Left 4 Dead 2 Preview (Xbox360)

Left 4 Dead was one of our highest rated games ever, getting awfully close to 10/10. So close, in fact, that when we saw the brief trailer for Valve's latest zombie adventure at the Microsoft Press Conference, we knew we had to check it out directly from developer Valve. So we did.

Left 4 Dead 2 is very similar to its prequel. It keeps the fast-paced zombie killing gameplay style and introduces new scenarios for the zombie apocalypse to take place. L4D2 actually takes place just before the infestation begins, with four new characters doing their best to survive. What the story entails exactly is still unknown, but it promises to be a bit more intriguing than the original.

In our playtest, we immediately were able to sit on either PC or 360 and play it. Controls are the same, the feel is the same, and the look is the same. The real differences are new weapons (rather, newer-looking but so far identical weapons), melee weapons (like a frying pan, which is a one hit kill), and more dangerous situations. Oh, and at least one new 'boss' character.

The Charger is a mixture between a Tank and Witch: large with one massive arm which can inflict lots of damage. The Charger will literally charge at your team, but more importantly, it can grab a single player and throw them repeatedly at the ground. It's devastating, to say the least.

All the old super zombies return, though we didn't see a Tank in the mission we played, nor did we see a witch. It was there though...we heard it.

A few main updates to the weapons, besides the more stylized look, are the types of ammo that can be used. We were shown incendiary ammo, which will set zombies on fire with one shot, and we're assuming that there are other types of specialty ammo. Like normal ammo crates, special ammo is found on each map at different locations, and goes over your standard clip, meaning if you pick it up, you have to use it right away. There's no saving it for later.

The gameplay has also received slight updates, making gameplay a little more frantic. We played a scene where a giant alarm went off, which like the car alarms, draws zombies to it. It was around a giant barricade, so we had to run through the small maze, climb several ladders and shut it off manually. All the while, zombies are climbing fences and over the barricades to get to you, and they continue indefinitely until the alarm is shut off.

Is L4D2 really something unique? No, it isn't. L4D had that right, and like any good sequel Valve is working on tweaking the finer points and trimming the fat, not revamping it completely. It's an entirely new game on its own, so complaining that it should be just a downloadable expansion is a little ridiculous. L4D2 isn't a new take on the franchise; it's a new list of scenarios we haven't had the pleasure of playing yet.

Left 4 Dead 2 releases November 17th for the Xbox 360 and PC.

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By Kres (SI Elite) on Jun 08, 2009
Great. Playing L4D ocasionally still. So will be checking this one. If the scores will be as good. Too few maps in L4D
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jun 11, 2009
So all that was promised for L4D is being put into a sequel instead. Very shady move Valve, and a most unpopular one.
By satorn (SI Veteran Member) on Jan 24, 2010
Valve Software announced today Left 4 Dead 2 sold over 2 million units worldwide since its release two weeks ago. The company points out these results are for retail copies only, and not digital copies downloaded from Steam.