Left 4 Dead 2

If you enjoyed taking on the byproducts of the apocalypse in Left 4 Dead, you'll find the sequel is bigger and better in every way.

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Left 4 Dead 2 Left 4 Dead features some of the weapons from its predecessor as well as some deadly new ones such as the frying pan and chainsaw
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By  Jason Saundalkar Published  March 7, 2010

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Key Specs

Number of players: 1-4
Online play: Y
Price: $49

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Valve's original Left 4 Dead (L4D) proved an immensely entertaining game regardless of whether you went at it alone or with your friends. With Left 4 Dead 2 (L4D2) Valve hasn't reinvented the wheel and while this might put off returning game fans looking for an entirely new experience, it offers more than enough to keep you glued to your screen.

Like its predecessor L4D2 is based around four strangers (Coach, Ellis, Nick and Rochelle) who are forced to band together against the hordes of 'infected'. But, whereas the original game lacked any sort of storyline, its successor offers five campaigns that help give you a sense of what happened within the game world. You also learn more about the four survivors in the new group thanks to far more spoken dialogue.

The developers have added a fair bit of humor to L4D2 here, especially with the crazy stories that Ellis narrates about his exploits with his friend Keith. On the gameplay front L4D2 isn't spectacularly different from the original, though there's certainly enough new content to keep you busy. Our favourite addition is the selection of new toys that you can use to bring down the infected, particularly melee weapons such as the frying pan and chainsaw.

The visual punch of these new weapons is more pronounced in L4D2 because the graphics engine actually shows model damage this time around. So, when you take a chainsaw to an infected you can be sure to see some form of body dismemberment. This game also sports a number of new 'special infected' such as 'The Jockey' and 'The Charger' in addition to the original five. These new baddies add new elements to gameplay purely because of the way in which they attack you and your friends.

As before L4D2 features clever artificial intelligence - Valve refers to it as the A.I. Director - that drives the game along by spawning weapons and infected depending on the level of performance the player can manage. The Director has been tweaked to boost player interaction and this shows because there's never a moment that you can relax while playing (except for when you're in a safe-house). The game is powered by Valve's 'Source' engine and while this won't win any awards, today, for delivering awesome graphics, it does its job well enough. The most impressive element with this title is the depiction of damage; you'll see infected limbs being dismembered, heads exploding and more. The levels and environments are also entertaining to play and help you get a sense of just how badly things have gone within the game world. The occasional weather effects also help build tension and make things that much creepier.

The game's immersive grip is helped by decent audio as well; there's music that fits every scene to perfection and while the sound effects for weapon fire can't compete with the likes of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, the infected groans and moans will send a chill down your spine.

For: Immersive; if there's a game that does a better job of sucking you into a world that's fallen prey to an apocalypse we don't know about it.
Verdict: Although Left 4 Dead 2 doesn't offer an entirely new
experience compared to its predecessor, it is a bigger and better game in every way. Thus, there's that much more fun to be had this time around.

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