Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Left 4 Dead 2 Demo: First Impressions

The first thing I noticed when I got in was the colors and graphics. The game looks a lot like Team Fortress 2. That isn’t really a bad thing, just a thing. It’s not cartoony like TF2, but the colors and “vividness” of the scenery really reminded me of some of the TF2 maps I’ve played.

The graphics aren’t necessarily better in L4D2 than L4D but they are cleaner. The world has a more polished appearance to it, like Valve really figured out how to get the most out of their current gaming engine. The game runs smooth, which is really relieving considering all the negative posts I saw on the Steam forums. I had no lag issues or graphical issues to speak of.

In the Demo you can only play two levels in Campaign mode of the Parish scenario. The 4 new characters all fit fairly well together, as much as Frances and Bill did at least. They have interesting and sometimes funny dialog conversations.

The new weapons are amazing. The machete is by far the best weapon I’ve found, not because it’s more powerful than most rifles but because I feel like a ninja. When the real Zombie Apocalypse happens you bet your ass I’m going to be carrying a machete. The melee weapons really added a new combat element to the game as well. In L4D1 you only switched off your main gun to your secondary weapon when you were out of ammo. Now in close combat situations I find myself switching to my machete, night stick, or even electric guitar more often.

The new special infected are interesting, though not really difficult to kill. You have a zombie that spits acid and the acid burns you. You have a charger that well… charges you and slams you into the ground. The funniest one though is the jockey, a little midget zombie that jumps on your back and rides you. All the old infected from L4D1 make a return too, along with improved AI. The hunters were taking better timed shots and 2 or 3 special infected would wait to attack at once.

There are only 2 complaints I have about L4D2 Demo so far. One being it’s to easy. Sure we only played two levels but half way through our first run on normal we had to bump it up to advanced to get some sort of challenge, and me and my buddy aren’t the best at FPS games. By the second play through we were on Expert mode, which did atleast pose a challenge.

The other complaint is the atmosphere. I like that Valve is trying to get away from “zombies only attack at night” by having this scenario during the day… but it doesn’t feel scary. In L4D1 you felt like it was a survival horror game, and often times would be in spooky close quarters that were hard to tell where the zombies were coming from. In the only playable level for the L4D2 Demo the sun was shining and the world was rather open. I had enough cover to back into a corner but then I had a HUGE field of fire to mow down infected. On the off chance some did make it past our barrage of bullets they were then assaulted with machetes and guitars.

I can’t wait for the full game though. L4D2 was a blast last night. I’m going to play again tonight with some more friends who just finished installing it. Versus mode is going to be really fun if we get to play the new infected. Over all the demo made me glad I bought L4D2 already. If you liked L4D1 I would recommend picking up L4D2 just based on the demo.

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