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Left 4 Dead 2
Left 4 Dead 2

PC | Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Developer: Valve Software Official Site:
Publisher: Valve Software
Left 4 Dead 2

Genre: Action
Developer: Valve Software
Official Site: http://store.steampow...
Publisher: Valve Software
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Left 4 Dead 2 Review
Review By @ 06:14pm 19/11/09
*Please Note: We reviewed playing both original and censored versions of the game, however the end score reflects the modified version available at Australian retail. The box-out insert talks about the modified version of the game, and we have no qualms suggesting players attempt to purchase their copy from outside of Australia.

Left 4 Dead was a successful first person shooter from Valve Software. The second instalment in the series follows in the same vein, but for those who haven't been introduced to it yet, a brief synopsis: Essentially you're fighting your way through a late-stage Zombie movie: 99% of Earth's population has been turned into ravenous blood-thirsty zombies (the "infected") only satiated by feasting on the blood of those who have yet to succumb. You and your "friends" (they're easily identifiable because they're the ones whose eyes don't glow in the dark and they're not running straight at you with blood leaking round their mouths) who are survivors of the infection just want to get the hell out of this mess, mostly because being chased by hordes of zombies who want to eat your brains every time you sneeze or otherwise make a loud noise gets to be a real drag.

You have your pick of weapons and ammo that are lying around in the world; happily the zombies aren't smart enough to use them and you're in America, so there's plenty of guns lying around. Anything else you can scavenge from the environment to keep you healthy is fair game too.

If the game started and ended with mindless infected zombies running at you, you'd be forgiven for wondering how this simple mechanic would be worth your hard-earned, but there's a bit more to it than that. As well as the brain-dead zombies that constantly run at you flailing limbs (their strength is in their number and in getting close to you without you seeing them first), there are special infected who have mutated to have specific skills and smarts and whose goal is to bring you down, or at least mess with you long enough to help the other infected do the same to the other survivors.

The other large part of the game: it's designed to be played with other humans. There's a single player mode in which you run around with three other survivors that are controlled by AI, but you'll have to trust me when I say that they don't react to your screaming and begging for help like a real person does. They're good fun as far as they go, but you're going to want real honest-to-god humans in control of the other survivors if you're going to make it through the campaigns in the harder difficulty levels. There's a campaign mode that lets up to four players take on the horde (essentially co-op), and there's a versus mode where four survivors try to get through a level while four human-controlled special infected roam about, and then the roles swap. Teams are ranked based on how far they get (and how many get there).

So what's new in Left 4 Dead 2? To my eyes, most things. The core mechanic and ideas remain unchanged from the first game, but Valve has taken what was successful in the first game and improved on it for the second. It's not the perfect game now, but they've clearly thought seriously about the feedback from Left for Dead, and done a decent job of addressing some of it. They've also thrown in a lot of new stuff besides.

First up, the characters. The survivors are largely unchanged apart from their appearance. There are four new characters, but the way they play and interact together is unchanged, save for a seemingly much larger repertoire of one-liners that are delivered through the campaigns. The real stars are the special infected, and there are three new types that rear their ugly heads (hopefully only long enough to have a round planted between their eyes).

The Charger: Similar in strategic effect to the hunter, the charger's skill is to utter a loud battle cry and charge straight ahead. If his charge coincides with a survivor, they are picked up and carried along for the ride, until the charger comes to a stop (using the survivor as an airbag). The charger proceeds to use his one muscular arm to repeatedly smash the survivor into the ground until one of two things happens: a) The other survivors kill the charger, or b) The survivor's head falls off. Care must be taken when using the charge: if you miss grabbing one of the survivors and end up at the end of your run without one to soften the stop at the end, you're very vulnerable until your head clears.

The Spitter: The spitter is a fairly weak infected that's very vulnerable (similar to the boomer), but has one of the best attacks in the game, one that will frustrate many survivors that know to get their backs to the wall and cluster together when the common infected horde swarms at them. The spitter's skill is to lob a ball of goo a considerable distance. In itself pretty disgusting, but when you take into account the fact that the goo is noxious acid, and also that it splashes on impact and sits on the ground continually eating away at human flesh, you've got a number 1 anti-camping weapon. The spitter is responsible for making many things more difficult for the survivors, but I'll get into that later.

The Jockey: The jockey's skill is to latch onto a survivors head, from where he can "ride" them in whichever direction he chooses. A survivor with a jockey controlling them can be made to walk into danger, can be ridden far away from their team-mates and disabled. There's something insanely fun about using the jockey in versus mode and getting a really good ride while the survivor under you shouts at his team-mates to free them. Not so much fun to be ridden, of course. Keep a weather eye out for these guys, they look a bit like Smeagol from LotR, only they think 'my precious' is inside your skull.

The other special infected have the same skillsets as before, with some very subtle changes when they're played in versus mode that'll take a little bit of adjustment if you're pro. The hunter especially springs (see what I did there?) to mind.

There's a new class of weapon, the "melee" weapon. These basically steal your pistol slot (you can't use your pistol any more while you carry them), and allow you to deal high damage to those zombies that are right next to you. There's a couple of comedy options like the frying pan, and the electric guitar, but functionally they all seem to be the same. The other choices for the pistol slot are dual wield pistol, or single magnum pistol. The magnum pistol is one shot common infected kill.

The other weapons have been upgraded a bit; there's now pump-action, automatic, and combat varieties of shotgun. There's two new types of automatic rifle to go along with the M-16, and a new variety of sniper rifle that's extremely powerful and has thirty shots in the clip. A new silenced sub-machine gun also makes a debut.

There's a grenade launcher now, and it packs a punch, but make sure you've got "friends" ready to protect you all the time or a rockin' melee weapon. It's a one-shot and then reload affair, and nothing causes brown trousers like the rest of a zombie pack kicking in the door while you fumble to pop another round in the chamber.

The inventory slot usually taken by the medkit has been upgraded too. It's now more multipurpose, and the survivors can choose whether to carry a medkit, defibrillator, or ammunition upgrade. The defib kit allows for a one-use revival of a survivor back from the dead. The ammunition upgrade allows the survivor to deploy extra types of ammo that can be picked up by the four survivors, giving them incendiary or explosive ammunition. Just the thing to deploy when you can hear a tank smashing his way towards you.

While on the topic of enormous zombies with overwhelming power and speed, the last item is likely to be handy for just that situation: the adrenalin shot. It gives you a boost of speed and a little bit of health enabling you to outrun even the most stubborn of tanks. Just watch out for the cars...

The overall look and feel of L4D2 has had an overhaul that will make it hard to go back to the first game. The levels feel much more open and more detailed than before, which helps to promote the feeling of desolation. There are numerous cosmetic changes, and there's no great need to list them all, but things like environmental effects, Uncommon infected (clowns at the carnival, swamp-zombies in the swamps) really help to set the scene. The level design seems to have focused on really keeping the levels within the campaign themes, and allowing for plenty of size to explore for items. Even the environmental music that starts up for horde rushes has been themed.


The version of Left 4 Dead 2 that is made available to Aussies is different to that sold almost everywhere else in the world.

The original version of L4D2 was Refused Classification in Australia, and Valve Software had to edit the game to make it suitable for an MA15+ release.

Gamers should be aware of the differences before buying the game – the easiest way to see them is to watch this quick video we prepared which clearly shows the differences.

Hopefully Australia's classification ratings will be reviewed soon and we'll get an R18+ rating - keep watch on EFA's campaign site for the latest."
The pace of the levels seems a little faster now, thanks in part to the spitter (can't stay in a single camping spot forever), and also thanks to changes in the crescendos and finales that keep the player moving instead of being able to wait them out so that the stream of zombies diminishes. The focus is on progress and movement instead of being able to hang around and camp indefinitely.

The old Left 4 Dead Achievements haven't been migrated into L4D2, which I feel is a bit sad, but perhaps it's for the best. There's a new set of achievements relating to the new special infected, and the new inventory items.

Campaign and Versus modes are still here, alongside Survival mode that was added as DLC some time after Left 4 Dead came out. There are two new modes, Realism and Scavenger. Realism is basically a hardened version of Campaign mode, all the useful little HUD tips are gone (you can't see where your friends are when they go behind walls or wander off from you), and the zombies are much more resistive to body hits (you really want to be going for the head). Scavenger is a 4v4 multiplayer mode where the Survivors have the goal of collecting fuel canisters and the infected are there to do what the infected do best.

Left 4 Dead 2 promotes team play. You rely on your team-mates. If you're looking for a strictly single-player game, this might not be for you. If you hated the first one, it probably isn't for you. If you've never played Left 4 Dead, play the demo and see what you think. Personally I find it a very enjoyable experience both initially in single-player, and long-term in the various multiplayer modes. Left 4 Dead 2 invigorates the brand, and I definitely recommend it to L4D fans and new players alike.

Please note: The bulk of this review is based on the non-modified version which we've scored an 8.5. The 5 in the field below represents the Australia-specific modified version which, against the un-modified game, is much less enjoyable.

What we liked
  • Far better atmosphere, more detailed and vast environments
  • Same core features as L4D, even more zombies
  • New special infected are going to mix the game up
What we didn't like
  • Australian version is horrific
  • Finding and joining games still isn't as easy as it should be
  • Bot AI still leads them to make similar mistakes
  • Some areas still very difficult to spawn in as special infected
We gave it:
Latest Comments
Posted 05:31pm 20/11/09
drowning instantly while choosing a spawn point as SI in VS mode is gaaaaaaaaaaaay.

otherwise it's an awesome game though

last edited by koopz at 17:31:39 20/Nov/09
Posted 05:38pm 20/11/09
australian censored version is FAIL
Posted 07:12pm 20/11/09
So disappointing.
Posted 08:14pm 20/11/09
Woah, <3 ausgamers and blahnana.
Posted 08:35pm 20/11/09

I guess they had to do it
Posted 09:31pm 20/11/09
drowning instantly while choosing a spawn point as SI in VS mode is gaaaaaaaaaaaay.
I nearly exploded with rage when that happened to me, 30 second timer again.

Must be a bug because if it's intended Valve sure f***ed up.
Posted 09:50pm 20/11/09
i think you were to generous giving it a 5. the cut version only deserves a 1.
Posted 10:54pm 20/11/09
it's nice to see the 3FL guys are providing 510 boxes left right and center


i think you were to generous giving it a 5. the cut version only deserves a 1.

it's a 9.9

we're not just talking about any game here - we're talking about L4D2 (a Steam engine game.)

after the dust settles we'll meta mod this to buggery for our own perverse reasons. Gore won't even matter anymore

last edited by koopz at 22:54:02 20/Nov/09
Posted 11:28pm 20/11/09
are you saying i'll be able to use the black guy to wield a white guys penis to bludgeon the zombies to death?
Posted 12:26am 21/11/09
if you put your mind to it I'm sure you could come up with a mod where you get to disrespect women and beat them with camels legs

L4D2 : Bakaladakadaka Street
Posted 12:58am 21/11/09
meanwhile, the only L4D 1 players left are absolute noob sk's. Gonna have to buy 2 just to get a decent game.
Posted 01:33am 21/11/09
jebus teq - why don't you two f*** and just get it over with ?
Posted 01:45am 21/11/09
I'm saving myself
Posted 01:56am 21/11/09
fair nuff

wants pics at the end though
Posted 05:57am 21/11/09
Needs more about the MP and what is an awesome section of the game. Most people like myself will probably play through the campaigns once or twice each then proceed to play the s*** out of the MP.

Valve could have gone down the tacked-on road for the l4d series and made it survivor vs survivor generic team DM with AI zombies playing as the middle man. However they didn't and made it a unique asymmetrical experience. It would be pretty f***en hard to balance this s*** when you have 2 totally different teams playing against each other but they pull it off.

Versus is pretty unique when you think about it, an MP mode that plays through the campaigns where one team has to operate from outside the bounds of the map for a lot of the time. Not many games can claim to have a similar experience.
Posted 07:21am 21/11/09
Man I remember when L4D2 was first announced, all you guys were soo f*****g cut up that it wasn't an addon for the first l4d lol
Posted 09:47am 21/11/09
i wasnt
Posted 10:23am 21/11/09
Man I remember when L4D2 was first announced, all you guys were soo f*****g cut up that it wasn't an addon for the first l4d lol
yeh a lot of people seemed to get over that really quickly when it became available for pre-order :) I have still held out though because I think what they did is really lame. It looks so much fun though so I may cave, but I'm hoping to hold out until the first sale.
Posted 10:25am 21/11/09
I was
still am

the $53.85 didn't bother me cos I'd happily have paid that for an add-on - it was the fact that they put different resources onto a sequel so soon after releasing the original, and despite claiming to have a sizeable team still working on the original, we had to put up with stupid s*** bugs and only two versus campaigns for so long and even when they did finally add the last two campaigns to versus, it was a half-assed job. the only noteworthy dlc until quite recently was the addition of survival mode which was a pure yawnfest against AI and the novelty factor for that wore off in about 2 days for me even if a week or two later for everyone else

by the time they'd added that new thing recently, crash course or whatever it's called, I'd already gotten bored of the game after putting in a solid 700 hours of playing it over the previous 6 months
Posted 10:34am 21/11/09
L4D versus was ultimately broken. I don't know how you spent 700 hours playing it Jim.

They either needed a huge update or a new game.

I'm very happy with L4D2, the entire pace of the game has changed and it's very challenging/exciting playing survivors. I enjoy both sides of VS. equally.

The new scoring system and tab-interface is one of the best additions.
Posted 10:41am 21/11/09
how do you mean ultimately broken? I thought the implementation of versus was great apart from a few silly bugs that weren't game-breaking - but the silly matchmaking/server find bugs meant you spent such a long time trying to pair up your two teams sometimes and only having two maps for so long got boring. I kept playing it though cos I had a couple of gaming friends and a regular handful of ppl I'd met through l4d who were very strong players and there was usually at least 4 of us on most nights/weekends so we'd team up and have some good games against clans or just randoms. I guess the attraction of doing well vs organised clans was a decent attraction that held me for a fair while
Posted 10:58am 21/11/09
I'm very happy with L4D2, the entire pace of the game has changed and it's very challenging/exciting playing survivors. I enjoy both sides of VS. equally.

yep. ive been s***ting myself so much playing survivor in versus. since theres more special infected you dont really know whats coming like you did in l4d (always boomer, smoker and 2 hunters). im enjoying survivor a hell of a lot more.
Posted 11:06am 21/11/09
I just couldn't find it fun Jim.

You played survivors and it was slow and repetitive, moving from section to section, sitting in corners and closets doing melee and surviving each wave one by one.

You played infected and it was frustrating because you had nothing to counter a solid survivor team doing lame tactics.

None of that happens in L4D2. The survivor team is on the move at all times trying to get maximum distance, everytime they revert back to L4D tactics a spitter really cleans up. The different crescendos in the campaigns really back up this new gameplay style by keeping them moving.

I just think it's a vastly superior game and directly addressed my gripe with L4D VS.
Posted 11:33am 21/11/09
Not going to be buying this when EB is selling this horribly censored version for $110. Absolute BS. It's no wonder that people turn to downloading things illegally.
Posted 11:35am 21/11/09
It's no wonder that people turn to downloading things illegally.
Not with L4D2 though?

I didn't think there was any possible way around Steam games?

How the hell can you pay $110? What's that for, Xbox360?

I paid $27 pounds, $47 AUD.
Posted 01:19pm 21/11/09
L4D 1 got cracked so yeah there is a way around steam games, you just dont get to play online with people. And it was $110 for the PC version, not console.
Posted 01:25pm 21/11/09
yeh buying from local retailers is usually a good way to get reamed
can't remember the last time I did that with a game, other than when we needed a copy quick so we could fire up servers for GA before we'd been sent a free copy from publisher

been buying them all online for quite a while

and yeh it was very different in that respect chub
but I did find it was fairly even if you had two good teams still
Posted 02:19pm 21/11/09
The matchmaking in L4D2 really is utter fail.

I can't remember being put with so many high pingers and foreign servers before.
Posted 02:27pm 21/11/09

Man I remember when L4D2 was first announced, all you guys were soo f*****g cut up that it wasn't an addon for the first l4d lol

I was surprised, releasing a game so soon after the first was not like valve. Pretty much what Jim said, by the time they released all the versus campaigns I was over the game.

L4D2 has 5 new and way better campaigns, everything about the game is 10x better. 5 campaigns, new modes, new characters/infected doesn't = addon. L4D1 was just released too early. Still played the s*** out of it though.

plasma - doesn't GA and 3FL have console commands to put in so it picks a local servers?
Posted 02:49pm 21/11/09
The matchmaking in L4D2 really is utter fail.

I can't remember being put with so many high pingers and foreign servers before.
I exclusively use Steamgroup servers.

Just add the big 3FL + Gamearena steamgroups, then you can slot into 7/8 games still on the 1st stage easy.

L4D2 has 5 new and way better campaigns, everything about the game is 10x better. 5 campaigns, new modes, new characters/infected doesn't = addon.

It is just a far superior game. The campaigns are absolutely badass, there's a fun mixture of new items and weapons (chainsaw FTMFW) and the new infected are perfect.

I would definitely recommend it, exceeded my expectations.

Dark Carnival is my favourite atm. Dark Coaster is one of the most difficult levels, haven't seen anyone survive the rollercoaster yet, you can nearly always get a perfect spit on them waiting for the gate to open. The concert finale is heaps of fun too for a simple arena, the little things like music/lighting/fireworks makes for an awesome atmosphere.
Posted 03:32pm 21/11/09
the 3fl servers are f***ed. pings wont go below 100.
Posted 03:41pm 21/11/09
100-150 is alright.
Posted 04:53pm 21/11/09

the 3fl servers are f***ed. pings wont go below 100.


sv_search_key 3FLNSW

last edited by ctd at 16:53:01 21/Nov/09
Posted 06:44pm 21/11/09
Went to check which campaigns I've done and it seems I've lost all of my achievements. Anyone else had this happen??
Posted 08:33pm 21/11/09
mine are back now

strangely, all the lan stuff we did is there as well now. I'm kinda happy about that though.. Survival is f*****g hard to get golds on without good mates
Posted 11:17pm 21/11/09
Massive problem in VS is if theres not enough infected players, bots dont take over the specials unlike the survivors. Although s***** AI survivors is still an issue.
Posted 11:43pm 21/11/09
its been like that since the original casa.
Posted 12:02am 22/11/09
I think I'd rather have the reduced respawn times (how it is now) than try and rely on an AI special infected
Posted 10:44pm 13/12/09
Auz versions scuk hard
Posted 04:26am 14/12/09
I'd already gotten bored of the game after putting in a solid 700 hours of playing it over the previous 6 months
imo 700 hours for whatever it is you paid for the game is good value for money.
Posted 09:37am 14/12/09
yep, think I mentioned the cost didn't bother me
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