Last week saw me finally land a copy of Left 4 Dead 2. After the roaring success of the first installment. I was eagerly looking forward to the new characters, campaigns, special infecting zombies and weapons. To a certain degree my expectations were met. However I’ve got a few niggles that I feel are still lingering from the Left 4 Dead that I’d like to see ironing out in some form of patch release.

In the sense that the developers think all users on Xbox Live are sporting players. As everyone will know playing online games, there is always the quitters amongst us. Those who quit out when 2-0 down in PES or FIFA, or turn their Xbox off in disgust when you full mount them in UFC. Left 4 Dead 2 suffers a hell of a lot more simply because it doesn’t penalise quitters. Sure you can go through the rigmoral of avoiding players, leaving them bad feedback etc but ultimately what does it solve? There’s still many more quitters out there and you’ll never be able to truly avoid them all.

Left Online 4 Dead:The multiplayer of  a self-serving honour

Left Online 4 Dead: When Quitting Goes Unpunished

 

In Call of Duty, and the games mentioning above you get losses marked against you. Try as I might, I’ve not seen anything like this in either the new Left 4 Dead or the old one. It was one thing I was hoping would be improving upon but sadly hasn’t and given the uniqueness of the multiplayer games. It is demoralising to play through 1 act of the online only for the other team to quit out.

The next is the Charger. A beast of a special infected, a mini-tank if you will. Yet flawed. I’ve been a Charger and passed right through people. This is very hit and miss he is out in the open as it is, so I feel this is something that needs a little refining. Given how effective the new Spitter and Jockey specials. I’m thinking the Charger was some kind of afterthought not properly thought through or implementing. I want to dole out more pain as the Charger please!

Finally there is the AI. It was something I picking up on in the original Left 4 Dead. When you are playing against a team of survivors who have at least one AI character making up the team, they instantly become superhuman. They spot you crouching down in a bush on the opposite side of the map and somehow headshot you. If this was consistent, they’d be a hell of a lot more helpful in single player, but given how many times I have to try and attract their attention to actually follow me in single player, I’m guessing it has been ramping up to crazy levels for online to assist disadvantage teams.

Conclusion

Other than that, I can’t fault Left 4 Dead 2 (which sounds a complete volte face given the problems I’ve gripeabout above). The banter between the 4 characters seems strain, which is fitting given the scenario they are in, an improvement. You will Left 4 Dead 2 where they seem to be more “Haha, we’re fighting zombies, what a lark!”.  Wandering through the swamp maps felt like running through the set of Southern Comfort, dull Deep South swampland that bears a sense of foreboding. Charger aside, the new special infecting are equally annoying and entertaining and can make or break a near perfect. Run through a level by jumping you just as you approach the safe house.

If those multiplayer issues get ironing out, this would rank in at #1 on my Games Of The Year list, standing above frontrunners such as Modern Warfare 2.

 

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