Left 4 Dead 2 continues the co-operative zombie adventure with all new characters, locations, enemies and weapons to change up the popular gameplay introduced in the original Left 4 Dead. The popular AI director also makes a return with plenty of tweaks to ensure players are always challenged as they fight against near endless zombie waves alone or with other players.
Just like the original game plot details are kept minimal with players following four survivors of an infectious disease that has turned the population into zombie like creatures. The story is portrayed through a series of campaigns that players can play through freely with each exploring a different struggle for survival in different locations. Set in roughly the same time period of the original Left 4 Dead players fight across United States locations including Georgia, New Orleans and Louisiana to battle the infection with no sight of other survivors despite the ruins of various safe zones around you.
The game does not use the same survivors as they first game though and instead chooses to introduce four completely new personalities although like the original these character choices do not impact gameplay. This new cast includes a football coach called Coach, a con artist called Nick, a TV production assistant Rochelle and a redneck mechanic Ellis that each have their own associated voice lines.
The core gameplay of Left 4 Dead 2 has players tackling individual campaign stories that are broken down into several sections with several safe houses for players to jump between. Each campaign ends with a difficult final stage that throws large numbers of infected at the survivors while they wait for rescue or attempt to achieve another specific goal by interacting with the environment. Including downloadable content players have 8 potential story campaigns to play from Dead Center, Hard Rain, The Passing, The Parish, Dark Carnival, The Sacrifice, Swamp Fever and Cold Stream.
Across these campaign scenarios players can play one of the five available game modes that range from the core multiplayer campaign to single player campaign, versus, survival and scavenge. While the setting remains the same across these the number of infected that you’ll face, your ultimate objective and player versus player vary across modes. For additional challenge players can access the realism game mode on top of these modes where some of the gaming quality of life features like survivors seeing silhouettes of each other are removed.
The loss of even this basic feature significantly ramps up the difficulty as Left 4 Dead 2 gameplay features many of the same game mechanics of the original that help to promote co-operative gameplay with players often succumbing to the infected if they attempt to go off by themselves. This is even more dangerous this time around with the introduction of three new special infected enemies that build on the special Boomer, Hunter, Smoker, Tank and Witch of the first Left 4 Dead title. These three new special foes include the Charger that rapidly charges at the player party, the Spitter who leaves poisonous goo around the map and on death that drains health and the Jockey who jumps on your back to temporarily control player movements towards greater threats.
To counter these new threats Left 4 Dead 2 builds on core weapon mechanics of the original by introducing a number of improved melee weapons available along with the introduction of a new weapon tier. This final weapon tier offers players the devastating M60 and grenade launcher which rarely appear in the world and have limited ammunition that cannot be refilled but are devastatingly effective if found.
- Continues the Left 4 Dead experience with 4 new characters stuck in the middle of the zombie infection.
- New campaign maps and a new Scavenge game mode to provide different multiplayer challenges for players.
- Fight off 3 new special infected that will require communication with allies to overcome.
- New weapons and a large number of melee weapons to use against the zombies summoned by the AI Director 2.0.
- Released for PC, Mac. Linux and Xbox 360 (Xbox One backwards compatibility).
Review Platform: PC