Left 4 Dead 2
Reviewed for: Xbox 360
Also available for: Windows PC
ESRB Rating: Mature (blood and gore,
intense violence, language)
By Billy O'Keefe
What does a sequel look like when it's turned around in a year by a studio notorious for taking twice as long to develop an episodic expansion pack?
Actually, if you're the audience Valve is targeting with "Left 4 Dead 2," it looks pretty good. "L4D2" is a wholly incremental upgrade over its 2008 predecessor, but it hits all the marks — new campaigns, new characters, new modes and new infected freaks to play as online — it needed to hit to command another $60 from play who still have the original in heavy rotation.
Elementarily speaking, "L4D2" changes nothing: It's a first person shooter, starring you as one of four human survivors navigating a zombie apocalypse (this time, in New Orleans and its outskirts). The objective: Kill hordes of attacking zombies, and less common but exponentially more dangerous special infected, whose attacks are more powerful and harder to circumvent.
As per last time, the game splits into five bite-sized, hour-plus-long campaigns, and it dynamically rearranges how and from where the infected attack each time you play. You can take on campaigns solo (with three A.I.-controlled allies) or with friends (two-player split-screen, up to four online).