Left 4 Dead 2 Demo: Is the Sequel Ready for Primetime?

The zombie apocalypse is back, and I finally had the chance to play Valve's demo for the much anticipated and much maligned Left 4 Dead 2.  I had to wait longer as I was not among those who got to play it earlier because of a preorder. 

Aside form the uselessness of get an early demo of a game you've essentially already bought, it seems like this is Valve's chance to surprise it's die-hard fans.  I can at least say that I'm glad I don't ever preorder games.

Valve's present of a demo seems to prove some of the fears that Left 4 Dead 2 is just a regift of the original.  Whether you consider the addition of new guns, infected, cast, and locales as a true sequel is irrelevant.  The fact is that Left 4 Dead 2 is a sequel.  The question, however, is whether or not it's necessary or even worth buying.

After playing through the demo, I realized that I never once saw a new feature and thought to myself, "why was that never in  the original?"  Left 4 Dead 2 seems akin to Halo 2 in terms of sequel quality.  Halo 2 was not a bad game, but it just fell short of its predecessor.  Like in Halo 2, the new guns just feel weakened and cheap.  Melee weapons, while they make short and gruesome work of a zombie's face, often failed to register hits.  Since they replace your pistol, it makes it nearly impossible to get it back should you grow weary of wailing on zombies with your guitar. 

Even the survivor AI seems to have lost its hunter-sniping edge.  Many times I'd find myself moving ahead, only to find them still sitting back at the safe-house while I get swarmed.  Sometimes the dialogue can seem tacked on, and I don't know about you, but Ellis is already starting to become grating.

I'm not sure I feel much like buying this game anymore. Maybe I just need more time with the game.   For those of you who've already preordered it, I hope you'll find it worth the cash.  It would pain me to see Valve disappoint it's fan base like this.


  1. "Im-ah reloadin'!"

    Screw you, Ellis. I hope a zombie eats your face.

    For all the defenders of the demo: If the gameplay sucks in the demo, how can all magically get better in the retail version?

    I'm not saying that Valve has lost touch, but this worries me...

  2. Surprisingly, I'm finding Ellis to actually be most (if not the only) likable character. Their personalities don't seem as well defined as the survivors in L4D.


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