I’m a big fan of Left 4 Dead. Small “f” fan I suppose. Not fanatical. But I do enjoy a game and the game impresses. The atmosphere is nightime-horror. The weapons satisfy with a grunt. The zombies careen and scream in a dazzling chaotic mess. Left 4 Dead is an achievement in its own right for making so much fun and enjoyment with such simple and repetitive gameplay mechanics.
I’ve spent my first few minutes with Left 4 Dead 2, playing through the opening two levels in the demo, and something is missing. The characters are decently involved. There’s more humour. There’s more random babble which is nice when the game is getting oldish but the dialogue still changes things up. But there’s a little bit of soul missing.
I’m not quite sure what the je ne sais quoi is that is absent. The shotgun was my first disappointment. Instead of a hearty, full-throated blow of a shot, it seems Valve went for a “shock” sound. Something akin to a panic moment sound. A short burst of sound that might come in the midst of a silence to scare a movie watcher. It’s a little odd. The pistols are odd, too. They look like pimped up things. Zombie movies are B-movies. There’s not supposed to be any big budget guns in here.
Also annoying is the limit on how much you can shove enemies away. There’s a reload timeout which you have to wait if you use it too much. There was no need for that in the first and there’s no need for that in the second. It’s annoying and pointless.
On the plus side, there’s a lot of variety and, while the graphics engine is clearly the same engine, it’s been tweaked and things look very nice. Of course, you can get away with murder in the dark. Not so much in the daylight which L4D2 uses.
Left 4 Dead was and still is a great game. We’ll have to see how it’s sequel lives up in the long run. I will say this. It’s not worth more than around $20.00. And the price of $44/$49 on Steam is ridiculous.