Archive for Valve

Left 4 Dead 2: Demo

Posted in Games with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2009 by randomintermissions

Last night I downloaded and played the Left 4 Dead 2 demo from XBox Live.


... 17/11/2009 ...

I was a big fan of Valves orignal game realised 21st Nov. 2008 (yup, that’s right, just one year ago) but after a couple of months, and having played the campaigns multiple times, I began to get bored. What had been a brilliant concept (online, multiplayer, zombie, survival horror) began to get stale.


... 21/11/2008 ...

Yes, there was the AI engine that monitored how you were doing in the game and either eased up on you or threw additional hordes if you were doing poorly or well respectively. And yes there was cleaver bit of programming tech that analysed all the music you had heard so far in your campaign and would ensure it played something different to keep the atmosphere fresh. And yes there were the cool “special” zombie types and the cool level designs and everything else that made this game so addictive to start. And yes there was the free DLC (downloadable content) which added a new game style; but time took its toll and I eventually traded it in for something else (Fallout 3 I believe).

I was therefore a little shocked when it was announced at E3 that there would be a Left 4 Dead 2 coming out exactly one year (well, give or take a week or so) after the originals release. Also, to my disgust there was no mention of Valves other massive and eagerly awaited title; Half Life 2, Episode 3, but that’s a whole other rant.

So, returning to the point in hand, L4D2. The developers have thrown in a load of new extras: extra “special” zombie types (N.B. this article seems to have missed out the roaming witch, but I was unable to find a comprehensive list of the new zombie types), extra weapons / ammo types, extra pickups (Boomer Bile, adrenaline shots and even defibrillators), but this just gives the distinct impression that they are trying to cover up the games lack of originality or spark. Don’t get me wrong, I throughly enjoyed my play through of The Parish (the first two parts of this campaign make the demo, much like they did for the first game); it was fun and exciting and scary all in the right proportions, but this does feel very much like it could have been handled better as DLC, extending on the original game instead of marketing it as a new entity.


... The Parish - Demo out now ...

There is also one possible, and I do stress ‘possible’, downside to L4D2. Will peoples loyalty to the original game waver? I sit on the fence between being a casual and hardcore gamer, and as I have already stressed, I loved the original game, but I have no intention of picking it up again. I shall be picking up a copy of L4D2, play it until I get bored again and then move on to whatever the next big thing will be.

Having said this, the hardcore gamers / Left 4 Dead fans will own and continue to play and enjoy both games for many years to come.


EDIT: Further browsing for details on the demo, infected and plot points led me to an interesting article. It turns out that some of those very cleaver gamers out there have developed a PC mod for the demo that allows you to play Verses Mode and try out the new special infected before the game comes out. I have been purely a console gamer for quite a while now (my home computer just isn’t good enough to allow me to run newer games, even with the marvel that is Windows 7) but it’s little things like this that make me miss PC gaming. There is also the added benefit of the price! PC games in general are always cheaper than their console counterparts.


Jumping on the band wagon…

Posted in Games, Rantings with tags , , , , on June 9, 2009 by randomintermissions

Any body who reads Black Box Conversations’s blog should have seen his recent post about Valve’s E3 news; namely the reveal that they are launching Left for Dead 2 this year, and yet not a peep about the eagerly awaited Half Life 2, Episode 3.

I just want to jump on the band wagon to some extent and also voice my disappointment. I am not going to repeat everything he said, for that would be a waste of every bodies time (for the post [click]), instead I am going to focus on something Valve have got right… making damn fine games.



Half Life was released in 1998, and 11 years later I am still playing it, not because I fail at computer games (although to my recollection I have only completed the original Half Life twice), but because Valve make games with enormous re-playability factor. Time and time again Gorden Freeman has wandered the halls of Black Mesa and City 17, restarting the saga every time news is realised about the next installment. So, even in the absence of any news relating to Episode 3, I begin the Half Life from it’s routs, yet again.

I would put a review of the saga, explain why it is amazing, how it is a revolution in computer gaming story telling, graphics, yarda, yarda, yarda… but chances are if you are reading this, you have already played them and know all this…

Here’s to Valve… [although if you work for Valve and you are reading this, where is Episode 3?]