Monday, May 2, 2011

Zombie Week: Monday - Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead 2 is a phenomenal zombie game.  It puts you and three of your closest friends against a world full of the infected.  You fight your way through the American south using shotguns, rifles, sub-machine guns, and an assortment of melee weapons.  You must stick with your friends, or face certain death if you choose to go it alone.  Whether you play the game solo, or online, you have three other players at your side.  Playing the game in single player mode has your friends controlled by the AI, where as online you can play with other living, breathing human beings.  This is where the fun starts.  The game has the ability to make your experience vary each time you play it.  I'll get into that more in a bit.

There are a few different ways to play L4D2.  You can play solo with computer pals, online with friends, and competitively playing the Versus game mode.  No matter which mode you choose, you'll be playing through the same campaigns.  There are swamps, cities, and neighborhoods to fight your way through the zombie horde.  You have between three and five chapters to make it through in each campaign.  The goal of each chapter is to make it to the next safe house.  Within the safe houses are weapons, ammo, and health packs.  Once in the safe house you can not be attacked.  Nick, Ellis, Coach, and Rochelle are the personalities you'll be playing as in L4D2.  Each have their own distinct personality which you'll come to know as you're being overwhelmed by the living dead.

Left 4 Dead 2 has more than just your standard, run of the mill, zombies.  There are "Special Infected" in L4D2. These are zombies that appear to have mutated in some way or another.  These mutations act as unique traits and abilities for the Special Infected.  They consist of the Smoker, Spitter, Charger, Boomer, Jockey, Hunter, Witch, and Tank.  The Smoker has a long tongue that it can use to constrict the Survivors from long distances.  The Charger will pick you up and ram you away from your friends, and pulverize your squishy pink body into the ground.  Oh, and you'll know the Tank when you see him.  While playing the Versus game mode, one team plays as the Survivors, and the other as the Special Infected.  The goal of the Survivors is to make it to the safe house, and the goal of the Special Infected is, you guessed it, killing the Survivors.  Just as the Survivors need to stick together to survive, the Special Infected must attack as a team to succeed.  No one Jockey can take on four survivors alone.

The game now has eight different campaigns to play through.  Each campaign varies in the time it takes to complete.  They last between 30 and 60 minutes depending on the difficulty, and the number of chapters.  The way that the game stays interesting is because of our friend the "Director".  The Director pays attention to how you're playing the game and how well you're doing.  If you're breezing through the game, the Director will throw some more zombies your way.  If you're having a hard time of it, it might back off a bit.  This helps keep the game fresh, and ensure that you never play a level the same way twice.

Did I mention this game has zombies?  Oh, it has 'em alright.  Loads of them.  Zombies as far as the eye can see, and it never seems to get old fighting your way through them.  I highly recommend this game if you enjoy playing with others.  This game is best served with one or more friends, but recommended with a full team of four.  Though you do have the option of finding other zombie slayers, like yourself, randomly online.  If this remotely sounds like fun, pick up Left 4 Dead 2 on the PC, Mac, and Xbox 360.  Check back tomorrow for the next featured game of Zombie Week.  Happy zombie killing.

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