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Left 4 Dead 2 Launched!

Gordon Kelly


If you've noticed a general lack of productivity in your life this month it could be down to many things: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Movember (hint, hint, hint!) and in the case of today, this...

Left 4 Dead 2 (or L4D2 as everyone knows it) has launched today. Remarkably it is the sequel to Left 4 Dead and also involves a group of survivors fighting off endless waves of zombies following an apocalyptic pandemic.

Despite this, L4D2 does make one significant change to its predecessor: there's a story arc. Up to four players take control of four new protagonists and you'll fight five main campaigns through a shopping mall, amusement park, bayou, sugar mill and parish. Again the focus will be on co-operative gameplay and new weapons and additional types of infected (including 'The Jockey' which can leap on your back and control you - nasty).

Key to the first game's success was 'The Director' AI system, in L4D2 it has evolved further and now not only adapts the difficulty of infected waves based on player performance, but also can alter the levels themselves changing layouts, weather, lighting and more to make every session unique. Clever stuff.

On the downside, L4D2 has come in for criticism from hardcore L4D fans because developer Valve had marketed the original as a long term project with continuous content evolution. A sequel seems to quash much of that.

I'd be cross, but I'm too busy firing up the chainsaw...


Left 4 Dead 2 Official Homepage


November 17, 2009, 10:12 pm

People don't expect major post-release content updates from any other developers, just Valve. They've released two major updates since release, adding a new play mode, expanding the original campaigns and creating a new (albeit short) campaign, yet still people grumble. I don't get it.

Some argue that the original game was incomplete to begin with and the initial price warranted these additions, which is probably valid. However, I've spent over 200 hours playing L4D and that makes it the best value game I've ever bought. I'm certainly not alone, yet still people grumble.

From what I've played of the sequel, it's a complete offering with at least twice the content of the original, though some are referring to it as a 'map pack' which is rather missing the point. The game obviously warrants its packaging as a separate game, a deserving sequel even, yet still people grumble.

To top it all off, at no point have Valve said that they will be ceasing further development of the original. In fact, they've gone to great lengths to reassure the community that they'll continue to produce new content.

To the doubters, I say stop grumbling and grab yourself a copy of this superb game. It might just put a smile on your face.

Oh well, rant over...


November 17, 2009, 11:36 pm

If you have Steam, download the demo without hesitation. One of the best multiplayers around. The graphics still use the Source Engine, but it's been so heavily modified the graphics are still stunning. Having only played a little of both games, I can't see many differences to the formula, but in all a solid game. Replayability may suffer a little compared to other multiplayer FPS but Valve support should negate that in the future with newer maps and scenarios.


November 17, 2009, 11:40 pm

my only complaint is that steam was brought to its knees when the game was released. even after i preordered and preloaded it, steam was down for much of the day.


November 17, 2009, 11:46 pm


I disagree with the "major" DLC as you described with what was a bare product originally, content wise.

Technically and the in the "ideal" gameplay situation among friends L4D is paradise.

Play with randoms and it transcends to the complete opposite a skank infested suburb of Liverpool. I'm really tired of zombies now so I won't be buying this sequel whether it is worth it or not.


November 18, 2009, 1:39 am


VALVe have set themselves up a bit with Team Fortress 2...

We've had 7 MAJOR CONTENT updates (with at least 2 more to come), 19 new maps, and now, HATS!

I paid my £35 quid nearly 3 years ago, and not a penny more since then (and we got HL2:E2 and lets not forget Portal thrown in!)

I'm not surprised at people's expectations for L4D - it does seem out of character for VALVe *if* you compare it to their other multiplayer franchise.


November 18, 2009, 1:51 am

Where is it out? Everywhere says its out on the 20th?


November 18, 2009, 5:17 am

@inzimam, Since it's made by Valve, they can release it a little earlier on Steam. It's a little pre-order bonus


November 18, 2009, 5:47 am

@Ryan - I would think that's more the exception then the norm though. Three games all released in one pack, all getting excellent reviews. The gaming gods were smiling on that day :) If only more releases could be like that.

Compare and contrast with something like EA's Mass Effect which got two(!) pieces of downloadable content in its lifetime. At least if you buy a Valve game you know you're going to get plenty of updates and bug fixes, even if they release a sequel so soon after the original (like in the case of Left 4 Dead).


November 18, 2009, 7:17 am

It's out on Steam now, in stores on the 20th.


November 18, 2009, 2:30 pm


That's the other half of the point I was trying to make :¬)


November 18, 2009, 3:30 pm

@Chris: Well said, I couldn't agree more! I've clocked 200+ hours on L4D and from what I've played so far, can see myself doing the same on L4D2. At £26.99, it's cheap entertainment!

We should also be grateful that unlike COD:MW2 and Borderlands, Valve actually spend money on providing their own official dedicated servers for L4D. Which combined with community operated dedicated servers, means that 5 nights out of 7, you can find a decent server to play on.

Admittedly, COD has an exceptional single player experience but how much are you prepared to pay for that 5 hour component in MW2? Personally, I couldn't say but I do I know that I'd happily pay £26.99 for the multiplayer aspect of MW2 if they supported dedicated servers.


November 18, 2009, 8:00 pm

@Ryan: "Valve's other multiplayer franchise"? I think you need to watch out for both terrorists and counter-terrorists.

@Pbryanw: Mass Effect is a Bioware game, not an EA in house one.

@Chris: I think you're being a bit narrowminded. For a start, An amount of extra extra content similar to L4D is provided by lots of developers. Bioware and Epic are the most obvious ones but I could probably name at least half a dozen more.

As for grumbling I can well understand it. Four campaigns isn't that much - most other developers do better. They may have promised more content, but they have just halved (at least) the number of games and cancelled many mods by releasing L4D2. And then there's issues like steam and having three out of four games unjoinable that annoy people. If you're fine with everything then you enjoy it, but I think it's unfair to say there's nothing to grumble about.


November 19, 2009, 12:39 am

@Xiphias: Every game has its faults, and I'm not saying they don't exist (Steam), but that's beside the point. I was addressing the common complaints raised against L4D2's release.

Neither am I saying that Valve could have gotten away without producing any kind of DLC. The initial release was widely acknowledged as being thin on the ground, and Valve promised additional content from day 1. However, I feel that they've fulfilled that promise and they haven't said they won't continue to do so, yet many people still seem to expect more from them. I don't see that level of demand applied to products from other studios.

I can understand that people might be annoyed that many L4D players will move to L4D2, which will reduce the number of players online. Fair enough, but it's not as if all the servers will be closing down overnight. Multiplayer classics like CounterStrike 1.6 are still being played years after their successors have been released. I'd hardly blame Valve for wanting to advance the platform.

Bottom line, I'd rather have L4D2 than not. The franchise wouldn't be anywhere near where it is now without it and, as a fan, I think that's a good thing.

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