Sunday, January 3, 2010

What I'm Playing: L4D2

I figured I would start a series of posts chronicling what I've been playing for the last couple of weeks. The short is a decent number of games, but nothing too in depth. I'll start with one I received for Christmas, Left 4 Dead 2.

Team-Based Gameplay

Not having played the original other than a demo, I can't comment on whether it was too soon after the first or if enough of an upgrade. I can only say that I've been having an overall good time with it. My main complaint with the game (which is also a positive depending on the time) is the over reliance of team based gameplay. I have no problems playing on teams having participated in CAL matches and a tournament for Battlefield 2, but random pick-up teams leaves you wondering what kind of game you are in for.

I have had plenty of great games where the team was clicking and people were communicating and we would end up steamrolling on Versus or Scavenge. But I've had plenty more experiences with utterly horrible teams that wouldn't talk and wouldn't even work together, having one member go running off ahead of the group and leaving us to fend off the four infected players. This leaves a Jekyll and Hyde effect as the good teams were some of the most fun I've ever had in a co-op game while the bad ones have left me rage quitting in frustration.


The levels in the game are really a mixed bag. Some are just god awful to play through even when you are a good team. The bridge and plantation come to mind in this regard. Fighting a non-ending stream of zombies for a couple minutes straight with no break just gets on my nerves. The best round of plantation I had was when the gate glitched and immediately opened after talking on the radio for the second time, letting us escape to the boat, ignoring the whole climax of the battle.

For the bad ones, there are some definite winners. Hard Rain comes to mind for the interesting storm mechanic. Fumbling around in the howling wind and pouring rain was quite exhilarating and improved an otherwise drab level design. Also, I like the daylight levels as opposed to the screenshots of the mostly nighttime first game. Something about broad daylight gets me more interested.


I can't imagine having to play through the campaigns without melee weapons as you would have to in the original. Being surrounded by enemies is easy to clear away with a couple swings of a baseball bat or machete, rather than spinning around shooting with a shotgun or assault rifle. Heck, probably a fifth to a quarter of my kills are with melee weapons.


Overall, I would recommend this game to people, though I find myself slowly getting to the point of playing when I see friends on. Maybe I just have a lower tolerance for stupid than most, but the bad teammates can kill a round a for me.

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