by Chris Davis
previewed on PC
Boomer? I Hardly Know Her! (cntd)
The newest infected revealed is the Spitter, a raged and incredibly ugly female infected whose power is something that will become coveted among versus players. Similar to the Boomer in nature, the Spitter has a projectile vomit attack she can use against the survivors. Unlike the Boomer however the bile does not attract the horde. Instead it creates an AOE effect that severely damages the player should you be standing in it. At the current stage it is an incredibly powerful attack that could incapacitate a healthy survivor in a matter of seconds and probably needs some fine-tuning. The Spitter is a great answer to the first game’s problem of corner-camping so it remains to be seen how well a group of survivors will be able to fend off the, ugh, “feminine charms” of this new Infected.
Special Infected aren’t the only ones receiving new members however; the common infected look to have new recruits for the ranks. Exclusive to each individual campaign, these “uncommon common” Infected each house a unique ability that separates them from the rest of the horde. The only revealed ones are the Hazmat Infected in the Parish, the Mud Men in Swamp Fever, and the Riot Infected in a yet-to-be-revealed campaign. The Hazmat zombie, as the name implies, has the infected wearing a special suit that makes it so the player cannot kill them with incendiary weapons. The Mud Men are every Japanese horror movie fan’s worst nightmare as they crawl very fast along the ground on all fours and throw mud, obscuring the player’s vision and potentially wreaking havoc if they are not killed quickly enough. The Riot Infected is a riot squad member who wears a face shield and body armor and as such can only be killed from behind. Two more are yet to be revealed but rest assured that you will need to keep your whits about you if you want to survive.
Directing the Zombie Apocalypse… Again
The biggest change players will notice in comparison to Left 4 Dead occurs behind the scenes and will have the player cursing like there is no tomorrow: the AI Director. While the first game’s Director was smart and balanced the high and low points nicely based on the amount of stress the player was experiencing it did not carry a lot of depth past spawning. No more however as the new Director encompasses a broad range of new rules and abilities that will provide for an even more different experience every time you play. The new Director has the ability to not only manipulate enemy and item spawns but to also dictate time of day, weather, and can even control crescendos and game events. One such example of game events occurs during the Parish while crossing a bridge in which a flight of FA-18 fighter jets can, depending on how merciful the Director is feeling, destroy sections of the bridge and force players into the swamp below, potentially splitting up the team. Scary, I know.
Another evil, evil option the Director can dictate is the spawning of the Witch. Unlike the stationary horror that made most players stick clear of in the first game the new Witch wonders around the environment and is just as deadly as before. It is also not uncommon for the director to dispatch two Tanks instead of one, amping up the difficulty an incredible amount. Damn you Valve, damn you.
Better Safe than Sorry
Left 4 Dead 2 looks to be one of the best experiences of 2009 and will probably surpass the first game in terms of quality and delivery. With a new cast of survivors and Infected, new weapons and abilities, and a very abusive new AI Director, look forward to one of the more entertaining games when it launches November 17th.