By Chris Scott Barr
Valve is a company that has never failed to impress me with a game. Coming to E3 I was hoping to hear some news about Half Life 2: Episode 3, or even something about the new Portal game. I was disappointed. What I didn’t expect was to see a new Left 4 Dead game this soon, especially with the SDK just getting released not long ago. Even better, the game was playable behind closed doors.
The game takes place in the deep south, with four average Joe characters fighting their way through a mass of zombies. They’re going to be adding short movies to the beginning of each of the 5 different campaigns to give you just a little more story than the first game. However, Valve stressed that they want the game to be more about the action and experience, so you won’t ever find yourself stopping in the middle of the game just to see some plot progression.
Their AI director has seen an update, which they are calling Director 2.0. The director has even more control over your environment, this time controlling the weather (one example was encountering a torrential downpour in the swamp to slow you down). The director will also be able to alter the maps slightly. The maps will always have the same overall structure, but the director can block off routes, forcing you along a different path, which will definitely spice up the game.
Melee weapons make their debut in this sequel, the first two of which are the frying pan and the firefighter’s axe. Both weapons can be brutal when used properly in close quarters. You can also pick up incendiary ammo, which will set your target on fire upon impact. Hazmat zombies will appear at times, which are invulnerable to fire.
Playing the game as a L4D veteran felt great, with everything flowing just like the original. It’s easy to just jump right in and get used to the new weapons and enemies. I’ve been waiting for new maps/campaigns, but to get this whole new game will be even better. Also, Valve wanted to stress that they aren’t finished with the original. They still have new content in the pipelines, so we’ll be keeping an eye out for that in the future.