Left 4 Dead 2 Demo – Hands On

29 Oct
Left 4 Dead 2 Demo – Hands On

Upon launching the demo you are presented with an awesome cinematic L4D2 trailer – before hitting the main menu. It is here that we are tantalised with all the different game modes; Campaign, Realism, Versus, Scavenge and single player/co-op (offline). Sadly, in the demo, campaign and offline were the only 2 available options.

The menus themselves are familiar but revamped and sexier, with graphic options representing each game mode.
One other thing worth mentioning before delving into the game itself was the little ticker showing what friends were playing Left 4 Dead 1. I may be reading too much into this, but it may suggest the inclusion of the original game within the sequel, something Valve were allegedly considering. An interesting prospect to say the least!

Left 4 Dead 2 Demo

Onto the demo.
After picking 1 of 4 new survivors you are dropped into the opening chapter of the Parish campaign. The survivors are dropped off by a boat driving NPC character called Virgil and the impression is that he will feature throughout the game. The first big difference is that this is set during the day, which feels rather odd at first but becomes more natural with each additional play. The gameplay is reassuringly familiar for those who have played the original game, yet still feels fresh and user friendly, even with the new gameplay additions. Within moments of picking up my first silenced Uzi I was presented with my first uncommon infected, a riot police zombie – and the b*&%$£d is bullet proof!

After some subtle hints from my chosen survivor (loveable redneck mechanic, Ellis) I soon learned that they are vulnerable from behind. So after melee-ing the zombie with the butt of my gun, causing him to stumble and turn about-face, I plugged a couple of rounds into his back and it was goodnight from him.

Uncommon Infected

As I progressed through The Parish the number of different of weapons was impressive. I counted 5 different types of machine gun (including the incredibly satisfying AK47) and nearly as many varieties of shotgun. A big addition to the sequel is mêlée weapons. No signs of the chainsaw or cricket bat in the demo but you can get you hands on things like night sticks, frying pans and a machete.

Although taking a machete to a zombie never gets old, I found the mêlée weapons to be a little unresponsive and after the initial wow factor wore off I switched back to more conventional weapons. Which brings me nicely onto one of the coolest things in the demo; the Magnum pistol (1 shot 1 kill, baby!) I’ve no idea if you can have dual magnums like you can have dual regular pistols, but let’s hope so! What I didn’t see was incendiary ammo or laser sights. I did, however, get to use a Bile Bomb – think pipe bomb but without the explosion.

Melee Weapons

All the special infected are on display in the demo. The originals have all had a little revamp and are joined by the Charger, Jockey and Spitter; the Charger being the most devastating of the three but all pose their own challenges. The Witch is back, but now she is on foot, stumbling around like the drunk emotional chick outside of a house-party. And, much like the aforementioned drunken chick, you’ll want to keep you distance as she turns mighty nasty if you get too close. A Left 4 Dead game wouldn’t be complete without a Tank and he as big and ugly as ever before.

Finally it’s worth mentioning ‘The Director’. If you’ve ever played Left 4 Dead you’ll know that the director doesn’t take too kindly to you standing around doing nothing and unleashes a wave of the undead upon you. You can expect the same sort of treatment in the sequel. I foolishly minced around with three other players, jumping up and down and head-banging to the sounds coming from a jukebox and, as the saying goes, it’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt and a Jockey pounced on one of us and dragged them outside into a hungry bunch of zombies.

Something new in Left 4 Dead 2 is the director changing your route by blocking off certain paths and opening others. I did experience this in the demo, but the route change was minimal (one alleyway rather than the next one along) and it only happened once in all the times I played it. Another director feature that I didn’t see in the demo is changing weather effects.

Left 4 Daylight

All in all I’ve had a lot of fun playing the 2 chapters featured in the demo and it has succeeded in whetting my appetite for the full game. Left 4 Dead 2 should really be an awesome game if the demo is anything to go by and, ignoring all the controversy and boycotting nonsense, should be as good, if not better than the original.

Want to get your hands on the demo? Pre-order now for an early access code, alternatively PC gamers and Xbox Live Gold members can download it on the 3rd of November. Silver members will have to hang on until November 10th (but seriously, if you’re going to get Left 4 Dead 2 – get a Gold account!)

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Epic_Problem writes exclusively for ZombieCommand.com (until he gets a better offer or bored). You can follow his vaguely zombie related ramblings over on his Twitter.

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Comments (2)


  1. […] you haven’t got the Left 4 Dead 2 demo yet, read about it from someone who has. (Zombie […]

  2. Lance says:

    As a correction to your thought that a Bile bomb was a quiet version of a pipe bomb, the Bile bomb/Boomer Bile, attracts zombies to that certain area of smoke. When they are there, the zombies infected in that smoke will keep killing each other until the smoke runs out, or they’re all gone.
    It’s a very good technique for crowd control, too.

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