Well I’ve had some quality playing time with the L4D2 demo over the past few hours, and in this article I’m going to tell you all about it.
Firstly, let me just say this; it’s not an expansion to L4D. So you folks can rest assured that when you fork out for this game, you aren’t handing over you hard-earned cash for a rehash of the original. Now of course being a demo, I was not able to see all the different features of the game, but nevertheless, with the official release date less than 3 weeks away this is very close to the real thing.
The demo allows you to play through 2 missions of the first level in the game, “The Parish”. The demo opens with your team having just stepped off a boat, and the driver mutters something about finding other survivors, then leaves. From hereon, you are on your own! In typical L4D style, there is a table with a small assortment of lower tier weapons; SMG’s, shotguns and some healthpacks. After grabbing these, it’s off to fight in an urban maze of houses and allyways.
Something that struck me in just the first 5 minutes of playing was the visuals. Now, L4D2 is built off the Source 2 engine, just like the last game, so I wasn’t expecting much in way of improvements. However, the character models are now more detailed, the weapons look sharper, the lighting effects look even better and the visuals have been generally shrapened up across the board. The improved visual effects don’t stop there. No, the most noticeable visual addition to Valve’s latest is the gore, and more specifically, the ways in which you can blow zombie’s to bits. Whereas in the last game where zombie mutilation was limited to say the least, in this game you can blow off arms, legs, heads. You can tear open stomachs and see some zombie ribs. You can blast the undead in the back if you want a sight of their spine. Make no mistake, this is one gory game.
Melee weapons are one of the major features of L4D2, and they are great fun to use. I couldn’t find the oh so coveted guitar, but I did get a chance to try out the nightstick, the frying pan and the machete. The machete was the most fun to use, as you could lop off zombie’s heads in one swing. Not to be unfair, the frying pan delivers one mean whack, and the sound of a clean blow is immensly satisfying. There are a few other new arrivals in the weapon department; the silenced SMG, the auto shotgun and the sniper rifle (don’t worry, the hunting rifle’s still there). They’re all welcome additions to the somewhat limited arsenal in the previous game.
The new boss zombies were also good enough to put in an appearance in the demo. Along with the old favourites, (the Tank, the Witch, the Smoker, the Boomer and the Hunter) I was lucky enough to be half killed by the Charger, the Spitter and the Jockey. The Charger is like a minature Tank; he is big, strong and deals out a lot of damge by sprinting at the nearest player and grabbing their faces to pummel them into the ground. Pleasant, I know! The Spitter is a slowish, lanky zombie. He spits up giant piles of acid goo, and if you step in it for too long, your health will shoot down. They are very effective at blocking choke points. And finally, the Jockey, my favourite. He is very fast, but not very strong and it does not take much to put him down. However, he works by jumping on a player and takes over control of you. He will normally steer you into the path of other super zombies, or into a big crowd of infected. He is great at taking out corner campers, so keep moving!
Well I hope that this has whet your appetite for more Left4Dead2 action. And just for the record, the answer to the question, “Should I buy it?”- well if you are on the fence at the moment, is most definitely a resounding yes.
The L4D2 demo is available to anyone who pre-ordered the game through Steam or other participating retailers. The demo because avilable to everyone on the 2nd of November, and the full game is released on the 20th November.