Just 364 days after the first Left 4 Dead knocked our socks off, a sequel will be unleashed on the masses. What could possibly have changed enough to warrant a sequel already? What differences can you look forward to? Well, IGN got a hands on demonstration with one of the new campaigns, and have given us the opportunity to see what it's all about.
While the first Left 4 Dead took place in random generic city in the USofUK, this sequel, Left 4 Dead 2 has a specific location traveling around Savannah Georgia to New Orleans Louisiana. Even more specific, one of the campaigns takes you to the French Quarter in New Orleans, which had our first major difference with the gameplay, which is actually the environment.
"The first thing that surprised us about The Parish is that it takes place in full daylight. Yes, the zombies may like to come out at night, but they're apparently not indisposed to tearing your guts out in the middle of the day. While it's weird to be battling zombies while the sun is still up, it's certainly pretty; there's something about the friscalating dusklight that makes you want to stop shooting zombies for half a second and just soak it all in."
Each of the levels in the first game had a "last stand", where you would alert a massive horde, and have to wait for a rescue unit to show up. In the case of Left 4 Dead 2, there wasn't a last stand in at least one of the final campaigns, which changes things up a bit. Fight your way through hordes of zombies instead of wave after wave, okay, now we're getting somewhere. What about that pesky AI director that would through the toughest enemies at you if it felt you needed a challenge? Well, that directors power has been extended to the environment now as well.
"The director will also have spatial control over parts of some levels. Yes, it can and will change the layout of the map to challenge you. The example in The Parish campaign is the cemetery; if you're familiar with New Orleans, you know that they don't bury their dead because the water table is so high; instead, cemeteries are full of crypts."
Now, we have 4 new main characters to play with, Nick, Ellis, Rochelle, and Coach. This is one of the major changes, the other is the new special infected. On top of the normal "zombies" in the first Left 4 Dead, there were unique units that were put there especially to mess with the players. This time, we have new types of special infected, including something called "The Charger".
"If the Charger also grabs hold of a survivor, he pile drives them into the ground repeatedly; the only way for the survivor to escape is for someone to help him. The Charger is not as tough as a tank, but he can take some damage. And while he's fast, he's not as maneuverable, so you can dodge him like a bullfighter dodging a bull."
Finally, we have a new array of weapons at our disposal, including some interesting melee weapons. Frying pans, chainsaws, axes and baseball bats have been mentioned. As for our beloved guns in-game, we get a few new types of ammunition to do additional or varied damage, including incendiary rounds - but beware, if there's a new weapon, there's probably an infected that is immune to it. Adding challenges, new environments, new weapons, and new characters is an interesting tactic, though we were hoping to see a bit more use out of the first $60 installment, this could be phenomenal.
Otherwise, check out the gameplay video, and let us know what you think!