Equally spicy are the new types of special infected, which include an acid-spitting wench, a head-pouncing jockey that steers you towards zombies, and even a mini-Tank called the Charger that can smash your skeleton into shards of calcium with one mighty blow. These new creatures combined with the original’s menagerie of special infected play a much bigger role this time around, as two or three of them are bound to appear in nearly every scuffle.
Thankfully, the zombified citizens of the South have left an arsenal of all new melee weapons around for your use. These include axes, frying pans and even a deliciously powerful chainsaw. While the melee weapons may not seem like big additions on paper, but the versatility that they provide is unmistakable. In the original, you would often be helpless when swarmed by a large group of infected; guns didn’t reload fast enough to take them all down and your friends were probably too busy keeping their own hides safe. In Left 4 Dead 2, one untamed swing of your machete will send a dozen zombie heads tumbling towards the pavement, allowing you to crawl out of tight situations much easier than before.
When offline, the survivors’ artificial intelligence do an admirable job of watching your back and throwing you health packs, but I did run into a few cases where they heartlessly abandoned me to the zombie masses. Despite that, I would strongly recommend running through the campaigns in single-player mode first, as it lets you get a feel for each environment and character, as well as a chance to hear all of the hilarious dialogue without the din of online idiots ruining the mood. Speaking of the dialogue, the voice acting is superb across the board and the music brilliantly blends familiar Left 4 Dead themes with bayou strings and New Orleans brass instruments to create one of the most uniquely perfect soundtracks of 2009.
Is Left 4 Dead 2 just more of what worked before? Sure, but its exciting campaigns, crazier special infected, improved multiplayer modes, fantastic setting, and terrific design improves the core Left 4 Dead experience ten-fold. Left 4 Dead 2 confirms the series’ status as the most unique and entertaining online multiplayer experience available on Xbox Live. Now, let me tell you about the time a flaming Tank almost knocked me out of the helicopter…
|Our Rating for Left 4 Dead 2|
A horde of welcome improvements keeps Left 4 Dead 2 feeling as fresh and fun as ever