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Left 4 Dead 2

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Left 4 Dead 2 is a cooperative first-person shooter game. It is the sequel to Valve Corporation's award-winning Left 4 Dead. The game launched on November 17, 2009, for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 in the United States; it launched November 20 in Europe. It builds upon the cooperatively-focused gameplay of the original and uses Valve's proprietary Source engine, the same game engine used in Left 4 Dead.

Like the original, Left 4 Dead 2 is set during the aftermath of an apocalyptic pandemic, and focuses on four survivors fighting against hordes of the infected. The survivors must fight their way through levels, interspersed with safe houses that act as checkpoints, with the goal of reaching a rescue vehicle at the campaign's finale. The gameplay is procedurally altered by an artificial intelligence engine dubbed the "Director" that monitors the players' performance and adjust the scenario to provide a dynamic challenge. Several new features have been introduced: new types of infected, melee weapons, and a story-arc that connects the game's five campaigns together.

When it was announced, it received a combination of positive, negative, critical, and community reactions. It also attracted an unusually high volume of pre-release controversy about the game's graphic content. In response, alterations were made to the cover art and the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification refused to rate the unmodified edition.

Plot

Left 4 Dead 2 introduces four new survivors, whose backstory is provided through dialogue. Unlike the first game which had no significant story development, Left 4 Dead 2 features a story arc set in the Southern United States which starts in Savannah, Georgia and ends in New Orleans, Louisiana. The four survivors have to fight their way through the hordes of infected, using safehouses along the way to rest and recuperate, in order to reach extraction points.

After climbing to the roof of a hotel in Savannah to be rescued, the survivors find themselves abandoned by helicopters, and so make their way to the local mall, after hearing word of a second evacuation point there ("Dead Center"). After a brief encounter with a gun store owner, Whitaker (voiced by Dayton Callie), the survivors discover that the mall is overrun, and use a stock car to bust out of the mall and travel towards New Orleans. On their way there they encounter the survivors featured in Left 4 Dead at the portside town of Rayford ("The Passing"), before finding the highway completely blocked by wrecked vehicles. The survivors are then forced to travel through a still-operating (but abandoned) amusement park, and start a huge fireworks-and-lights show used by the rock band, The Midnight Riders, in order to attract the attention of a helicopter pilot ("Dark Carnival"). After being rescued, they realize their pilot has been infected. Nick is forced to kill him, which causes the helicopter to crash into a bayou ("Swamp Fever"). They find brief shelter in a plantation mansion and make radio contact with a boat captain named Virgil who can get them to rescue, but he needs additional diesel fuel to make it to New Orleans. Amid a torrential downpour, the survivors go ashore, make their way through an abandoned sugar mill to a gas station to get fuel supplies, and return to the boat ("Hard Rain"). Virgil takes them to New Orleans where the military appears to be evacuating civilians. The group head to the extraction point, but discover that the military is actually bombing bridges to cover their retreat ("The Parish"). The survivors then make their way across a lift bridge amid a mass of infected and board the last military helicopter leaving the city before the bridge is destroyed.

Although the survivors' fate after evacuation is left unexplained, Chet Faliszek, the game's writer has said that the military is taking survivors to cruise ships in an attempt to escape the infection.

Gameplay

Like its predecessor, Left 4 Dead 2 is a first-person shooter with a heavy emphasis on cooperative gameplay. The game presents six new campaigns, each composed of three to five smaller maps. In the first two to four maps of any campaign, the survivors attempt to reach a safehouse, while the final stage requires the survivors to call for rescue and either survive a prolonged onslaught until rescue arrives, pass through an especially challenging gauntlet of infected to reach a rescue vehicle, or collect and deploy fuel cans to facilitate an escape.

Each survivor can carry one main weapon, and either one pistol and one melee weapon, or one main weapon and dual-wielded pistols. Though melee weapons cause extra damage to the infected when struck, the survivors can use any other weapon or item for weaker melee attacks and to temporarily push the infected back. Players also carry a flashlight, but may startle the infected. They may also carry a single first aid kit or defibrillator, Ammo packs, Pain pills or adrenaline. They may also carry a single throwable weapon — Molotov cocktails to set an area on fire, pipe bombs, and "Boomer" bile, which can be thrown at infected to cause them to turn on each other.

Because many of the special infected can quickly finish off a survivor if they are not rescued, the game encourages players to stay and work together to traverse the level safely. To enable situational awareness of other players, players are shown the health and status of their fellow survivors. If a player does not have direct sight of another survivor, they will be shown the survivor's highlighted silhouette. As they take more damage from players become slower. If a survivor takes too much damage, they become incapacitated, and can only fight off the infected using pistols until rescued by another survivor. If a character dies, they remain dead until the next level, unless revived by a defibrillator, or, in Campaign mode, reappear in a "rescue closet" to be freed by the other survivors. Should all the survivors be killed or incapacitated, the game is over, and players must restart that level.

Left 4 Dead 2 retains the three game modes of the original game—Campaign, Versus, and Survival—and adds a new game mode called Scavenge. In Campaign mode up to four human players fight against the computer-controlled infected to make their way between safe houses; any survivors not controlled by a human player is controlled by the computer. In Versus mode up to four other human players take control of the various Special Infected who try to prevent the Survivors from reaching the next safe house. The two teams swap sides once per chapter and are scored based on their play through as Survivors. Survival mode is a timed challenge where the survivors are trapped in a section of the campaign maps, and try to survive as long as possible against an unending onslaught of infected. In the new four-on-four Scavenge mode, the survivor players are required to collect and use as many of the sixteen gas canisters scattered about a level to maintain fuel in power generators, while the infected players attempt to stop them.

The game also features a "Realism" mode, which can be enabled at any difficulty for any of the game modes. The realism mode removes some of the video game aspects from the gameplay: survivors are not able to see the silhouettes of their teammates; if they die, they can only be revived with a defibrillator kit and will not respawn later in the level. Damage dealt to Infected is also changed, with headshots dealing more damage to enemies, rather than limb or body shots, making gameplay even more of a challenge. Designed to force players to work closely together and rely on voice communication, the realism mode was created to give players a way "to be challenged as a team" without having to increase the difficulty level of the game.

A new game mode called "Mutation" was added as part of the first major add-on for the game, "The Passing". This mode is dynamic and will be updated weekly by Valve to feature new game play ideas. The first week featured a "Realism Versus" mode, which combined the features of the "Realism" and "Versus" modes. "Realism Versus" mode proved very popular with players after release of "The Passing", leading Valve, following a player poll, to introduce it as a permanent gameplay mode in a following patch.

Survivor characters

Left 4 Dead 2 features a new cast of human survivors, which include Coach (voiced by Chad Coleman), a portly high-school football coach with a bad knee; Rochelle (voiced by Rochelle Aytes), a low-level production assistant reporting on the evacuation for a local television station; Ellis (voiced by Eric Ladin), a laid-back (and rather talkative) mechanic; and Nick (voiced by Hugh Dillon), a stoic gambler and conman.[6] While the game is intended as a continuation of the original, occurring 3 weeks after the first game begins, Valve decided to create a new group of survivors because of the change in location. In addition to the four playable characters, Left 4 Dead 2 also features a supporting character in the form of Virgil (voiced by Randall Newsome), a Cajun boat captain, who appears (voice only) in the game's later three chapters. This differs from the original game, where NPCs made little more than a single appearance.

Infected characters

The infected in Left 4 Dead 2 are largely unchanged from Left 4 Dead. While referred to as zombies, the infected are humans that have been infected with a mutated strain of rabies. The most numerous infected encountered by the survivors are the "common infected" though individually weak they can swarm and overwhelm the survivors with large numbers. In Left 4 Dead 2, damage dealt to the infected are portrayed more realistically, with bullets tearing off bits of flesh and in some cases, limbs. A new addition to Left 4 Dead 2 are the "uncommon infected" unique to each campaign. By virtue of equipment worn before infection or mutation, they possess an ability that separates them from the common infected. For example, in the Parish campaign the player encounters infected wearing riot gear, making them almost impervious to gunfire from the front, while Dead Center features infected with Hazmat suits which are immune to fire.

As in the first game, there are "special" or "boss" infected in addition to the common infected whose mutations grant them special attacks that make them much more dangerous. The presence of such infected nearby is hinted at by sound effects unique to each type, or with certain musical cues. The five special infected from the first game return in Left 4 Dead 2, some with modified behavior and skin models. They are: the Boomer, a bloated infected whose vomit and bile (which may be released at will and upon death) blinds the player briefly and attracts a horde of common infected; the Hunter, an agile infected that can pounce on survivors from great distances; the Smoker, an infected that can ensnare survivors with its long tongue from a distance and, upon death, releases a cloud of smoke that obscures vision; the Tank, a gigantic, muscular infected that is powerful and difficult to kill; the Witch, a passive female infected, who when provoked by loud sounds light or proximity of survivors will attack her provoker - she is able to incapacitate or kill in one hit. In Left 4 Dead 2, the Witch now has the ability to wander aimlessly in daylight.

Several new Special Infected are introduced in Left 4 Dead 2, all of which are playable in versus and the new Scavenge game mode. The Charger, an infected with an enormously mutated right arm, can charge into the survivors, seize and separate one survivor from the others. The Spitter can project balls of stomach acid that splatter across an area, quickly eroding the survivors' health as long as they remain within it. The Jockey can jump onto the back of a survivor and steer them into other infected or terrain traps.

The Director

As in the first game an artificial intelligence system called the A.I. Director drives gameplay by procedurally spawning enemies, weapons and items based on the players' performance. In Left 4 Dead 2, the Director has been improved to encourage more participation by players, forcing players through difficult gauntlets to reach the extraction point. It also has the ability to alter elements of the level such as placement of walls, level layout, lighting, and weather conditions, making each play session unique. The Director now rewards players for taking longer or more difficult paths through each episode by providing more useful equipment, such as incendiary or explosive ammo, along these riskier paths.

Download links:

Buy on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/550/
Non-Steam standalone: http://forum.csmania.ru/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=19907
Non-Steam updates: http://files.anitalink.com/clients/l4d2/

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