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  • Left 4 Dead 2 preview

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ID:	597175I've just come out of a grueling five and a half hour L4D2 co-op marathon with some of GU's perennial members. My fingers hurt from cramping, my vision is furry and all I can hear is the bloody roars of roid-munching zombies. So, how did it go?

    You're thrown into The Parish, of which you'll play two chapters, and is the final campaign in the full game. We played through 'normal' and 'hard' (advanced) difficulties with some ease despite the improved AI, however most of our time was spent trying to pass 'impossible' (expert), which seems almost that. This difficultly comes highly recommended due to how short the demo really is. To further spice up our travels for conquest over the undead were a number of new special infected. These include the Spitter, Jockey and Charger who all sport unique attributes you'll need to learn to combat along the way. Admittedly, the Jockey's influence was almost mute, but seeing one ride your team mate around as he screams out over voice-com proved to be supremely entertaining.

    Now don't fret; you do have a range of your own new tools to help survive and revive in the face of these unfamiliar foe. Boomer bile will lure common infected to a single area for a tactical ambush, while an adrenalin shot will keep you moving quickly; perfect for those rolling crescendo events when you're running for your life. Then there's the most talked about L4D2 addition, one of the first things you'll notice during play; the melee weaponry. Frying pans, night sticks, guitars and machetes can be commonly found throughout, and are all riotous fun. To our disappointment, there were no chainsaws as far as the eye could see, however there are over 20 new weapons and items in the full game - most of which we don't see in the demo.

    Original dialogue reduces irritating repetition and the new survivors are a breath of fresh air for L4D veterans. They're most certainly more interesting and enjoyable to play alongside than the original cast. Another giant leap forward in reducing the monotony of play is the alternative routes that will change each run-through. Ultimately, while still a linear game, the added diversity in appearance, audio and game-play options adds a lot to the experience.

    Graphically things have stepped up a notch, clearly visible with foliage and fire, but the most engaging visual enhancements are dark and gruesome. Gore, gore, gore. Melee decapitations, shotgun limb dismemberment and gibbing hordes of the infected is diabolically enjoyable, and more detailed than ever. No longer will pipe-bomb victims explode into a cloud of red mist - you'll see organ entrails, limbs and chunks of rotting flesh placed not so carefully all around you. This is of course if you purchased a copy that's not the Australian one, which embarrassingly delivers none of the above.

    So, is it worth buying? At $50, absolutely - even for someone who bought and played the first Left 4 Dead extensively. I was skeptical initially, but there truly is enough of improvement here to warrant another purchase. The bottom line is that if you're a fan of the original, tactical co-op game-play with mates, or ferociously paced shooters, this really can't be missed.


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