The Games Of Christmas: December 17th

That arm isn't attached to anything.
Games cannot die, they can only find themselves transitioned to the plane of abandonware, from which they haunt the internet and the wider world beyond. Some games, however, rise again and become undead, and can even tear through the thing membrane of reality that we call the seasonally festive advent-o-calendar then attack us from the other side. But what game could be capable of such reincarnation? Guided by the ever-wise digits of the one true leader of the Autobots, let us travel through the 17th window to discover…

Left 4 Dead 2!

Kieron: As I may have mentioned before, I’m a neophile. I like new things. A sightly improved version of an old thing doesn’t often interest me, because the majority of its traits – the source of the appeal – were already there. Some people get annoyed by the missing 5% to the point where they can’t consume it. I suck the other 95% dry, and move on like a gaming Nosfaratu. There’s always more virgins to prey upon.

As such, I don’t tend to play sequels, as a matter of course. Unless I’m reviewing them – which can be a joyous surprise finding a kick in something I probably wouldn’t have played if left to my own devices – I don’t tend to go near them. As such, in this year when I’ve been skirting away from the games-press dollar, I’ve played less sequels than ever.

This was one of the exceptions. Perhaps appropriate, because it’s exceptional. I haven’t played it much – just enough to get a taste of the deep south and the low violence, but it’s a joy. It’s very much an old-skool sequel, of the sort which gave us things like Thief II. As in, despite resting on close-to-identical tech, it applies all the lessons the team learned in the first game to create something which improves in almost every area. Perhaps the tone shifts a little – Thief II is less atmospheric, less of a statement than the first, after all – but it focuses in and does some stuff with real style. Left 4 Dead goes gonzoid mental like few things else, and its set-pieces – which are wonderful situations rather than anything else – are plain glorious.

I admit, when Left 4 Dead was announced, I raised an eyebrow. Is there really going to be a market for this? Will I give a damn? Left 4 Dead 2 proves me wrong all over again.

John: As I might have mentioned, I don’t like playing games with other people. I can’t cope with the weight of responsibility, nor the way how I’m playing affects everyone else – I might not play TF2 how you want me to, and now suddenly I’m the bad guy. And yet. It’s as if Left 4 Dead goes so far in that direction, makes the responsibility so crucial, that it goes through some sort of barrier and back into a place I want to be again. I think it’s because you genuinely are dependent upon each other. You’re forced to work together, all equally reliant on the others. If you’ve got a good team, a team you trust, it’s about simply staying alive, not being the big winner.

What Left 4 Dead 2 does better than anything else is make you feel stranded. It’s such a huge improvement over the original in so many ways – not least the how-could-they-have-not-thought-of-it-before melee weapons – but what it I think it manages most remarkably is that sense of desperation, of the need to huddle together, and cling onto life. This is fun when you’re trying to make it to the end of the level, in a last ditch scrabble. But it’s better when you’re simply in the middle of a flooded rural town, and you hear a storm rolling in, and you have to find shelter or you’re all dead. That moment, the first crack of thunder, and someone screaming, “Quickly! That building there!” And you all pile in, take out any Infected that might have been hiding out, and attempt some sort of defence of the place. It’s about finding safety in horror, being alive because you’re together. It’s not competing for a kill count, or aiming for the top of a leaderboard. It’s trying not to die.

Which explains why I don’t find Versus my preferred way to play. Oddly I far more enjoy being the Infected in this case. Especially with the new collection of Specials to play as. Once I’m a Survivor suddenly it’s about beating the other team, being best, competing, and the fun ebbs away. So just explain for me, if you could, why I absolutely bloody love Scavenge? Suddenly I’m enjoying competitive arena team death match multiplayer. I like how flippant it is. How fast, and how it’s brilliant fun to bugger up the opposing team’s attempts to fill the tank. Again, I far prefer playing Infected, but what a mad amount of precisely created fun that new mode is.

Alec: I suspect I was the least excited Hivemind node about this, both before and after I played it – but I at least partially attribute that to being very much in RPG mode when L4D2 rolled around. Shooting things didn’t seem anywhere near as fun as trying to sleep with Alistair or taking guerrilla baths in Risen. That said, what did pull me into L4D2, and in keeping with the kind of mindset I was in in November, was its storytelling – a rightfully cocky step up from the backgrounded, hinted narrative of L4D1 and, to reference the thing that Kieron sneered at me for saying too often the other day, incredibly good at creating a sense of world. It’s much more of a journey than L4D1, and it’s laden with tiny fruits of a meta-narrative – the Midnight Riders, snippets of news from elsewhere in America, the true fate of Jimmy Gibbs Jr

It’s the same kind of rumour-mongering and fan-teasing Valve are up to with Team Fortress 2 of late, and it’s very clever way of keeping interest in a game alive, and of making it seem much bigger than the handful of cycled maps it really is. People are talking, and they’ll keep talking until Valve decides they don’t want them to anymore. Scary, in a way, but I’ll take that kind of marketing effort over the gluttonous, mindless hype machine of a Modern Warfare 2 or Halo 3 any day.

Yeah, Left 4 Dead 1 does seem more abandoned than we’d hoped- but it’s pretty clear Valve aren’t going to do that with L4D2. It is a shame they went for a full retail sequel as soon as they did, but I’m convinced they’ve made themselves a better platform to perform their usual merry trickery from this time. They’re going somewhere with this one…


  1. Sam Bigos says:

    It’s a fantastic sequel, it does everything the first one did but better, much better. The graphics have had a noticable bump up in quality, the new infected are fun to play, the 5 campaings are all fantastic and full of set events, and scavenge is a great addition.

  2. VHATI says:

    Scandalous. Dont let valve get away with screwing original owners over.

    If ever was a game deserving to be an expansion, this is it. half price expansion for current owners, and full price for both games for people who do not own it.

    If a developer promises extra content for a game i expect them to deliver it, they had plans for new infected and weapons all in the original before launch they were talking about TF 2 like support, not decide its best suited for a new version and then drop the original, and claim that Crash course was streamlined, aka rushed.

    Shame on you for supporting this practice.

    P.S. I am in no way saying that l4d2 is not a good game or anything of that nature. This is strictly an opinion based on customer service.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      This isn’t Scandalous. This is Scandalous.


    • CMaster says:

      No Keiron, that’s Mis-Teeq.

    • Jesse says:


    • robrob says:

      Not sure where you kids get this sense of entitlement from. Back in my day we’d pay for games with hastily removed teeth and be glad if it didn’t come with a near-fatal beating. Now it’s all puppies and candyfloss and emus shitting treacle.

    • Sovietmudkipz says:

      This man actually has a point. Gabe Newell, CEO of Valve, promised “new special infected, new campaigns (notice plurality), and new guns”. Sauce is somewhere on the interwebs. Strange, because instead of getting any form of these (save a hastily made DLC MINIcampaign), we instead get a full priced “sequel”.

      Admit ignorance on the promises, all you who condemn the “more support like you promised, valve” stance. Riddle me this: if I had the sauce of Gabe’s promise for L4D1, would you still pester our position? I highly doubt if you had an employee at a job who promised to do something for you, and never delivered on his word, you’d give him a raise and slap him on the shoulder! Same concept, just with talking heads of corporations and a large body of people (who, apparently, would rather be ignorant and turn on each other).

      So, now that I established that argument, let me now destroy my credibility. I think L4D2, as a whole, is worth a full price game, because it is a full game. This is, however, a case of the whole being more than the sum of it’s parts. Each of the parts cries “expansion!”, though as a whole it is worth 50$.

      Left4dead, retrospectively, was a 50$ beta.

    • Torgen says:

      robrob is my hero.

    • Hmm says:

      Did they officially abandon support for Left 4 Dead then?
      Maybe things are still forthcoming.

    • Hyoscine says:

      @ Soviet Mudkipz

      “Admit ignorance on the promises, all you who condemn the “more support like you promised, valve” stance. Riddle me this: if I had the sauce of Gabe’s promise for L4D1, would you still pester our position?”

      Yes, I would. Though not unless you chime in first. Which you will of course, over and over. I’m totally aware of what was promised for L4D1, I’m sure lots of other people are too. Nice of you to assume that people who disagree with you must definitely be ignoramuses though. Anyhoo, my problem with your stance is really just that it’s miserable, a bit greedy*, and that it’s in my face the every time I try to read something about a game I’m completely taken with.

      If you guys really want to make a fuss, if you really feel L4D1 grossly misrepresented itself, why not insist on refunds? It’d be a lame move, but it might actually get you somewhere, unlike stamping your feet on forums and organizing grandiose boycotts.

      *L4D2 cost me just over twenty quid with the four pack deal. L4D1 had similar pricing. So, for less than the RRP of MW2, I’ve got nine and a half campaigns and a buttload of game modes. Honestly, what’s wrong with you people?

    • Stromko says:

      If we compare the L4D franchise to any non-Valve franchise out there, it’s quite adequately supported. It allows, and has received, user-made mods and campaigns– something that can’t be said for several recent major titles.

      Personally though, I’m not purchasing L4D2 until it’s priced like an expansion pack. As in 20 – 30$, not 40 – 50$. It’s simply too soon, technologically and chronologically, for a true sequel. Yes I know it’s good, L4D was good too. I’ve tried the demo for L4D2 and the changes, while welcome, are just a couple more layers on a seven-layer cake.

  3. ChaK_ says:

    I liked the first one for one week, but then I’ve no friend to play with online :D

  4. Javier-de-Ass says:

    yeah, I played the first one for half an hour to an hour and realised I’d made a mistake buying it. not touching this one, ever

    • Jesse says:

      Call it a poop-face, too. That’ll show it.

    • malkav11 says:

      I would recommend at least trying it somehow. I played the first Left 4 Dead some (admittedly on 360, because there was no easy way to get a good feel for the game on PC without committing $50 – the demo was ridiculously truncated and went away on launch of the game) and found myself largely bored and underwhelmed. I certainly didn’t see the game everyone else was raving about.

      I tried the Left 4 Dead 2 demo anyway, just because, and was pleased to note some significant improvements in enjoyability, but it was still too short to be sure. I then went mildly crazy and took advantage of Amazon’s Cyber Monday price of $30. The full thing is an -amazing- upgrade to the first. There’s finally enough depth and variety here to keep me playing.

      What I’m saying is, it’s a HELL of a lot better than the first game, and even folks that didn’t like that one might well like this one.

  5. Steve the Imperial Guardsmen says:

    Oh boy…

    • Steve the Imperial Guardsmen says:

      What I would give to be able to edit or delete comments.

    • jhon says:

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  6. CMaster says:

    It’s Left 4 Dead, with most of the things that were wrong with the first one fixed, and some changes that don’t feel quite right to me (note, have only played the demo of L4D2). The melee weapons were certainly amusing, but seemed to detract from the core shooting, zombies are dangerous if they get close to you approach. The plethora of other new weapons was nice too, but some seemed kinda unecessary.

    Thing is, I burnt myself out on L4D one. I’d hoped that Valve would keep it fresh with constant little changes and updates as in TF2, but they didn’t. Instead, they decided the game was too broken to fix as-is and made a new one. And then released it, but gave me little reason to want to buy it after the first one. I felt a bit like a paying beta tester. Surley it would have been easy enough to give L4D1 owners a discount via Steam? Or some kind of cross-game play (eg one new camapaign for L4D1 (sticking with content from the first, though presumably some new textures/sounds) that is also in 2 and both games can play on (OK, technically much harder I know, depending on how much the code has changed)). And apparently my vauge dissapointment with Valve’s direction, having come to expect better support from them in the past apparently made me the target of attacks and scorn from games journalist, including those at the wonderful RPS here.

    Anyway, so last year’s fantastically intense coop (and competetive) game back, with some of the bigger problems fixed and more ambitious level design? Sounds very much one of the games of the year. Maybe once my Borderlands obsession dies down and it appears on a cheap enough deal for all my internet friends to get it, I’ll pick it up and have another go. Until then, TF2, DoW2 and Borderlands would seem to be my online world.

    • CMaster says:

      God that’s a stupid comment.
      Sorry guys.

    • phil says:

      Don’t beat yourself up, there’s plenty worse. You could have not mentioned the game at all in your comment and merely expressed a personal prejudice. I loathe people who do that.

    • CMaster says:

      But I’m just trying to get my say in on an argument that hasn’t started yet, but will. I’m not adding anything constructive about the article or the discussion. It’s not stupid and hatefilled, because I like to at least think that I’m not. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a useless post however.

    • Funky Badger says:

      Group hug?

    • phil says:

      Well, it is very cold outside, why not?

  7. VHATI says:

    ROBROB. Its not entitlement when Valve is telling everyone in prerelease interviews they will be adding new weapons and infected and to expect TF2 level of post launch support.

    That is my only problem with valve or l4d2.

    • Jeremy says:

      Yes, Valve certainly has proven time and time again that it’s just out to screw the gamer.

    • suibhne says:

      Total strawman, Jeremy. The fact that Valve has provided stellar ongoing support for another title doesn’t magically inoculate against the fact that it promised a level of service for L4D that it hasn’t come even close to providing. If anything, Valve’s track record means it should be more of a target for this sort of point, because the company’s heart is in the right place and it might actually come around to a more righteous pov.

  8. Ian says:

    The only thing I find a bit odd about L4D2, and I must stress this may come from not having much played it at higher difficulties yet, but despite them making some new infected especially to stop “bunch in a corner for five minutes” tactics working so much, I find that aside from the jockey the specials actually move you around less than in the last game. yeah you have to negotiate spitter goo and a jockey (hatehatehate them) will dick you around but ultimately I just feel there’s been less instances so far than in the first game where me and my teammates get split up in a big, bad way.

    Also: You’re more reliable on your human chums because I’m sure the AI are worse in this one.

    That said I still love it and think it improves over the original in a good number of ways.

    • AlexW says:

      Dear God the AI are stupid in this game. They’ll use up their medkit in the safehouse and not take another (when everyone else is healed up and holding one), they’ll never use a defib, they are even less useful for stopping incaps, they help each other rather than helping the human players, they can’t navigate the maps (Parish’s jester jump springs to mind), they’re retarded when it comes to the grenade launcher (lost connection one time and by the time I got back a minute or two later Ellisbot had used thirteen rounds), etc.

      Also, if I fire five crouched magnum shots at a Hunter, I don’t give a damn what network latency problems I’m having, IT SHOULD DIE.

      Hard Rain’s effects are awesome, though. It’s just a shame that there aren’t any penalties for trying to make the trip back across the streets rather than using the rooftops – especially in Versus.

    • Ian says:

      This is something that I only really noticed last night when playing Hard Rain and The Parish with some friends. A couple of times in saferooms one of us had to go for a few seconds (loo, drink, whatever) it decided we were idle SUPER quickly and the AI instantly chomped up the remaining medkits on people who still had 80% of their health.

      Unless you actually sign out, in saferooms the game should assume you’re still there until the saferoom door is opened, for my money.

    • Esc says:


      When I play Hard Rain on the way back the flooded ground slows me down, it doesn’t do this for you?

    • AlexW says:

      Esc, it does slow the player down a bit on Campaign/Realism, though not on Versus if I recall. The problem I have with this is that just moving a bit slower is a small price to pay for the greater cohesiveness of all four players at the same height with greater visibility, as well as making it much harder for the Specials to divide the Survivors.

      Really, I think they should have deepened the water somewhere, making it either impossible or very, very difficult to follow the ground path compared to the rooftop route.

  9. nine says:

    I played L4D1 for 40hrs, and I’ve played this one for 40hrs too (so far). Never let anyone say these aren’t good value games.

  10. Tei says:

    Theres nothing new in L4D2, nothing ground breaking. The new infected are like “gameplay patch’s” to fix the good old gameplay. And Is something new to learn and master… a interesting task. Not all new weapons feel Ok. L4D2 is like L4D1 un-streamlined. Is like.. humm.. “Gladiator 2”, “The six sense 2” or “28 weeks later”. Good, but pointless, and based on something already excelent not adding much relevant.
    L4D2 is a excellent game, but a 90% of this is because of his L4D core that is mostly excellent. Its somewhat like Doom vs Doom2.

    • sebmojo says:

      So you’re saying it’s.. like… some kind of… sequel? So that’s what the ‘2’ means.

    • MastodonFarm says:

      Actually, I’m pretty sure its the sequel to Left 3 Dead 2.

  11. Uglycat says:

    You should attach that arm to something pronto!

  12. JoeDuck says:

    It’s a better game than L4D1 and what makes it for me is the level design. The carnival, the swamp, the bridge are way better levels that those of L4D1. Still have to finish some expert campaigns, but I am savouring each one.
    It’s a great game, I am enjoying it a lot.
    Just wish that people could judge this game for what it is, but it seems impossible.

  13. The Pink Ninja says:

    My opinion: Great fun but I so often end up with shitty players and that’s really busting my chops >:

  14. Reverend Speed says:

    Awful goddamn CTD bug introduced in the Nov 21st update that prevented myself and my friends from loading the game for two weeks: Bad.

    L4D2: Gooood.

  15. jsutcliffe says:

    I wish I had online friends to play it with — I liked the first one, but didn’t feel like I got all I could out of it by playing with strangers. If my gaming friends would put their Calls of Duty down and play something more interesting for a minute, I’d be all over L4D2.

    Does it have a crowbar in it?

  16. akbar says:

    Advice please! I am interested in the L4D games. I haven’t played either of them, demo or full game. I have never played a coop shooter and overall very little online multiplayer. But these games seem totally awesome. Should I get L4D? Should I just skip it and get L4D2? Should I get both? Generally I like it when there’s a good story, so it would seem like a shame to jump in half way through.

    • CMaster says:

      Go straight for L4D2, I’d say.
      The story is nothing remarkable and don’t really follow on. The storytelling is good.

    • Tei says:


      Mr. Admiral… don’t buy both!. Buy one, and If you really like it, maybe buy the other.

    • invisiblejesus says:

      Go right for L4D2. If you don’t have friends to play with online though, maybe wait for a sale or something, because you’ll either start making friends and have an awesome time or you won’t and you’ll be a bit disappointed. I’m hesitant to recommend a newbie to online play go ahead and grab it at full price, on the off chance that you wind up going the latter route.

    • akbar says:

      Yeah cool reading this and some of the comments below I guess that’s the way to go. That, and trying to persuade some friends to get it. Hmmm. Literally none of my friends game, at least on PC.

    • Arathain says:

      Yup, go straight for the second one. Don’t worry too much about playing online. Jump in, be willing to learn, and you’ll be up to speed in no time. The core rule- stick with the group. Do not go off on your own. Don’t lag behind, don’t push on ahead without checking to see if anyone’s following you. Follow this rule and you’ll be a damn site better than a lot of the monkeys I end up with. It’s more important than knowing exactly when to use a pipe bomb or whatever.

      Hm, also make frequent use of your right-click shove while getting meleed by regular zombies. You can do it while you reload.

    • Vinraith says:

      Go straight to the second one, the first is completely redundant now. And as others have said, if you don’t have anyone to play it with, wait for a steep sale. The single player is terrible, as the AI bots are dumb as fenceposts. It’s a game you basically have to play with real people to get full enjoyment out of it. My own experience with pick up groups in the first game was fairly miserable, it’s really far better if you have 3 friends to play with (or 7 friends if you want to play versus).

    • Arathain says:

      As I think I’ve mentioned before, I play almost entirely with random folk. While I do meet my fair share of perfectionist jerks, bigots and just plain stupid people, my experiences have kept me coming back regularly ever since the first one was released. So, give it a go, and don’t let a small number of bad experiences put you off. It is the Internet, after all.

      That said, of course, playing with people you enjoy will be the optimum experience by far.

  17. Heliocentric says:

    I can’t wait for left 4 dead 3. I hear it has jetpacks and grappling hooks.

    • Pseudonym says:


      But will it have double jumps?

    • DMJ says:

      @Heliocentric: Grappling hooks? That sounds like the best game ever. What couldn’t a man accomplish if he had two grapple guns?

    • DMJ says:

      Close tag fail.

  18. invisiblejesus says:

    While I had the same issues VHATI did with how L4D1 was handled, I gotta say that even with the thin gunfire sounds and huge pistols L4D2 really does blow L4D1 out of the water. I do miss the “Wow, this is really fucking dark like, everywhere, all the time” of L4D1, and I’m not sure just how much of an improvement it is in coop play, but it’s so far and away better in versus than L4D1 it makes it’s predecessor look quaint. The new weapons are cool and all, but the combination of new special infected and partially procedurally generated maps adds a lot more variety and takes a huge chunk out of the old “Let’s just race to the finish and not actually play with the other team” approach. Granted, if I didn’t have friends to play with I might think otherwise. But I do have friends to play with. Go. Get friends. Play. Kil Skulls. Oops, wrong game.

    • Wilson says:

      invisiblejesus: Yeah, L4D2 sounds much better than the old one, but I don’t feel the original was really worth the money I paid (I’m not complaining by the way, since I never heard any of the promises so didn’t purchase based on them) but I’ll certainly get this when they do a sale, which should be fairly soon I hope.

      I sympathize with people who bought the original on the basis of DLC, since they were conned somewhat. An unfortunate lesson to be careful about dev assurances of extra content, whoever they might be. I hope Valve do support L4D2 better, but we’ll see won’t we?

    • invisiblejesus says:

      To be fair, with regards to the DLC bit, I do think L4D turned out to be a lot harder to get right than Valve expected. Given their track record, it’s tough for me to believe that they took forever fixing bugs, getting matchmaking to work reasonably well, balancing versus, etc etc simply because they wanted to rip people off. I don’t think those people feeling burned about the lack of updates are necessarily being unreasonable, but for me the ambition of the thing, the sheer number of hours I spent playing it despite it’s flaws, and the fact that it pretty much saved my circle of online gaming buds from drifting apart when we started losing interest in City of Heroes were mitigating factors I couldn’t reasonably ignore. Others don’t feel the same way, and that’s fair enough, but for myself I’d be being unreasonable if I just slagged it for that failing and left it at that. I just got too much out of it not to exercise a little forgiveness.

  19. Martin Coxall says:

    I was wrong.

    L4D2 is literally amazing. That first time I ran along the roller coaster tracks in Dark Carnival, swinging a fire axe, I chortled with glee.


    And I got it for twenty quid on Steam. Thank you please.

    • Rinox says:

      :-) Or what about playing the finale for Dark Carnival for the first time? Glorious. “ONE BAD MAAAAAN”

  20. Vandelay says:

    Only played the demo, but will certainly be getting this come an inevitably Steam Christmas sale (fingers crossed it will be next week.)

    One thing I will say though is that it is a big shame that the original will probably die out. I really think Valve should have allowed those that purchased the original game to be able to access the original levels from the new game. It should be easy to do this through Steam. That’s not to say that the game should have been an expansion pack (this does seem to be a full price game,) but the thought of struggling to get a game of No Mercy or Blood Harvest going is a sad one.

    • Martin Coxall says:

      I have a strong suspicion that the original campaigns will appear in L4D2 as DLC before too long. Playable with the new special infected and Melee weapons.

      Obviously that means they have to be reworked a tad, but I doubt it’s a huge job. Now all they have to do is bring the original four survivors into L4D2 via some other DLC.

      OH LOOK.

    • Psychopomp says:

      In case you haven’t noticed, L4D2 maps are generally more open. In closed in spaces, the charger and spitter can absolutely devastate the survivors, the latter taking out a good 50-90% of their health more often than not.

      L4D maps, on the other hand, were a lot of long, closed in corridors. It would take a lot more than a little tweaking to make the old campaigns playable with the new SI.

  21. Chris R says:

    L4D2 is a very fun game, if you have 3 other friends to play it with. And if you have 3 friends you can trust, you can all jump on the 4 pack and get the game for $37.50 I believe, so that’s a hell of a deal.

    Anyway: L4D2… huge thumbs up for me, and I played L4D1 to death last year. Both are good, fun games, but become great, amazing, fun games when playing with friends over Vent or Teamspeak. If you have no friends, make some steam friends that use mics, they’re out there.

  22. Flint says:

    Like John, I’m a singleplayer sort of person. To the extent that even in WoW I much more enjoy going all by myself in the world and keeping all the other people as ambience improving entities rather than someone to constantly engage with. I’m the sort of person who’s been griping and moaning for the past year or two about the increased focus on multiplayer.

    Yet I adore Left 4 Dead 2. The first one was excellent, this one is even better. I don’t like playing with random people as that tends to suck away the fun due to too big of a risk for boring/annoying SERIOUS BUSINESS whiners, but with a group of friends and acquaintances it’s simply an amazing experience. Huddling together for survival, planning a great infected ambush on Versus, panicingly try to get that last gas can needed… it’s all brilliant. It’s one of the few games that I enjoy the most when things get really hard.

    Wonderful thing.

  23. The Right to Arm Bears says:

    Not yet played L4D2, but rather looking forward to it. People who complain about L4D1 are both right and wrong, I think. Starting with con’s is more fun: it’s going to die out and be relatively forgotten (relative to its newer, shinier sibling that is). It’s all I have on my hard drive right now if I want to do some thrilling zombie coop, and I will feel very “last-gen” and looked-over for playing the game that I bought a little over a year ago. I have to admit that I haven’t tried (borderlands and TF2 currently reign supreme in my gaming brainspace), but I imagine that all the excellent L4D friends I made have migrated over and that there are probably relatively slim pickings for the public multiplayer scene on L4D, which is a shame.

    But the pro’s? Man, there were a lot. Conceptually daring, arresting unscripted moments, tons of fun, etc. But the best part, I thought, was how it was a total friend-maker. I would say that I acquired about 60 people who were a total blast to play with, and back in its salad days finding friends who were interested in fun, playing well, etc was a snap. After a month or so, I never had to try to join public games randomly without knowing someone. So for those who worry about the public trolls: don’t! Send friend invites to people who are fun, and then play with them later! Who knows, maybe you’ll make a friend, and it’ll even turn out that our parents were wrong about how useless video games are ;)

  24. Vinraith says:


    “Yeah, Left 4 Dead 1 does seem more abandoned than we’d hoped- but it’s pretty clear Valve aren’t going to do that with L4D2. It is a shame they went for a full retail sequel as soon as they did, but I’m convinced they’ve made themselves a better platform to perform their usual merry trickery from this time.”

    Thank you for that, I suspect you’re right. It’s something of a shame that the first one burnt me out on the whole zombie shooting thing to the degree that even if they were giving L4D2 away for free I don’t think I could be bothered to play it.

  25. Casimir's Blake says:

    I could have sworn Savygamer said this was available at PC World with a “walk-in” price of £18.99. Well my local branch confirmed it was very much listed at £29.99! So I still haven’t bothered.

  26. Tei says:

    It seems there are two hot topics on the L4D2 forums.

    You know what is cool? playing with the L4D1 characters.
    You know what is cool? playing with the original campaing of the L4D1

    I think is simpler to just play L4D1. But the neew infected on No Mercy hospital is a sounding idea.

    • invisiblejesus says:

      The upgraded director would be sweet if they can get it to work with the old maps, too. That’s really the biggest improvement for me, in versus at least; it’s much more fun when the survivors don’t know every nook and cranny of the map like the backs of their hands.

    • Arathain says:

      I’d be very excited to be able to play the old maps with the new improvements. It seems more likely the levels would be without the changes that the new maps have- I imagine those are a fair bit of work. But playing with the new Infected on the old familiar maps would be a blast.

      Although… perhaps the Charger might be a little overpowered on all those city rooftops. I can see a lot of Survivors going the way of that first window and ledge on Dead Center 1.

    • RobF says:

      There’s already a mod of sorts to get the L4D1 campaigns into L4D2 but whilst it’s nice for a quick fix, without some major tweaking to the design they don’t feel quite right. They’re clearly designed around a different play style and it shows.

      Plus, No Mercy without Bill? Oh come on!

  27. DJ Phantoon says:

    The game has a chainsaw. Clearly it is the best game ever.

  28. john t says:

    I was actually really looking forward to this and found myself not enjoying it at all. For some reason, it’s an exercise in frustration. The difficulty level is just hard enough that it causes hard feelings with your friends, and when you actually beat a level, it feels like you just got lucky.

    • Funky Badger says:

      What difficulty are you playing on? Haven’t played on Expert yet, but beating Expert L4D1 felt far from lucky, you had to have everything spot on…

  29. Shadowcat says:

    If you enjoy single-player gaming, do NOT buy L4D2. Not yet, at least. Unlike L4D1, the friendly AI is simply incapable of supporting you this time around, and it’s completely infuriating.

    If you’re only interested in playing online, then go for it — there’s lots of good new stuff. There’s no doubt that Valve rushed this release, however. Disappointing.

  30. bill says:

    Doom 2 rocks. So much better than doom 1.

  31. Rane2k says:

    So far, this and Quake Live are my two favourite games of the year!

    I was very skeptical when they first announced it, but I gave it a chance, and it´s totally awesome!

    They fixed almost all the issues that I had with the first one (lack of weapons, too much ammunition, “campy” crescendo events, unfair item distribution in versus, added gametype for short play-sessions), they managed to make the gameplay more frantic and hectic, I am amazed. :-)

    Only thing that still bugs me is the matchmaking/serverfinding, sometimes you start a game from the lobby and land on a server where ALL players have 250+ ping. I´d like to have some more control over where I get to play.

  32. Barts says:

    I have no gaming friends who got L4D (ok, one or two, but they play it very rarely), but each time I played with a reasonable player throughout campaign, I would add send them friend invite. Now I have a bunch of folks playing with whom is fun, full of those spectacular moments L4D is so full of, like returning from the chopper hovering over the field of zombies on the top of Mercy Hospital for a friend who is hanging on the opposite ledge of the roof and bringing him safely back. I was sure we’ve lost it, but tried to help him because of my inner samurai code, but somehow we’ve made it back and earned Noone Left Behind badge.

  33. Prey King says:

    Game of Christmas? To me this is more a lump of coal made in the shape of the wonderful Christmas present that kid across the street got.

  34. Scandalon says:

    The only thing Doom2 has going for it is the super-shotgun. And yea, technically it runs in a bit higher resolution. Everything else just feels…off. (Myth2 vs. Myth1 was the same thing…)