‘Left 4 Dead 2’: Sequel delivers melee combat
Stars and Stripes
Nothing in “Left 4 Dead 2” is more satisfying than the “bwang” of a frying pan making contact with a zombie’s head.
For one thing, it signifies you’ve taken out one of the “infected.” For another, it showcases the major difference between last year’s breakout hit and this year’s update: melee weapons. Valve’s M-rated shooter now lets you whack zombies with frying pans, electric guitars, samurai swords and even chainsaws.
Once again, the game offers a series of campaigns that mimic B-grade horror flicks. And four mismatched survivors team up to fight their way to what they hope is safety. This time, the setting is the Deep South. Your new friends are the husky Coach, the tough Rochelle, the oily Nick and good-ol’-boy Ellis. And you also have some new enemies in addition to the familiar tanks, hunters, witches, boomers and smokers. These include chargers, who ram into you at high speeds; spitters, who vomit acid; and jockeys, who leap on your back and pound you.
Other changes in the game include an increase in the number of findable weapons and items and the addition of mini-missions. For example, in one campaign, you need to find cans of gasoline laying around a shopping mall so you can fill the tank of a car to use in your escape.
Of course, none of these changes are monumental. In fact, aside from the addition of melee attacks, the game play is basically the same as last year’s edition. The campaign is designed for four-player co-op but can be played with fewer players.
The game can also be played online with another four-player team filling the roles of the zombies. There’s also a survival mode in which you see how long you and your buddies can last against waves of zombies.
The controls are very good, allowing for fluid movement and quick action.
The graphics have improved a bit from last year, but still aren’t anywhere near top of the line. The characters look much better, but the scenery is still pretty basic. Of course, the increased detail in the character renderings — and the addition of swords and chainsaws — make the game even more gruesome.
New sound effects — such as “bwang” — aren’t the only addition to the soundtrack. The characters’ banter is more extensive and more entertaining.
“Left 4 Dead 2” will satisfy fans who are looking for additional adventures as well as a few new twists to the story and play.
Platform: Xbox 360 (tested), PC
On the Web: www.l4d.com