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Left 4 Dead 2 (PC DVD)
Save 41%. Was £27, Guide price: £16
Last updated on 25th Dec 2009
Left 4 Dead 2 (PC DVD)
These may be credit-crunched times for most of us, but at least business is booming for zombies. With a veritable infestation of zombie-flicks in the cinemas, you can go a step further than watching your zombies getting splattered by doing the evisceration yourself – thanks to Left4Dead 2, the second iteration of the zombie-connoisseur’s favourite videogame. It is, of course, only a year since the first Left4Dead, with the swiftness of the sequel’s arrival causing consternation in the game’s vocal online fan base.
However, allegations of a cynical rush to market prove to be utterly unfounded. With a focus on online and co-operative play above storyline, the original was more of an online zombie-lovers’ playground compared to a balanced conventional game, and as such lent itself well to a swiftly conceived sequel from legendary developer Valve.
The first improvement you notice is that the graphics are much more detailed and considerably crisper – attention to detail which instantly makes Left4Dead 2 even more involving than its predecessor. A new dismemberment engine ups the level of detail: an assault rifle, for example, will gouge chunks of gore and entire limbs from advancing zombies, and you instantly feel more inclined to use whatever explosives come to hand once you’ve seen the limb-scattering mayhem they cause.
Dovetailing with the dismemberment system are new melee weapons, including an axe and, that old zombie staple, chainsaw – although our favourite has to be the humble frying-pan, which not only makes an exaggerated clang straight out of Tom & Jerry, but also has the power to rearrange zombies’ facial features in a deeply satisfying manner.
This time around, Valve has worked more on the storyline although, fear not, you won’t have to sit through anything so tawdry as long cut-scenes, and the characters still don’t talk much except to warn each other that specific types of special zombies are incoming.
The game has four new characters: Nick (who is a gambler), Ellis, Coach (a reassuringly grizzled type) and Rochelle (a TV producer). Set in the Deep South, the action starts in Savannah and ends in New Orleans. The game has five campaigns, playable co-operatively by up to four people, as well as in Versus and Survival modes; we’ve been told there’s a new game mode, too, but you’ll have to play it to find what it is.
Valve has made a number of...