December 10, 2009

Left 4 Dead 2 Review

Mike Rohde Says I had a tough time trying to describe the reasons why I don't like Left 4 Dead 2. I understand it's a popular game, it's received a lot of hype and attention and it's a game that you're *supposed* to like; after all, the game involves zombies, guns, coop play and it's hip. But for some reason, I just don't have fun playing the game and I've been having a hard time understanding why it's not fun. And then it dawned on me: the game is cheap.

Left 4 Dead 2 has cheap gameplay, cheap weapons, cheap graphics, and a cheap premise. The game doesn't offer a true single player campaign and doesn't even pretend to have a story (except that zombies are taking over and you have to escape). This is a $30 game with a $60 price point (at the time of this writing you can buy it new from Amazon for $50).

To really enjoy this game you need at least four good friends who want to play at the same time you do. After you play through the maps once, you can replay on the different variations and set the difficultly higher, but *yawn* who cares? If you play it once, you've played it a hundred times, which apparently some people do. I was working through this game the other day and I heard someone say, I could play this game all day long. I thought to myself, Whhaa?? You find shooting stupid AI zombies more compelling than the multiplayer in Modern Warfare 2?

L4D2 offers no ranking, no leveling up, no upgrades…it's just a cheap game.

I realize there are probably two camps here: the MW2 fans and the L4D2 fans and may the two never meet. I'm clearly in the MW2 camp. Although, I have to say, I tried very hard to like L4D2. And there were some times I had some fun with it. But that was only when I synched up with some cool people who played in the spirit of teamwork. In those brief moments I witnessed what this game is supposed to be about. But those moments were rare. More often than I not, I was put into a game where no one cared about nuthin. If I was being strangled then no one came back to help. If I was low on health, no one offered a health pack. So be it.

But the worst, the absolute worst, was when I played with the same person from start to finish: we experienced the highs and lows of the game, and somehow, someway, we managed to reach the rescue vehicle. But just as the boat came in to rescue the team, at the last minute I get jacked up by a special infected. What did my comrade do? Did he come back to help me on my feet like I did for him so many times in the past hour? No. He didn't. He just left me for dead…