Baltes reviews Left 4 Dead 2

Lest We Forget:  An Unimpressed Review of Left 4 Dead 2

Where are you Gordon Freeman? It’s been almost a week since the release of Left 4 Dead 2 and I can say I’m so disappointed with Valve I am boycotting everything Valve related until Half Life 2:  Episode 3 or another Half Life entry is released.

Let’s be honest, Valve is milking the cow too much and quality is suffering.  First of all we have the L4D:2 preorder deal.  Preorder the game (5 dollars at GameStop) and you get access to the game demo 7 days early.  While most people argued that this was Valve rewarding people who were going to buy the game, I wasn’t sure…I’m just really freaking impatient and didn’t want to wait another week for the demo.  So  I dropped the 5 dollars at GameStop and got another 5 off the game, so instead of the normal $59 price tag I only paid $52 after tax for it.

The demo release day came around and I was…unimpressed, heck you could say I was pretty angry.  I LOVED Left 4 Dead and I was already pretty upset that barely a year later Valve was releasing a completely new game.  I hardly thought the first entry in the series was worth the brand new game price tag but this?  Already?

In this new age of DLC and game longevity I expected a lot more life from L4D and a lot more improvement to L4D:2.

The demo left me wishing I had just waited a week for the global demo release.  The full game makes me wish I had kept the receipt and just makes me miss L4D.

I play this new game and I wonder “What did they really, really add in here that couldn’t have been added to L4D via DLC?  New common infected models?  New Special Infected?  New Playable Characters?  New Campaigns?  New game modes?  All of these new features are easy DLC additions.  The only new feature I question would be difficult to add via DLC is melee weapons.

Granted I enjoy the melee weapons, but that’s about the only thing I enjoy about this.  I enjoy L4D:2 about as much as a trip to the dentist.  I’m only playing it cause I don’t feel like getting laughed by not having any achievements  for the game, so now I’m stuck gritting my teeth through something that just makes me hope that my puppy gets a hold of the game disc and uses it for a chew toy.

And don’t get me started on the AI, which is somehow WORSE than the AI in L4D.  And we all remember purposly killing AI controlled characters in the first game because they sucked it up so horribly.  Somehow to Valve “Improved AI” translates to “frustratingly stupid.”

So thank you Valve for all your effort.  Thank you for putting so much time (a year?) into something none of us wanted initially.  Thank you for ignoring your much more beloved franchises such as Half Life and making us wait with zero news.  It’s been how long since we had any real tangible HL news?  Oh that’s right, there hasn’t been any…since the release of Episode 2.  Thank you for making me pay so much for so little.  If you loved Left 4 Dead, don’t buy this game expecting a huge improvement.  I have 1 friend online (out of 30 online) playing L4D2 right now, and 13 playing Modern Warfare 2 (much better game overall btw)

Time’s Up Mr. Freeman

8 thoughts on “Baltes reviews Left 4 Dead 2”

  1. hmm, very good points, I had the exact same feelings after the demo except when I recieved the game (on steam i play it for PC personally) I was very suprised with how much fun I was having. But the whole time I could see issues and STILL felt it should have been an expansion pack or DLC, but either way I suprisingly dont feel I had wasted my money.

    …although its possible the Xbox version has some diffrences that make it feel less like a sequel (the PC version looks quite a bit better then 1, which might be a huge selling point for those that care about that and im not sure if the xbox version does or not)

    I’ve ALSO not played single player at all just due to the fact I cant STAND the first ones AI, and it looks like I made the right choice.

    Excellent review!

  2. I probably could not possibly disagree with this review anymore than I do.

    Let’s look at it from a pricing standpoint. If each campaign were released as DLC, they would be what, $10 a piece? Just going from pricing trends there, but it’ll have to do. There are 5 campaigns total in L4D2, so right there you would have payed the same amount and you wouldn’t have the rest of that content that’s been added in. So in reality, Valve saved you money releasing the game this way. Not to mention that these missions are generally longer, more varied, and overall more FUN than the campaigns from the first game. Actually, this game took me longer to finish than I’m hearing most people are taking to finish MW2, and I would definitely play through it all again.

    While I’ll say it certainly is possible this could have been “patch in” to the PC version, since the game is installed onto a hard drive, I don’t think it would be as easy on the Xbox, because the game isn’t stored on the HDD, but rather on the disc. So not only would an Xbox patch, if they made one, be very large in size (which in itself is a problem due to the smaller hard drive capacities), it would also lengthen initial load times and possibly slow performance. This is because the game would have to load the data off the disc, then run a check to the hard drive to pull the new content (kinda like when you start up Halo 3 or Rock Band, and it has to run a check for your DLC.) So on a technical level, I don’t think this could have feasibly been done as a patch.

    Plus the game does feature graphical and engine improvements, including the new A.I. director which not only effects enemy spawns and behavior, but also effects the layout of the maps depending on your teams performance, something L4D1 did not do. I’ve seen sequels come out a lot further from the first game that had way less improvements than this, so I’d say it’s a winner.

    Then you also have some pretty good new multiplayer modes, the new special and uncommon infected forms, the realism mode, and better Live integration.

    Put that on top of the already winning formula established in the first game, I think it’s definitely worth the price of entry. You may not agree, but hey, that’s fine, we all have our opinions, and I just wanted to get mine out there. I’m also sure the fact that most of your friends are playing MW2 instead of L4D has more to do with the hype-storm surrounding MW2 then it does the quality of L4D.

    I will give it to you on the A.I. of your team mates though, it can be pretty awful at times, probably due to the more open level design compared to the first game but they certainly could have improved that quite a bit.

    I also totally agree about Valve’s attitude toward their other franchises. It’s been way too long since we’ve had any info on the next Half-Life episode. They seriously need to get it together in that regard.

    But overall, even if I don’t necessarily agree with you, it was a good review, and you raised some valid points. Good job.

  3. I enjoyed the demo and saw various improvements ompared to whenI played the first one on a free weekend but I do agree that all of this could have been added to L4D1. I think it is because of Microsoft and how it would cost a lot to allow the constant changes to the games data. They would want to cash in on it and would not like players to get that data for free. Also, their might have been so many changes to the data, that it would be harsh on xbox 360 players that didn’t have a hardrive or pay for it. That might be why they felt like releasing the sequel. Hopefully they wil not release a new game anytime soon or it will bite them in the back.

    1. I should add that it might have been different if it was on the ps3 and PC instead has the ps3 already has a built in hard drive, and it would cost nothing on ether side to allow downloads of new data. Since the PS3 is to complicated for them to figure out, this idea would be thrown out and it would have been PC exclusive if they were to ignore the 360. Of course their is a possible workaround to the 360 issue as snow peak did with section 8 by allowing larger multi-player away from xbox live. So xbox live might be a strong reason behind the sequel.

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