Left 4 Dead 2 Review
Left 4 Dead 2 feels like a fully-featured sequel that stays true to its predecessor and ups the ante overall.
Just over one year ago, Left 4 Dead landed on the PC and Xbox 360, quickly exploding into one of the most highly regarded and recommended games of last year’s holiday season. Undoubtedly, it was one of the best multiplayer games of 2008 but was criticized for its low amount of content overall, despite the game’s extremely high replayability. Releasing exactly one year after the first, Left 4 Dead 2 has already seen a lot of criticism for having the potential of being underdeveloped and unnecessarily sped through production. So did Valve jump the gun on a sequel or does Left 4 Dead 2 make the zombie apocalypse more exciting than the first time around?
Beginning with the game’s presentation, Left 4 Dead 2 will give you new faith in the longevity of Valve’s Source engine. Character and weapons models look great and considerably better than the first game. Zombies can be graphically dismembered with both the melee weapons and the firearms. What was simply a red mist after a pipe bomb’s explosion in the original are now chunks of decomposed flesh flying over head, even torsos trailing intestines like streamers behind them as they hurdle across the sky. From the torrential downpour of Heavy Rain to the smoke filled lobby of Dead Center, environmental effects look nice as well.
Despite looking better here than it has in the past, it simply cannot be avoided that the Source engine still looks aged overall. This is especially apparent when comparing it to newer titles like Uncharted 2 and Assassin’s Creed II. On the plus side, Left 4 Dead 2 can be played on fairly low-end gaming computers but there’s not as much there on the high end as there may be in other current-gen titles.
Following in the footsteps of the first game, the audio work here is extremely well done. The music has been given a southern twang and jazzy makeover that both sounds great and builds up the game’s atmosphere. Gun and explosion effects sound great with only a few of them being carried over from the original. Every Special Infected has an easily distinguished profile of sounds that make both campaign and versus almost as much about listening as it is about watching. The voice work is top notch, much like the first game, but seems to be a bit more limited in total number of spoken lines than the first. Perhaps the lines are there and can be initiated through the radial menu, but through all of my playthroughs, I felt like I was hearing the same lines of dialogue almost every time which was a bit of a disappointment considering all the ramblings of Zoey and Francis found in the first game.
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