Left 4 Dead 2 wishlist vs. reality

Posted by Cory Casciato On September - 25 - 2009

l4d2

The day Left 4 Dead 2 was announced, I posted a wishlist of five things I wanted from the game. Now, in light of my recent post rounding up everything known about the game thus far, I thought it was a good time to look at my original list and see how well Valve succeeded in fulfilling my wishlist.

  1. Give us four more interesting characters – It’s too early to say that they’ve succeeded here, but things look good. The clips I’ve seen indicate that the spoken lines are well-voiced and indicate personality. Eurogamer called it “grand slam calibre backchat” in one preview. A Rock, Paper, Shotgun preview revealed that characters will develop over time and there will be plenty more back-and-forth chatter, thus improving one of the original game’s strengths. Also, I already love the gambler/con-man character Nick. Verdict: Looks like I get what I want, but only time will tell for sure.
  2. Give us more of the back story – An early IGN preview reported that the game starts in Savannah before the outbreak And an Ars Technica interview with writer Chet Falizskek quotes him as promising, “We’re telling the story of this world, we’re seeing how things fall apart, and a new way of interacting with the infection.” Verdict: Looks like another win. I’m sure I will be left with some questions, but I am equally sure I will have a  much better idea of how the world fell apart and why.
  3. Connect the dots a little better – I wanted to know how one campaign connected to the next — how I got from point A’s rescue to point B’s jeopardy.  And in numerous previews we have been promised an overarching narrative that connects all the campaigns and a sweet, zombie-infested hell-ride/roadtrip through the American Deep South. Verdict: Two words: Fuck. Yes.
  4. Don’t tamper too much with the bosses or add a bunch of new ones - I was concerned that a bunch of new, outlandish bosses, or wildly different behaviors for the old ones, would ruin the delicate suspension of disbelief of the background fiction. Well, there are new bosses. Three at least, and probably a fourth although it may come in downloadable content. And at least one, the Witch, has significant new behavior — wandering in daylight. Oh, and there are six so-called common uncommon: level specific infected that have some special trait such as fireproofing, given through what they were wearing when they went zombie. Verdict: Not all wishes can come true, obviously. But I have slowly warmed up to the idea of new bosses. I don’t know that thy are necessary, strictly speaking, but it doesn’t bother me the way it did before. Oh, and the common-uncommon are brilliant. Of course a dude wearing Kevlar when he gets infected is going to be a bulletproof zombie. Them’s the breaks! So I didn’t get what I want, but I am okay with what I am getting.
  5. Give us more, period – I wanted at least a “few more” campaigns. There will be five. I wanted all three modes (survival, co-op, versus) to be playable on all campaigns, out of box. They are. I wanted a new mode. There will be one, though it isn’t announced yet. And I wanted more guns, for variety’s sake — specifically, I asked for a “real” grenade and maybe a RPG. Well, neither of those has been announced (yet) but there is a grenade launcher, explosive and incendiary bullets, and more than 25 new weapons, including ten or more melee weapons. There are also some new accessories like adrenaline and ammo packs. Verdict: Yeah, they hit that one out of the park. The 25+ new weapons, the melee stuff, new ammo, new mode, all out of box? Thanks! Still would have liked another campaign or two. Oh well, there’s always DLC…

Final Verdict: Valve, did you read that post? Just kidding, most of my requests were not only straightforward but obvious. Still, I asked for a few specific things to improve on an already stellar formula and, for the most part, it looks like they will be delivering in spades. November 17 can’t come fast enough.

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