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Left 4 Dead 2: First impressions

02 Nov 2009

I’ve just been dropped off by boat with three other fellow survivors onto a pier on the outskirts of New Orleans. It’s daytime and it’s hot. Miasma hangs in the air, giving a soft haze to my surroundings. Mournful Dixieland music plays gently in the background, echoing happier times. Yep, I’m in the Deep South all right.

Wouldn’t you know it, some poor sap has left a bunch weapons and health kits casually lying around. Lucky for us. Hmm… shotgun or Uzi? Decisions, decisions. Well, a shotty is good for close range, but an Uzi…? WTF? Is that a Gibson SG!? I am so having that. The very thought of some undead schmuck being owned by such a fine musical instrument gives me comfort as our small party cautiously moves up the pier.

Suddenly, two fighter jets scream overhead and, for a terrifying moment, I entertain the notion that zombies have now learned to fly F16s. My musings are brought to an abrupt halt, however, when our party is beset by our first wave of the infected. My guitar/bludgeon exalts power-chords as it connects with rotting flesh and bones. Each hit deals cringe-inducing damage as limbs (and the occasional head) disconnect from their owner. Bodies no longer just fall to the ground like a sack of potatoes; they fall to the ground in bits.

“Do do do do do…” I recognise those base piano notes anywhere. Sure enough in the distance I spot a ‘Boomer’ waddling towards us. I swap to my Uzi and take careful aim. This is going to be sweet… BOOM! Hey! Who stole my kill? Coach’s name pops up on my HUD.

I decide to take a look inside a bar and hopefully find some more goodies. After the light of day, it’s pretty dim indoors, but my instincts pay off as I find a silenced sub-machine gun. I decide to pass on the frying pan, however. I mean this isn’t ‘Looney Tunes’, is it?

A zombie in full police riot gear stumbles into the bar; he looks funny… Wow, he’s kinda tough. Actually, he’s very tough… Why won’t he die? What’s that, Ellis? Shoot them in the back? The riot zombie goes down, and just in time, as I hear the infected’s theme song start up and we once again find ourselves swamped by the undead.

Pushing on ahead through the back lots I hear another musical riff, but I don’t recognise it. I start getting a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach; unknown melody equals bad stuff. I hear the maniacal giggling too late as I find myself unwillingly piggy backing a creepy hunchback in bike shorts who looks a dead ringer for Mickey Rooney. The ‘Jockey’ steers me around trying to ride me into harm’s way. I resist as best I can, and he’s finally shot off by Coach. Nice one, Coach.

My luck doesn’t get any better as I spot a ‘Witch’. “What’s she doing wandering around?” I think to myself. Shouldn’t she be sitting in the corner of a room chewing her nails like some depressed albino emo (or ‘albemo’ as I like to call them)? This is going to make sneaking past her even more of a headache… Oh, what the hell – its Molotov time. Burn, beyatch! Burn! Down I go in a flurry of talons and peroxide hair… I never learn. But thanks to a hit from some defib paddles, I’m back on my feet and rearing to go. Thanks, Nick. He passes me one of those new adrenaline shots just in case I need a boost for later. He may be a conman but he’s a gentleman.

Two hordes and a few boss zombies later we emerge from the kitchen area of a restaurant and spy a safe house across the street, so very close. I cautiously shimmy past an alarmed car, ever watchful. Suddenly, Ellis is grabbed from the rooftops by a ‘Smoker’ just as the rest of us find ourselves standing in a puddle of bright-green goo. The goo burns as I shoot at Ellis’ attacker and I finally make my way clear of the fluorescent gunk just as the ‘Smoker’ explodes. Across the road I spot a revolting looking undead with a huge deformed mouth and tank top. She screams and lets another volley of toxic spit loose, but this time we’re all ready and dodge it. Coach puts two shells in the ‘Spitter’ and we all make a break for safety.

I ignore the calls from my party to shut the door as I run back outside to set the car alarm off. It may be a death wish but I have a little ritual where I like to call a horde just before the end of a chapter. I run back to the safe house, zombies snapping and puking at my heals, and wait until the ‘infected’ are inches from the door’s threshold… SLAM!

Left 4 Dead 2: New setting, new characters, new zombies, new weapons, new perks – ‘nuff said.