Review

Neowin hands on: Left 4 Dead 2 demo

The Left 4 Dead 2 demo has been available for a day or two now, if you pre-ordered the game, and I've managed to get my hands on it too. The sequel to the popular Left 4 Dead is due on 18 November 2009, which is only a matter of weeks away now.


Players are given some of the new weapons at the start of the level - others they must find.

I've played through the demo several times now, on different difficulties, and there are several new features that have been improved since the original. The first thing is the weapons. Whilst players were previously restricted to five primary weapons and a pistol or two, Left 4 Dead 2 improves on that by adding several others, such as combat shotguns, Magnums and the much needed melee weapons, something the original didn't offer.


The new slime-spewing enemy - the Spitter - makes whatever it hits toxic for several seconds.

The melee weapons are possibly the biggest improvement from the game, allowing the player to club, chop and smack their way through levels when they are out of ammo. My favourite of them all was the machete, which allows you to slice your way through crowds of zombies like they are made of warm butter.


The machete, one of the new melee weapons, will reduce even the largest crowds into a pile of limbs.


The female boomer in her nightwear.

The new enemies in the game (the Charger, the Spitter and the Jockey) complement the previous ones, and add a bit more variety to the game. And on the topic of variety, there are many more types of zombie in the game, some of which have special properties. For instance, a "zombified" security guard will take several headshots and still survive, because of the helmet he has on.


The graphics in the game has been improved in several areas, and although it's hard to tell from a screenshot, fire is one of them

Although I've been fairly positive about the game so far, I can't help but feel at times that this is just Left 4 Dead with some new weapons, enemies and sunshine added in the levels. And although I don't think Valve has done an EA Games on us, because there are some genuine improvements, such as improved graphics, and new game modes, asking £29.99 for it still seems a bit much.


The Jockey doesn't do much damage on it's own, but will steer the player into something that will, such as a group of zombies.

The AI Director is supposed to be improved, by making dynamic changes to the game difficulty, map and weather as the level progresses. In reality, in the two maps I played several times, the largest change I noticed was that one of the paths you can normally take was blocked off on that occasion, and I had to walk a little further up the street to find an alternate route. But even watching the weather change from sunshine to showers won't exactly have me jumping in the air either, when I find a level that actually demonstrates the weather changing capabilities of the AI Director.

I've only played the demo, which I know isn't representative of the entire game. But unless Valve is saving all its tricks for an unseen level, I don't see the rest of the game being vastly different. That doesn't make it a bad game necessarily – Left 4 Dead 2 takes a great co-operative game and improves it. I'm certain it will be as fun as the last one, if not more. But I still can't help feeling that Valve were being a little cheeky trying to sell off what some have called an elaborate mod (which I wouldn't quiet agree with, but I can see where they are coming from), as a sequel.

Don't get me wrong, I have spent my own money on this game – I want it to be a success. However, purely from what I've seen from the demo, it doesn't seem to me that the game really offers huge improvements over Left 4 Dead that some would have you believe.

Thanks to our news reporter, Owenw, who was able to record this gameplay for us:

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48 Comments

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Yeah I had pre-ordered this on Steam but after trying the demo I submitted a request for a refund. I was extremely disappointed with what those Valve idiots did. First, they release L4D 2 after releasing a sorry-ass DLC for L4D which they only did to cover their arses after lying to everyone about the promised DLC which never came. People boycotted them and Valve urged everybody to trust that they were doing the wrong thing.

So they made L4D 2 which feels like an expansion to the original instead of a sequel and charge everybody $50 for it. Not to mention that they have managed to fork up every single time they released something (if you don't know what I am talking about, go to the forums on launch day for any of their new products and you'll see). I am tired of supporting a company that has such complete lack of respect for the people that keep them in business. The people that work there are either too immature or their management team is seriously in need of re-structuring, starting with that fat-ass Gabe Newell.

Looks quite fun but I think im gonna stick with L4D 1. I also purchased Kill House which is an absolute POS!!! I can't beleive how clunky and boring Kill House is wow wish I could get a refund from steam for that.

wish u could drive vehicles, blow up the zombie buildings, or kill them with the vehicles, would have made the game more fun

Hmm, you're thinking Borderlands DLC minus the Red Faction blowing up of buildings. A rocket launcher wouldn't hurt though

LOL, of course there aren't significant improvements. It was always about taking Left 4 Dead and tweaking it in various ways, not making a whole new game from scratch. They should have marketed it as an expansion pack instead of a separate game. I'll still buy it, anyway, as soon as there's a 50% off weekend.

I agree - it's too big to be released as free DLC, but not different enough to be called a new game. It really should have been made into an expansion pack and priced accordingly (about $29 would have been about right).

Is it just me or do those graphics look horribly dated? I won't even go into that awful looking hud. This looks like one of those cheap bargain bin games you find on sale at Big Lots.

Skyfrog said,
Is it just me or do those graphics look horribly dated? I won't even go into that awful looking hud. This looks like one of those cheap bargain bin games you find on sale at Big Lots.

I thought the same too. Granted, I'd take good gameplay over pretty graphics anyday. No point in having a jaw-droppingly gorgeous game that's dull and uninteresting to play.

The trouble is, this just doesn't look all that much fun either.

protocol7 said,
I thought the same too. Granted, I'd take good gameplay over pretty graphics anyday. No point in having a jaw-droppingly gorgeous game that's dull and uninteresting to play.

The trouble is, this just doesn't look all that much fun either.


You have to play it on advance or hard to get any value. If that doesnt work or gets boring (and it will) then only play versus and survival with your friends or numbnuts (strangers).

NO ONE BUY THIS IN AUSTRALIA

U cant shoot of any limbs and the bodies disapear when they hit the ground... unless this is an option which can be changed some how its not worth $5

For any one who wishs to by-bass a censored version while steam refund them for the pre-order do the following

People with the censored version only need to change two text files in order to play with the ridiculous amounts of gore.

-Open the text file at C:Program FilesSteamsteamappscommonleft 4 dead 2 demosteam_appid.txt
Change the number "590" to "510".
Save the file and close.

-Open the info file at C:Program FilesSteamsteamappscommonleft 4 dead 2 demoleft4dead2steam.inf
Change the appID number "590" to "510".
Save the file and close.

-Launch the demo through the exe in the same sort of area. (steamappscommonleft 4 dead 2 demo)

Now you have blood and guts and fun stuff!

I tried it, and there's no VAC ban or anything. You can play with other people who've unlocked the 510 version too! I haven't tried inviting people with 590 to a 510 game yet though, so get everyone you know to regore it just in case!

Changes in the Australian version of the demo -

Zombies don't get lit on fire.
No vicious wounds, decapitation, or dismemberment.
Zombie corpses vanish before hitting the ground.
Zombie corpses vanish when a pipe bomb explodes.
No blood splatters on the screen when you viciously smash a zombie's head in with a guitar and what have you.
No riot cop infected.

People with the uncensored version can type -lv (low violence) into the launch options of the demo to sample this epic failure for themselves.

By the way, I couldn't find a thread about this, so feel free to redirect me if there's one already established!


source

It's a joke, all in the name of "protecting the children". Australia is so damn backwards we make the Dinosaurs look futuristic (I'm Aussie so I can say that :P)

Xerxes said,
It's a joke, all in the name of "protecting the children". Australia is so damn backwards we make the Dinosaurs look futuristic (I'm Aussie so I can say that :P)

I'm a New Zealander so I'm also happy to say that.

I got it bundled with Left 4 Dead one a few weeks ago. I think it was $49 for both games. I don't feel like that was a bad deal after playing Left 4 Dead 1 so much. Looking forward to the full game release. Torchlight has been stealing my hours so I haven't checked out the L4D2 demo yet.

Nice Review!

ya, good game, but not worth the $50 price tag that is on top of the $50 price tag I paid for the first one, in which I could swear there was talks of it being just like "tf2" with updates and whatnot....... Valve has lost my sale on this one sadly.

still can't believe how they can justify $49.99 USD for this game retail..$29 i could defintley dig...but no way in hell for some new maps and a few new graphics...almost as worse as activision and the mwf2 fiasco...dont even get me started on that one again!

Looks like a L4D mod instead of a new game. Not sure if I'll buy this or not yet. Thanks for the coverage, though. It was a nice taste test.

If you find three other mates, you can all chip in £21 to buy the bundle pack. That's what I did, and you save about £9, which softens the blow a little.

Lol yeah, but only in some parts of it. the demo lags out sometimes pretty bad, I think it's still pretty buggy. L4D1 is fine though...

I second that. There are a lot of bugs in this demo that I hope are fixed before the final release, such as when you pick up a pistol, the crosshair sometimes disappears until you switch weapons.

That's strange, I've been playing since the demo was released and haven't had one issue yet. Maybe I'm not paying close enough attention to it. I have only been playing single player though, so maybe that is the issue?