One response to “Review: Left 4 Dead 2”

  1. sagesource

    Valve’s getting better at continuity, but there are still problems, some caused by the necessity of starting every campaign with the survivors only having first-tier weapons. Dead Center has some bad continuity lapses with the introductory video (the survivors, who were fighting as a tight group in the video, seem to have become instant strangers to each other), but it transitions into Dark Carnival very well, when the car they have borrowed runs out of gas and road. Dark Carnival has a spectacular ending, of course, but the transition to the swamp level is weak — I groaned when we got another “helicopter pilot turns into zombie” scenario, which by rights should have killed all the survivors, not left them at full health. The ending at the plantation is excellent, though, with the survivors being taken off by boat. The only nit I would pick here is that the radio should have been inside a building, or it would have stopped working the first time it rained. Hard Rain again begins quite well, and the expedient of removing the survivors’ second tier weapons is accomplished cleverly by having them forget them on the boat, but can they really carry enough diesel by hand to make a difference? Maybe they should have had to drive a tanker truck back to the dock in the storm, though it would have been harder to arrange interesting attacks that way. While carrying the diesel the survivors should have been acting as if loaded down as well, while instead they were running on air as usual. Finally, the transition to The Parish just glosses over the second tier weapons problem, as well as offering new first tier ones literally served up in front of them (it would be nice if all weapons had to be taken off the dead and from gun cabinets, etc, rather than this restaurant approach). The final finale also has some interesting overtones, with the military referring to them as “carriers” rather than immune, given some of the hostile graffiti about carriers seen throughout the game.

    Three other nits to pick. First, why doesn’t Virgil, the captain of the boat, have a model? It’s downright eerie having the survivors rescued by a boat that apparently has no one at the helm. (At least they didn’t turn him into a zombie.) Second, why do the characters have such short memories? It seems Coach is surprised at the armored zombies almost every time he sees them, and so for the other characters with mudmen and so on. Third and last, why does Rochelle have those damned hoop earrings on? Like Louis’ tie in L4D 1, they’re the sort of thing that anyone with any survival instincts would drop like hot cakes; they wouldn’t survive the first melee she was in, and neither would her ear lobes. If she’s going to be that dumb, they should have gone all the way with the stereotypes and made her a blonde.

    Oh, and one last thing. The introductory video was even better than the one for L4D 1, but could the people making these be told more clearly about the capabilities of the weapons? I winced when Ellis loaded himself with three long guns, and fired a grenade launcher into the face of a tank as if it were a shotgun — and at him popping up from behind a car to do it, where in the game the tank would almost certainly bash the car and incap everyone in its path.

    It’s an excellent game, but a little more attention to detail would have avoided these irritants.

    (PS: And is the American South really that grotty? Parts of The Swamp were third-world squalid. Then again, Valve does grot better than just about anything else, so I suppose it’s natural.)

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