ante by more than I could have imagined back as a 7-yr old playing GoldenEye
with my cousins.
Left 4 Dead 2 took a great first-person shooter experience and added fresh new gameplay modes, loads of murdering and surviving accessories from melee weapons to adrenaline shots, all of which continues to satiate my desires for an FPS game that I can happily and easily spend a copious amount of hours on. If you’re wondering whether or not this zombie juice is worth the squeeze, I’ll say it most certainly is. Minus the TERRIBLE AI. So terrible, in fact, that it needed full on capitalization.
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