Left 4 Dead 2 Hands-on Preview

Written by Joe Martin

July 14, 2009 | 09:43

Tags: #charger #hands-on-preview #l4d2 #left-4-dead-2 #left-4-dead-2-hands-on #left-4-dead-2-preview #sequel

Companies: #electronic-arts #valve

Left 4 Dead 2: New and Improved

New weapons and survivors are just the tip of the iceberg though – there’s a whole bunch of new content to help change the flow of the game, such as the introduction of new Infected and boss Infected foes for you to go up against.

We’ve already mentioned that the Witch has changed a bit, getting up and roving around a little bit so that it’s harder to spot or avoid her, but there’s a number of other new Boss Infected – only one of which we got a chance to go up against.

Dubbed The Charger, it’s basically a half-tank in dungarees. The Charger has one huge over-muscled arm that it uses to charge (that’s how it gets the name, see?) through the hordes of regular Infected, moving much faster and more nimbly than the Tank.

Once it’s closed the distance on the Survivors and got within striking distance of the players, The Charger doesn’t just pummel its victims either, nor send them sprawling like the Tank does, though it can do that by charging directly into a group of survivors if they choose to stay close together.

*Left 4 Dead 2 Hands-on Preview Left 4 Dead 2 Preview - New Infected
Click to enlarge

Instead, it’ll single out the nearest member of the group and grab them in its large arm, smacking them against the ground and standing around until someone manages to put it down, which makes it a much more impressive and immediate threat than the Tank.

Admittedly, it is a little disappointing that the rather sophisticated, two-level attack of The Charger changes it to being little more than a bullet-sponge once it grabs a survivor, but it’s a disappointment that’s balanced out by the excitement caused when a Charger first bursts onto the scene. A group of four experienced survivors can quite easily topple a Tank by just spreading out and keeping up a stream of bullets, but it’s just not that simple with a Charger.

For starters, while the Tank usually attacks on its own and the AI Director will stop common Infected from appearing until the Tank has fallen, that isn’t true for The Charger. Instead, it’ll often appear alongside a stream of common Infected, forcing you to deal with both problems at once – no easy feat.

*Left 4 Dead 2 Hands-on Preview Left 4 Dead 2 Preview - New Infected
Click to enlarge

Thankfully though, there are a bunch of new tools to help you out – not all of which have been unveiled yet. One of new things we did get a chance to see was the addition of incendiary ammo to the game, boxes of which are inexplicably dotted around some of the levels by the AI Director.

Pick up a clip of incendiary ammo and you’ll suddenly be able to light those Infected up like the night sky, causing a tonne more damage than before and doubtlessly opening up some more advanced tactics that we’ll know more about when the other tools are unveiled. Just don’t expect the effects of incendiary ammo to last forever...

Expect the Magic Lava Bullets to be inordinately useful against the common Infected too, not just the bosses. There’s now a few dozen extra types of regular non-zombies to help pad the game out and give you a chance to try out some new tactics.

One of our favourites of the new ‘uncommon common’ are the new Hazmat-wearing ones, who according to the in-game fiction are doctors from the Centre for Disease Control who succumbed to the infection. It’s not made clear how they got infected through the Hazmat suit, but it’s apparently still complete enough to give them protection from fire, so you can’t rely on a Molotov cocktail to stop cover your rear while you hold off a wave from the front.
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October 14 2021 | 15:04