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Left 4 Dead 2 Preview


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I had to opportunity today to play L4D2 in the Valve meeting room, and on the main floor.


This game is a significant improvement upon an already great game, and here is what I took note of while watching and playing.


4 New Player Characters / Actors:

- Rochelle (An African-American women, tough girl stereotype)

- Nick (A mafia looking guy in a full white tux and a scarface look about him)

- Ellis (A mechanic with a Boston look about him)

- Coach (Slightly overweight African-American man with an overall pleasant look about him)


The noticeable difference in these characters is that Valve has taken in mind the fact that the first survivor's grim clothing blended in with the Zombies, which made team-shots happen with frequency.


These new survivor's outfits are bright, noticeable colors and the first things you'll usually notice on the screen is usually the survivors, particularly Coach and Nick. In the demo I played, this seemed to have cut down on accidentally shooting team-mates quite a bit.


As the Survivors, your hand model has significantly improved, as well as the texture. The guns you now hold have also gotten a poly boost, as well as being different models but the same basic set of guns. They look a little more post apocalyptic, with the flashlights taped or wired onto them crudely. The new Molotov also looks amazing, with full fire effects on the material as your run about.


The biggest addition to the Survivor's, however, are melee weapons. This are slow to use, but have a very wide area of effect and kill most common zombies in one swing. You need to pick these up, and as they are all 2 handed you cannot keep them. You pick up, use, but have to throw away if you want to shoot again. It sounds silly, but it definitely keeps it from becoming overpowered. I've been told about the Chainsaw, however the only melee weapon available in the demo was the fireman's axe, which was devastating.


And, finally, the Survivors get the chance to pick up rare drop incendiary ammo, which has a chance to light an infected on fire. This is only really useful against special zombies, as most common die before lighting.


Melee has a moderate timer so that it cannot be spammed anymore.


For now, that is all that is new with the Survivors.



The most improvements to the game have been centered around the infected, particularly the effects they do.


First off, 2 additions have been made to the Infected:

There is a new common infected that is a man in a hazmat suit. I am almost sure that this infected is actually a crazed human, as when you shoot him he keels over in pain and screams before dying. He takes slightly more damage and hits a little harder, however he is a larger target.


The new special Infected is a brute called the "Charger", a sort of cross between the Hunter and a Tank. He is a hunched over infected with one massive arm and a grotesque back. His perk is that he charges you in a straight line like a football player, and will knock all 4 of the survivors back and do light to moderate damage. If you happen to be in an exact cone area in front of him when he charges, he will grab you with his massive arm and trap you on the ground and repeatedly hit you until someone saves you. He dies fairly fast, with about a quarter of the HP of a tank. He seems to appear fairly frequently. Unknown as of yet if this will be a playable class in Versus.


In both the common and Special Infected, the models, physics, and gibbing has been significantly improved over the first game:


Models: These undead have high poly models... and frankly amazing textures. While L4D1's common infected looked fairly aged, these new Infected look fresh and almost completely human in their appearance, adding a new level of creepy to the game. The blood on their clothes and faces looks fresh, and their skin is tinted enough to give the feeling that they may have turned in the last few days. It is very eery. The clothes have also been more varied in style, with some infected males being topless, with clothing of different colors other than the drab of L4D1.


Physics: All I can really say is that the zombies falling, flying, climbing, etc looks better and more fluid than ever.


Gibs: Flesh, limbs, etc will now fly off of the infected with every shot with more frequency, and even if they lose a large chunk of their chest or an entire arm they will keep attacking you. The blood effects and under flesh is incredibly detailed, and had me stopping to pick off a single infected just to see what would fly off. I had even seen a team mate pop off half of a common's skull, and it still getting back up to attack.


The animations on the common has also been redone and varied, so that they look more fluid and natural in a group and each one has distinct movement with their weight. It is quite interesting to watch.



The demo level we played on was longer and much more detailed than that of L4D1's. Full bloom lighting, shadows, etc on the 360 version no less. The level we played on was a small villa at the beach. The lighting was pleasant and overall it was very pretty except for the blood and infected running around everywhere.


The only glitch I openly noticed was with the Charger Infected, which would often get stuck in terrain, walls, fences, etc when charging and would then go animation mute, then easily killed by us. This seems like an ongoing problem that will be fixed at final release. All of the original infected are here and look the same, so it should be no problem to pick them out of a crowd.


The game also looks to be using a more advanced version of the Source Engine, most like the Episode 3 Engine.


Although it seems pretty soon after, this game is a huge improvement over the first in what I played. The models, textures, guns, animations, sounds, etc are all improved and this should definitely be on your waiting list if you liked L4D1


Jeff and I shall be uploading video and photos later so keep an eye on this thread.


(Also, I got Valve memorabilia at E3 which is awesome.)

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I'd pick it up but everyone I know how plays it plays the PC version.


Chances are it will work fine, you'll just need to put it on lower settings. Valve's games tend to be extremely forgiving hardware-wise. Even their most recent games run on low-end PCs without much trouble.

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Played again today and finally managed to find a Witch before she found us. She has been changed a little, as she now will attack more aggressively and is easier to trigger, but she now also stands up and walks around, and more often than not away from you and the noise. So, she'll sit but she will also patrol. This is most likely to fix the issue of her blocking doors when spawned.


I also saw Nick get a Frying Pan and smack some Zombies around with it.


I also overheard some interviews, and basically the second game's theme is going to be the South so expect the new maps to reflect that.

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*Sigh* And Valve was doing so well, then they got greedy and the rest is on the history book, kids.


Really, for me, not needed.

Now now, don't get ahead of yourself. We don't know if this will be released with Episode 3 in a combo, what its price will be, and the fact that Valve routinely sells their games at over half price every other weekend.


We also don't know when this is going to be released exactly, so this may be an introduction to a game a bit off.

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