Sunday, 8 November 2009

Left 4 Dead 2: The Demo.

I never played Left 4 Dead. I wanted too. I even downloaded the demo. But I never got round to playing it, and unfortunately, it had a time expiration on it. I'm not that big of an online gamer, but seeing how this game is something of a phenomenon, when I saw that the demo for L4D2 had been released, I jumped at it.

And Jumped.

And carried on jumping.

Lets just say that Left 4 Dead 2 is very atmospheric. The demo runs through the first two chapters of "The Parish" Campaign - The waterfront and the park, respectively. Set in New Orleans, the Demo starts on the jetty at the docks. Apologies for the quality of screenshot, The game autmoatically selected the best settings for performance, and I don't have a high-end machine.

Anyways. After the ship's captain has dropped you off, its up to you to make your way up that ramp into New Orleans proper. And almost immediately, you encounter infected. Now, the basic level infect is pretty much cannon fodder at the start. There's a weapon spawn right at the start, and The Director - Thats the name of the AI that controls the action - saw fit to leave a shotgun and a machete right there from the off. So, on this playthrough, I had the immediate oppurtunity to start shooting some zombies in the head.
The shotgun, as was immediatley apparent, is a very satisfying weapon. A couple of shots, even glancing ones, can put Horde infected down. Heads Be a-poppin. Of course, the big weapon update for L4D2 is the inclusion of Melee weapons. Such as the machete.

I Like my Machete.
I Liked it a lot.

In fact, I like it so much, I named it Celeste. I sleep with it lying next to me. Just in case.

I've only really enountered one or two games before where Melee combat was this satisfying, and both of those games revlved around Melee combat - Dark Messiah of Might and Magic and Oblivion. But the Melee weapons in L4D2 are really satisfying to use. Theres a genuinely chunky feel to hitting the zombies with the melee weapons. Hell, on the first online playthrough I did, I fought my way out of a corner with just the machete - the Horde was upon me, and I did not have time to reload.

The waterfront section was mainly confined streets, funneling the infected towards you. Of course, theres always the odd super-infected, like the spitter. This lovely lady spits Acid. yes, Acid. She is a pain in the arse. And on the playthrough I did to get these screenshots, she was also the one I encountered the most.

Things really started heating up when I got onto the second, chapter, however, and started making my way through the park. Because who should I encounter, but a new variant of an old favourite from the first game: The Wandering Witch.

yes, she's back, ladies and gentlemen, the Bane of survivors everywhere. But now, she doesn't just sit down crying like an emo bitch waiting for her next Linkin park gig, oh no. Now, she wanders around, just asking to stumble into the crossfire of the survivors.

Like this: I took down a normal zombie with my shotgun.

Just as a witch wandered past the statue in the background.
Which resulting in this:


Thankfully, I survived the attack, and got back to it, working my way through to the demo's Crescendo event: A desperate rush to a tower to shut off an alarm that was attracting every zombie within 2 square miles. My ammo was starting to runa bit low at this point.

Thankfully, Celeste came to my rescue:

...A Lot:
...Okay, I just really like hitting things with machetes, okay? Jeez. anyways, after that alarm was silenced, I made may way out to the bus shelter near the last stretch of the demo. seeing that the courtyard was full of zombies, I fired a burst from my recently acquired AK47.

Of course, I'd failed to take into account that, from a distance, the Wandering Witch looks like a regular zombie stumbling around.

In terms of whether or not I'll be getting this game: Yes. Even though my computer can't really do it justice, I loved every minute of this game. The Director really gave the game an edge over the competition: Every time I played through the demo, it went differently. At one point I even just camped in position for a while - and the AI started sending super-infected after super-infected after me. The charger is especially a pain - as the name suggests, it charges you into the wall and then pounds you on the floor. The Jockey is more irritating than dangerous, although in big-horde situations it can cause problems. The most tactical one - thinking ahead to the Versus mode in the full release - is probably going to be the spitter. The acid caused genuine problems for me throughout the demo, and the spread area is an utter git in choke points and narrow confines.

My steam ID is Bmyatt_uk. Feel free to join me.