Because, aside from a quick trip from the vet, this is what I’ve been doing with my morning:
1. It’s even more fun than the original, mostly because the up-close-and-personal melee weapons are just a (literally) bloody delight. I worked my way through one of the single player campaigns with a friggin’ samurai sword, and let me tell you, if there is a greater video game joy than turning a zombie into thin-sliced deli meat with a katana, I don’t want to know what it is.
2. It’s also harder than the original. I’m playing the “normal” difficulty and I have to tell you that I’m hitting the safe houses in dire need of health and ammo. The culprits for this: More zombies, nastier special infecteds (that’s the zombies that can spit on you or ride you or pummel you into squish or otherwise make you unhappy), longer levels and little mini-missions you have to complete while the game continually disgorges zombies your way. It keeps you busy and frantic, which is the point of the game.
3. More variety of weapons, which is nice, although learning which ones are really useful will take a bit of time, and the weapons of choice in the first L4D game may not avail you here. My preferred set-up in the first game was dual pistols and the hunting rifle for sniping; in this game the pistols don’t seem to stop the zombies as well, and I’m not getting a lot of nice camping spots for sniper headshots. So I’m still trying to figure out what really works for me. I will say I had fun with a katana/grenade launcher set-up, although I’m not sure that’s the most practical way to get through the game.
4. The graphics are better and gorier, with lots of glistening disembowelments, amputations with bones sticking out, and blood spatters on the screen; indeed, if you’re plowing through lots of zombies with a melee weapon, at certain points there will be so much blood on the screen it’s hard to see. Needless to say, this is awesome.
So, as an early rating: Really good. I have some more zombie killing to get through today, so if anything happens for me to change my mind I’ll let you all know. But in general, it seems that Valve’s done it again. They haven’t made a bad game yet, and think about how many video game studios you can say that about.