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Left 4 Dead 2 Kicks Zombie Ass

Well, Zombiephiles, the day we’ve all been waiting for (or, at least, the day this Zombiephile has been waiting for) has finally arrived – Left 4 Dead 2 was released about six hours ago (following a brief delay for God only knows what reason), and I’ve been knee-deep in zombies for the last two hours. Say what you will about how quickly Left 4 Dead 2 was released, and moan all you want about the fact that most developers are going to abandon the first Left 4 Dead game in favor of programming mods for the second one – all of that is true, but the simple fact remains that Left 4 Dead is an absolutely fantastic zombie video game, incredibly fun, and a significant upgrade over the original.

These four make zombie survival look easy.

These four make zombie survival look easy.

L4D2 takes the world of the Zombie into a new and scarier place altogether. So far this Zombiephile has only played through one campaign (the first, “Dead Center,” which takes place in a shopping mall a-la Dawn of the Dead), he’s willing to go out on a limb and say that Left 4 Dead 2 is going to be a wildly successful game – although the statement that the original L4D2 boycotters made about the fact that the game will fracture the L4D community is definitely true. These zombies are very nasty indeed – they’re not the sort to spend their time gardening or playing when they could be eating the brains of innocents and generally terrorizing humanity. Once you’ve played L4D2 it’s going to be very hard to go back to the original (although I, for one, will always miss Louis shouting “PEELZ HERE!”), and not every player is going to be able to shell out $50 so soon after paying for the first game.

As I’ve said, all of these things are true – and it would bother me more except for the simple fact that L4D2 is such a fun, creative and imminently playable sequel to the first game. Even if you never played the first L4D, and even if this is your first zombie video game, you’ll warm up quickly to the gameplay, characters, bad guys (the dudes in the CEDA suits are super creepy) and pretty cool level design.

One thing does bother me a bit about L4D2, though – currently there are only 50 achievements for the game. I initially thought that L4D2 would feature all of the original achievements, and then include 50 new ones, but no – they’ve basically eliminated the achievements from the first game (such as surviving an entire campaign without getting slimed by a boomer or having any friendly fire incidents) and replaced them all with new ones. Since Achievements are one of the things that really interests me about the game and keeps me coming back for more, I’m hoping Valve gets its head out of its butt and adds a significantly higher number of achievements – for a game this expansive, anything less than 100 achievements just isn’t going to be satisfying.

Besides that, though, and some general bugginess that’s endemic to the initial release of nearly all Valve games (including one very irritating bug that involves doors you’ve just opened immediately slamming closed again, which quite frankly really pisses me off), L4D2 is a fantastic game – and the few complaints that I have can be easily fixed up by Valve as the first wave of DLC (Downloadable Content) arrives along with some bug patches.

In short – if you’ve got the cash for it, get yourself Left 4 Dead 2. If you don’t – well, the holiday season is upon us.

Oh, and I forgot to mention – the chainsaw is wicked fun, as is the ninja sword. Who knew there were so many ninja swords scattered across the American south?

Ads of the Living Dead.