Left 4 Dead 2: Demo

Is this the right cover? Or is it the boycott one? Ah, fuck it. I'm using it anyway.

Is this the right cover? Or is it the boycott one? Ah, fuck it. I'm using it anyway.

People have been telling me about Left 4 Dead for the longest time. I admit that the game did appeal to me on some level. I mean, it is about Zombies. You just can’t go wrong with a zombie themed stuff. I don’t know why but zombies are awesome.

On the other hand though, I was skeptical. While I like multilayer games I am really an antisocial freak at heart. I prefer to do my gaming alone. L4D however is a multiplier FPS game with not much story or character development to it. This means I would be racing through the levels with other people, never taking time to enjoy the scenery or take in the game at my own pace.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I like games such as Team Fortress 2 for example. They are great deal of fun. But I don’t play them nearly as much as the single player games I own. I bought TF2 as part of the Orange Box paying around $30 for all the awesome games it contains. Despite the fact that the game has the most replay value out of all the titles in the box, for me it was the game I cared the least about. It was the icing on the cake so to speak – what I really wanted were the HL2 games and Portal and I would still buy the box even if TF2 was not in it. And I definitely wouldn’t buy TF2 for $30 on its own.

For comparison, the original L4D is $30 by itself. The sequel will be even more expensive than that on the launch date. Do I really want that game so badly? Will I really have $30+ of fun with it? I was torn. On one hand all the zombie killing looked fun. On the other hand I was worried that it wouldn’t be, considering my love-hate relationship with multiplayer games.

Then someone told me: “Why don’t you download a demo of L4D2 and find out if it is right for you?”

A demo! Holly shit! I forgot that people still make those. I haven’t played a demo in… Oh god, in so many years now. Last PC demo I installed on my PC was back when I still had dial up, and was running Windows 98. Ever since we got broadband internet and I figured out how to use a torrent client, PC game demos became irrelevant. :P

But what the hell, why not! I decided I’m gonna party like it’s 1999 and download myself a demo! Especially since it was on steam. All I needed to do was to click a button, then wait few hours while it downloads and play it. And so I did.

First impression: the opening intro for the demo needs to be made into a movie like NOW! I don’t know if they used actual footage from in-game cut scenes or just animated this especially for the demo (kinda like they make the TF2 shorts) but holly shit! If that was a movie, I would totally pay to see it. If the actual game has this sort of cut scenes in between levels, and if Valve is actually squeezing in a storyline elements in between the frantic multiplayer combat I am getting this game on the launch day.

I watched a cut scene, and I was already excited! This was a good sign. If the game play was anywhere near as awesome as that cut scene… Oh man!

With shaking hands I picked a single player game mode (cause no fucking n00bz are gonna ruin my first impression of this game), picked my character and launched it.

And then my head exploded.


I’ve been missing out! This game is a blast. I didn’t even know slaughtering hordes of zombies could be so much fun! It’s exhilarating, adrenaline pumping joy. And you know why? Because I didn’t die every 3 minutes. Watching L4D videos doesn’t really tell you how the game actually plays. It looks difficult and daunting – especially when you cross reference it with your experience with other zombie games where being rushed by few dozen angry undead almost always means a swift death.

L4D2 however seems to have hit a good balance – the zombies are just enough of a threat to be scary and make you jump, but not enough to be a deterrent. Valve was able to challenge me without actually ruthlessly punishing me for my mistakes. It startled me without actually even threatening to kill my team and sending me to the beginning of the level.

The fact that the single player mode is both playable and enjoyable in itself is a major selling point. This means that I can run through the game a few times to get the general feeling for how each stage works before I actually jump in and attempt to play with other human beings. I really like when games allow you to do some training like that. This means that I may not actually feel like a total n00b for once! This feature is not a big deal when you are buying a new game on a launch date. At that point everyone is more or less a n00b. However when you jump into the game late, being able to train with bots to get the feel of the weapons and stage layouts really helps.

Best part of the game so far? There is a spot in the game where you can activate a jukebox standing in an abandoned restaurant. One of the songs that plays is “Re: Your Brains” by Jonathan Coulton:

That is a massive, massive amount of FUCKING WIN right there.

I know that there is a vocal group of people out there who likes to bash the new game for not being a free DLC for the original game. I don’t really buy their arguments though. They have already been deconstructed here so I will not repeat this stuff here. I just wanted to say that the game is fun and that I like it. In fact, I like that parts of the game are played in daytime when I can actually see what is going on. Some videos of original game looked way to dark for my tastes.

Needless to say, I think I’m hooked. Valve managed to pack an incredible amount of fun into this short demo and if the rest of the game is equally awesome (which is very likely given Valve’s track record) it should be well worth the money.

Btw, I wrote this article last week but I wanted to jump in and add a quick note about the release fail yesterday. You see, if you pre-ordered the game like me, you were expecting to be able to play it at midnight on the 17th but it was late. Instead of killing zimbies for great justice you got to sit for about an hour and a half twiddling your thumbs and raging on Twitter and the Valve forums which went down once or twice during the night. Guess what Valve employees were doing at the time? Playing l4d2 – I guess just to rub it in. Good job Valve! Good job!

How about you? Are you getting the game? Have you played the original? How do both games compare? Is it better? Worse? About the same? Let me know in the comments.

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11 Responses to Left 4 Dead 2: Demo

  1. tash UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    The original L4D was pretty much amazing, but only if you were playing online with people close to your skill level. Actually.. Even playing with people who rock at the game and completely demolish your team is still fun!
    Does the L4D2 demo include the survival mode at all? I’m curious to see how it’s changed if it has changed at all.
    I’m sure I’ll get L4D2 but probably only on the 360 ;x

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  2. k00pa FINLAND Safari Mac OS says:

    I have played the l4d1 for 100+ hours and today I played the l4d2 for 5h hours today. (preordered 2 weeks ago) And I have to say that this is one of the greatest multiplayer games I have played. (and I have played lot of em)

    Valve have fixed massive amount of annoying things and added lots of content to this game.

    (and that is the boycott cover :)

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  3. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    tash wrote:

    Does the L4D2 demo include the survival mode at all? I’m curious to see how it’s changed if it has changed at all.

    Nope, unfortunately not. Just campaign and single player.

    @ k00pa:

    I played for about 2 hours yesterday and ran through the first chapter on single player just to get the feel for how it plays. I’ll try to do some co-op play today. :)

    I wonder if Shamus at twenty sided will make a server for the game again?

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  4. faemir UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Valve playing the game was last minute testing, same with the early access demo.

    And if you’ve only played the demo, well you are in for a treat, as the demo is probably the worst part of the entire game :P

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  5. Jenn UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    Well will this zombie racism end!? THEY’RE PEOPLE…er, THEY WERE PEOPLE TOO!

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  6. Jenn UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    @ Jenn:
    WHEN, not well.

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  7. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    faemir wrote:

    Valve playing the game was last minute testing, same with the early access demo.

    Yeah, that’s probably what it was. :) Still, it amuses me to think that the Valve team had so much fun playing the game that they forgot to actually push it out to steam.

    “OH SHIT! What time is it? We were supposed to release it at midnight eastern standard ti… TAAAAANK! Fuck, fuck, fuck! Get it off me!”

    @ Jenn:

    They used to be people, but then they died and turned undead. I’m pretty sure human rights do not apply do dead people. Also, killing zombies is not a hate crime – it’s self preservation. ;P

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  8. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I love L4D, and pre-ordered L4D2, but haven’t downloaded/played it yet because the traffic here is metered… maybe when I’m back at home. Or when I’m bored and don’t care that it’ll cost me some near-inconsequential amount.

    All I need to know is where the Assault Rifle is. The rest will take care of itself. (Love that assault rifle, the stats page on Steam tells me I have 99% accuracy with the thing, and I’m inclined to believe this)

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  9. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @ Matt`:

    Damn, metered traffic? That sucks man. I thought that no one does that anymore. You’d be better off just buying the game in a box, and just download recent updates.

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  10. k00pa FINLAND Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @ Matt`:
    Assault Rifle (M16) is as good as in l4d1. It is maybe even better. I personally like more the shotguns. (Spas-12 etc :P)

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  11. matrimony PHILIPPINES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    this is a very nice game.

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