Currently, available for the Xbox 360 is Electronic Arts (EA) follow up to the wildly popular Left 4 Dead, is Left 4 Dead 2. The game launched November 2009 and although is not at the level of its precursor is still doing quite well.
The storyline picks up with the original storyline but set in the south. A virus has taken hold of the world and turning people into zombies. There are five new chapters for you to fight your way through in this first person shooter. The campaigns are shorter but the scenery more involved. The zombies have evolved as well, as an example a riot outfitted zombie making taking him down much harder.
The campaigns are set in the south as mentioned, so imagine fighting zombies in a swamp or sugar mill. The backdrops are more defines and involved unlike the first episode of Left 4 Dead where the campaigns were linger based on traveling around an endless urban playground. This adds to the game through detail and less repeat scene of countless cut and pasted buildings.
The game goal is to make it through each level to the safe house. This is one area where Left 2 Dead 2 excels. The games Artificial Intelligence (AI) module, dubbed the Director, will decide the level of difficulty, weapons placement and health ups based on your skill level of play. This is an ingenious mechanism to increasing the games re-playability as well as fun factor. The better you are the harder the campaigns as the AI will throw more zombies at you with less weapon and health spawns.
Another area Left 2 Dead 2 beats the competition is the change in weather and other factors in game play and crescendos will change each time you play a level adding new variety and challenges to the mix. So, in one scene it is a sunny afternoon when you partake in your zombie killing but once completed the level will change the next time you play it. Perhaps it is a downpour impairing your visibility and allowing the zombies to get closer before you spot them. Yes, another re-playability plus.
Left 2 Dead 2 has also added two new game play options including a headshot mode and a play against another option where you see who can bring the most gas cans to a generator, all the while fending off the zombies. These added events increase the challenge especially in player-versus-player concept or online play with a friend or complete stranger.
The graphics are not the best, but the overall graphics engine is commendable. The zombies can be gruesome as are some of the kills. However, there is still the issue with duplicated (copy and paste) zombies and when two are killed at once their death scene can be identical. It is really a small oversight considering the attention to detail with the environment and the change in game play based on the weather.
The changes to the weapons engine are an excellent addition, allowing for distant killing or up close and personal mêlée kills, which are good times for the gamer. Left 2 Dead 2 rated “M” for mature by the ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board) and the cost is a modest $49.99. Ideal for the gamer who is into first person shooters. This hectic, crazy zombie shooting fest is definitely fast paced and full of gruesome action.