Left 4 Dead 2
Xbox 360, PC
Face it, a zombie apocalypse is around the corner, so we'd better prepare. They will outnumber us, but we're smarter. We've also got superior firepower, which we're going to need, because through sheer numbers they're physically stronger than us. If it comes down to it, we'll outrun them — everyone knows zombies are not only dumb, they're slow. … Wait a minute; zombies can run fast now? Oh, that's some bullshit. So we're outnumbered, outmuscled and they're Usain Bolt-fast? We're so fucked. As are the survivors in Valve's Left 4 Dead 2.
As in the first game, the L4D2 characters find themselves among the few survivors of a zombie pandemic. Problem is, these zombies have more in common with the rage-virus-infected cretins in 28 Days Later than the lumbering morons in Dawn of the Dead. So your chances of escape just got that much slimmer. You'll work your way from a mall in Savannah, Ga., all the way to (hopefully) salvation in New Orleans. Luckily you're not alone, as you step into the shoes of one of four survivors. Teamwork is absolutely essential, as supplies are limited, so you'll need to help the others just as much as they help you; that is, if you are to have any chance at escape.
No matter which character you are, they all control smoothly. Yours reacts quickly enough, though you'll find yourself feeling more sluggish and less responsive with the more damage you take. You start the game with a pistol, which has unlimited ammo, but along the way you may want to use the more powerful firearms left by those less fortunate than you. If you're incapacitated in battle, you can only use your pistol — and your teammates need to help you up before you're beaten to death. If, let's say, you are beaten to death, or all four of the survivors are downed, the game's over.
Left 4 Dead 2 was built for multiplayer, with a very heavy emphasis on teamwork. While you can go solo, the game's best experienced with either three friends or online. The AI, known as the "director," sets up the game experience, based on how you play, so gameplay stays varied, leading to higher replay value. While L4D2 is a fun romp, weapon-aiming doesn't feel tight and the one-player experience is only so-so because the director makes your enemies tough while your computer-controlled allies are absolute idiots. What's very irritating is the lack of checkpoints through the level — so if you die, you must start again, from the level's beginning. Stumbles aside, there's much to keep you trapped in the zombie apocalypse.
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