Left 4 Dead 2 is a first-person shooter developed and published by Valve for the PC and Xbox 360 on November 17, 2009. This sequel to 2008's Left 4 Dead is based around 4 new survivors: Ellis, Coach, Nick, and Rochelle. All previous game modes return, and two new ones are added: Scavenge and Realism (The Passing DLC adds a third with Mutation). There are three new special infected: the Charger, Jockey, and Spitter; five uncommon common infected are also introduced. In addition, Left 4 Dead 2 more than doubles the arsenal of firearms to wield and introduces a variety of melee weapons, as well as special limited-use weapons in the chainsaw and grenade launcher. Left 4 Dead 2 also retains the series' trademark humor with each Campaign receiving a B-movie style poster viewable during loading screens.
Throughout their journeys, players traverse different environments as they cross the southern United States, looking for refuge from the zombie apocalypse. The four players must work cooperatively level by level to advance to a safe house, and eventually, a rescue vehicle. Players must fight off hordes of zombies in order to reach their objective, including advanced mutated zombies with special abilities known as Special Infected. At the beginning of each level, players are equipped with a health pack, pistol, and primary weapon. They must fight their way through the zombies to reach the next safe room, and on their way they will encounter new equipment and challenges. If a player's health bar ever reaches zero, he or she becomes incapacitated, leaving the player extremely vulnerable to further damage. While incapacitated, players lay on the ground with their pistol(s) out as the new temporary health bar slowly runs down, leading to death. Teammates have to ability to revive incapacitated allies by helping them up, and the revived player will gain back a small amount of health. Players can only be incapacitated a certain amount of times before their vision becomes blurry and they die, without any chance of revival. Players also have the option to heal teammates by giving their own health packs or other medical equipment, such as pain pills or adrenaline shots.
An improved AI Director is featured in Left 4 Dead 2 that dynamically alters the game experience more so than Left 4 Dead's Director. In addition to changing the spawn points of zombies and objects throughout the game, AI Director 2.0 has the ability to alter the layout of certain areas of levels, making each play through more unpredictable, as well as being able to change weather patterns. For example, AID 2.0 can rearrange crypts and tombs in a cemetery, making it impossible to know in advance the exact route that the survivors must follow. AID 2 can also change the weather to create flash thunderstorms, dramatically reducing visibility and muffling voice chat, forcing survivors to hunker down and wait it out.
As in Left 4 Dead, survivors will periodically come upon "crescendo events," in which they must activate an object, causing some sort of event to happen (such as calling an elevator), which in turn summons hordes of zombies that the players must fend off for a period of time before they are allowed to move forward. In Left 4 Dead 2, crescendo events come in greater variety than just the old "hole-up and defend" type. So-called, "rolling crescendos" require the players to activate the event and then run a gauntlet while being assaulted by zombies to reach an end point where they can deactivate the event (such as turning off an alarm). Another type of new crescendo is the optional one, such as navigating an impound yard full of alarmed cars, which, if touched or shot, will go off and draw hordes of zombies (possibly causing the survivors to set off even more car alarms, creating a spiraling chaotic chain reaction). These new and more dynamic types of crescendo events were motivated by Valve's desire to reduce the effectiveness of popular and very effective Left 4 Dead 1 tactics like closet camping and corner stacking, in which players crowd into a small defensible space and wait out the event, easily killing all of the infected funneled toward them. Some of the new special infected, as described below, such as the Spitter and Charger further counter these types of cheap survivor tactics.
Set three weeks after the initial infection and one week after the events of Left 4 Dead 1, Left 4 Dead 2 features five all-new campaigns set in the American deep south. Locations such as New Orleans, Louisiana and Savannah, Georgia, feature prominently with some recognizable landmarks making appearances. Some of the new campaigns now feature daytime environments, which Left 4 Dead 1 did not. Also in contrast to Left 4 Dead 1, Left 4 Dead 2's campaigns have a clear official ordering, as outlined below:
Dead Center and Swamp Fever are comprised of 4 maps apiece, The Passing has 3, and the other campaigns all have 5.
The Cold Stream DLC added the the titular community created map, as well as the remaining Left 4 Dead 1 maps. New dialogue was recorded by the original voice actors for enemies, items and weapons that didn't exist in the first game.
Crash Course is comprised of 2 maps, Cold Stream has 4 maps, and the remaining original maps have 5 maps each.
Players play as the four survivors and attempt to make it through all chapters of a campaign. Each chapter ends when the survivors make it to a safe room, which contain ammo, weapons, and health kits, so that the survivors can get reorganized before heading out back into the fight for their lives. If any players die before finishing the level, they can be rescued by being found locked in a room at certain points in the level, bringing them back to life with half health and minimal equipment. In the fifth (fourth for Swamp Fever and Dead Center) and final chapter of a campaign, survivors will reach a finale in which they must fight off several hordes of zombies while they wait for a rescue vehicle to reach them, which they can signal when they're ready by using a radio.
Versus mode allows up to eight players in a game, and pits two teams of four against each other. One team plays as the survivors, and the other as Special Infected. Players advance through a campaign, playing each chapter twice (once as the survivors, once as the infected). The goal of the survivors is no different than that of Campaign mode, and the infected team must simply try to kill off all survivors. Unlike campaign mode, however, once survivors are dead they cannot be rescued from a spawn room. Points are awarded to a team based on how well they perform on a chapter.
The four survivors must vie against an endless swarm of zombies for as long as they can. Survival matches take place in any area of a campaign that has a "crescendo event," where players must activate and wait for something to happen before they can advance, during which time they are swarmed by hordes of zombies. In Survival, however, the hordes never end and the players cannot advance, so instead they must hold out for as long as possible. The hordes of zombies are not alerted until the players activate the event, and until then they have as much time as they like to prepare. Throughout the area, there are supplies and weapons, so that survivors can sufficiently arm themselves for the coming attack. As time progresses, the players face an increasing number of Special Infected, eventually even multiple Tanks at once. Players are judged based on how long they are able to survive, and their times are compared to those of their friends via leaderboards.
Scavenge is a 4 vs 4 competitive mode in which teams compete to collect gas cans scattered around a map in order to fuel up a centrally-located generator. Games are round-based, with each team playing once as the survivors (collecting the gas cans) and once as the infected (attacking the survivors) per round. There are always 16 possible gas cans to collect, and the team that collects more in a round wins that round. Games may be chosen to last a single round, best 2 out of 3, or best 3 out of 5.
Playing as the survivors, a team must race against the clock, which starts at one minute and 30 seconds, and is extended by 20 seconds for each of the 16 gas cans they successfully retrieve and deposit in the generator. If the clock reaches zero and none of the survivors is holding a gas can, or if the entire survivor team is incapacitated, play stops and the team playing survivors is scored by how many cans they managed to deposit that round. If the clock reaches zero and at least one survivor is still holding onto a gas can, overtime is triggered and play continues until either the survivors deposit a can into the generator (raising the clock back to 20 seconds) or all survivors holding gas cans drop them.
To win a round, a team only has to collect more gas cans than the other team--they don't necessarily need to collect all 16. In fact, in the second half of a round, once the survivors collect 1 can more than the other team did in that round, play stops, and the team that collected more gas cans wins it outright. For example, if the first team to play survivors in a round collects 3 gas cans before running out of time or getting incapacitated, then the second team only needs to collect 4 gas cans to win that round. If both teams collect the same number of gas cans, then the winner of the round is determined by how fast each team was in getting those cans, with the faster team winning.
The team to play survivors first in a new round is the team that lost the previous round. After a game has been won by a team, both teams are prompted to vote if they would like to play a rematch. If majorities of both teams vote "yes", then a new game is begun with the same teams, map, server, and settings. If either team does not vote "yes" by majority, then everyone is returned to the game lobby.
Realism puts a new twist on the classic campaign mode, playing more like a variant on campaign mode than an entirely distinct mode of its own. Realism mode is identical to campaign mode except for the following changes:
Like campaign mode, Realism may be played on any of the game's four standard difficulty settings: Easy, Normal, Advanced, and Expert.
Mutations are variants of the game modes listed above. Mutations were introduced with the Passing downloadable content and were originally changed bi-weekly until the introduction of the Cold Stream downloadable content. With this update all mutations are available all the time. Xbox players will need to own both The Passing and Cold Stream to gain access to permanent mutations .
The cast of survivors in Left 4 Dead 2 features four new people:
Left 4 Dead 2 features all of the weapons from the first Left 4 Dead, and adds many more. There is a similar tiering system as the original Left 4 Dead, but it is enforced less strictly, so lower tier weapons may still be found in later maps and higher tier weapons tend to be found earlier. A complete listing of new weapons in Left 4 Dead 2 follows, with the real-world weapon inspiration and its in-game nickname:
|Primary Weapon||In-game Name & Notes|
|Suppressed MAC-10||"silenced submachine gun"|
|FN Scar||"desert rifle"|
|HK41SG1 Sniper Rifle||"military sniper rifle"|
|Mossberg 500 Marine Coat Pump Shotgun||"chrome shotgun"|
|M79 Grenade Launcher||"grenade launcher", limited ammo|
|M-60 Machine Gun||"rifle m60", exclusive to The Passing DLC|
|Secondary Weapon||In-game Name & Notes|
|SIG Sauer 220||"pistol"|
|Fixed Emplacement Weapon||Notes|
|Mounted Browning M2 Heavy Machine Gun||only appears in Swamp Fever and Parish finales|
A completely new addition to the series are melee weapons, found scattered about the maps. In campaign and versus modes, not every melee weapon can be found in every campaign (e.g. tonfas are only found in The Parish, dropped by riot police infected). Melee weapons are interchangeable with pistols as secondary weapons (i.e., you can carry either pistols or one of these melee weapons).
All melee weapons inflict the same amount of damage (instantly killing common infected, killing all special infected except the charger in 1 hit, the witch in 4 hits, and the tank in 20 hits). Aside from look and sound, melee weapons vary in attack speed and arc of effect.
Also new to Left 4 Dead 2 is different types of ammo that can be picked up by survivors to load into their primary guns. There are new ammo stashes throughout campaigns that give the player a full clip of that type of ammunition, but they can only be used once. These new ammunition types have the following effects:
Along with all of the original supplies (i.e. health kits, pain pills, pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails, propane/ gasoline tanks), there are new items that the survivors can use to help them make it through their journey, including:
Left 4 Dead 2 features new common zombies that have unique characteristics, called uncommon common infected. Each uncommon common is exclusive to one campaign.
All of the original special infected ( The Hunter, The Smoker, The Boomer, The Tank, and The Witch) return in Left 4 Dead 2 with spruced up character models. Additionally, the following playable new special infected are added:
The ChargerKind of like The Tank's younger, more athletic brother, The Charger is a brute and a bully who enjoys roughing up survivors who cross his path. His primary attack is a barreling charge that will plow through any survivors in his way like a freight train, knocking them aside, stunning, and hurting them. In addition, The Charger will hang onto the last survivor he bowls into and carry them until he either collides with something or travels his full running distance of about 80 feet, at which point he ends his charge and begins repeatedly pounding his captured survivor into the ground, dealing substantial damage with each pound.
The Charger can also inflict considerable damage with his standard melee swipe, given that his right arm is the size of a tree trunk. He has lots of health (more than any other special infected besides The Witch and The Tank), and is immune to the survivors' melee pushback attack (unlike other special infected besides The Witch and The Tank), making him a powerful face-to-face brawler.
The SpitterDribbling a stream of green spittle behind her and gurgling profusely, The Spitter hauks the ultimate loogie. When she uses her projectile spit attack, she hurls a ball of acid in a straight line that drops after about 60ft, forming a pool of highly corrosive acid on the ground that inflicts continuous damage to all survivors who remain in it. The acid pool disappears after a few seconds, so it's most potent when used against survivors who will have difficulty moving out of it (e.g. in tight quarters, while being mobbed, while captured by another special infected, etc.)
The Spitter also has very low health - dying after taking only a couple of bullets - encouraging her to hide out of sight of the survivors and snipe them with her spit attacks. (Note: The acid does float on water and still causes damage when doing so.)
The JockeyLaughing like the deranged maniac he is, The Jockey just loves taking survivors for rides. He can hop short distances and if he manages to land on a survivor, he will mount their head and be able to steer them in whatever direction he wishes. A survivor that is being 'jockeyed' this way may try to resist The Jockey's influence by holding down movement directions opposite the way The Jockey is taking them, but can only slow The Jockey's control, not negate it. As the Jockey rides his victim, he also periodically smacks their head, dealing small amounts of damage.
In addition to the all-new Special Infected and uncommon common infected, variants of some existing special infected have been added. The boomer now comes in both male and female varieties, both functionally identical. More significantly, the Witch now has new behavior whenever she is encountered in a daytime environment. She will stand and wander around slowly, while sobbing. On the one hand, she is more dangerous in her wandering form because she is much easier to mistake for a common infected and shoot, plus she can be easy to accidentally bump into in cramped confines. On the other hand, a wandering Witch is less dangerous because she is much slower to anger when survivors get close to her, making deliberately sneaking past her much safer. During nighttime levels, Witches behave as they did in Left 4 Dead 1, sitting and sobbing, and very sensitive to disturbances.
A unique variant of the Witch appears only in The Passing (added in via DLC), wearing a bridal dress. This is just a cosmetic change, like the female Boomers.
The Xbox 360 version was one of the first retail games to feature avatar awards. Through the game you can earn the following awards.
Left 4 Dead 2 is censored in certain countries for its graphic violence. In Australia, the original version of the game was effectively banned when the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OLFC) refusing a rating for the unmodified version stating:
"The game contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 to play ".
Valve tried to appeal the ban but was rejected because, in OLFC's judgment, the game contains images of:
"decapitation, dismemberment, wound detail or piles of dead bodies... & delineation between the depiction of zombie characters and the human figures".
A modified version of Left 4 Dead 2 (similar to the modified German version of Left 4 Dead with green blood and zombies that fade away a few seconds after being killed) was later approved for release in Australia with an MA15 rating. The edits were quite extreme, to the point the game could probably be rated T for teen. The edits to the Australian and German version included the following:
In the March 2010 elections Gamers4Croyden ran against Michael Atkinson and while they did not win he resigned afterwords for reasons he claims were personal. The issue of finally getting an 18 rating for games in Australia is confirmed to be part of political discussions happening in May 2010. Left4Dead2 marked a turning point in this crucial issue to all Australian gamers.
In the UK, the original box art was censored as the depiction of the back of two extended fingers is considered vulgar and an insult.
Found throughout all of the campaigns except No Mercy are jukeboxes with several songs, two of which being the very popular 'RE: Your Brains', and a "hidden" song, 'Still Alive' (originally featured in the game Portal), both by written by singer/songwriter Jonathan Coulton.
The Sacrifice is a significant DLC patch released October 5th 2010. The Sacrifice added two campaigns that are played from the perspective of the original game's survivors. A 178 page digital comic has been released as a story companion to the new campaign. The comic briefly flashes back to the start of the infection showing the survivors before they meet up. The Sacrifice is a prequel to the previous DLC campaign The Passing, which the original Left 4 Dead survivors play a part in.
Not supported: OS X 10.5.x, ATI X1600 or X1900 graphics, NVIDIA GeForce 7 graphics or Intel graphics.
Left 4 Dead 2 requires 4.4 GB of space to install on an Xbox 360 HDD.Read Less