Left 4 Dead
And last, but certainly not least is Left 4 Dead from Valve, winning numerous shooter and multiplayer ‘Game of the Year’ awards. This game actually came alive from a few mods for Counter Strike and Half Life 2. I am guessing that Valve looked at these modifications and saw how much fun they were and said to themselves that it would make an amazing retail game. The popularity of recent zombie movies and games must have also gone through their heads as well.
The entire game is actually presented a movie, with a movie poster shown in the loading screen, and when you finish a campaign there are credits showing your stats and many other different things. There are four campaigns in this game, and you can play as four different characters, Bill, Zoey, Francis, and Louis. The main plot is that you are one of the 4 survivors of a zombie apocalypse and you try to escape the area that you are in. You start out in a safe house that contains med kits, weapons (such as shotguns, sub-machine guns, and pistols) and pain pills. You have a health bar in this game so you have to use the med kits when you are near death to survive. Pain pills are a little bit different though. When you use pain pills, you can health to a certain extent, but over time, it decreases and then you go back to your original health you had.
L4D has sports your basic arsenal of weapons. You can have a pump shotgun, a sub-machine gun, an assault rifle, sniper rifle, and a semi-automatic shotgun. There is also a pistol with unlimited ammo, and if another pistol is found, you can dual wield them. In L4D, you have 3 downs until you die. When you are down, it is a lot like “Last Stand” or “Second Chance” from the Call of Duty series. You are down on the ground with 1 or 2 pistols, and your team mate have to revive you. After a matter of time, if your team mate does not help you up, you will eventually die.
The four campaigns, usually take 30 minutes each to complete. Now before you start saying “What?? Only 2 hours of gameplay??” you have to realize this is on the easiest difficulty. I have spent over 5 hours on one campaign before on the expert level, just trying to get an achievement. So don’t worry if you think you are not getting your money’s worth, because you most definitely will. There is also a very fun and addictive multiplayer mode.
Speaking of which, the multiplayer mode is a 4v4 mode similar to that of the single player campaign, but there is a catch. Four players are the survivors trying to get to the end of the campaign, but the other 4 players are the actual infected zombies trying to kill the survivors. If you are the infected, you can be 4 different infected types, Hunters, Boomers, Smokers, and the Tank. You are rarely the Tank though, but when you are its very fun and the survivors usually run for their lives because if you are a good player, you can take out their whole team by yourself.
For now, you are only able to play on two of the campaigns in multiplayer, but hopefully there will be DLC for more campaign and multiplayer levels in the near future. Valve already has plans on DLC, but there are some troubles with them and Microsoft regarding the content being provided for free or for a charge. Left 4 Dead is currently only for the Xbox 360 and the PC, but I am sure it will be coming to the PS3 soon.
One of the most underrated shooters of 2008 is Farcry 2. The original Farcry was only a port to the consoles; it had a lot to make up for this time around, and it certainly did in every aspect. The singleplayer, while not as engaging as the first, is still a milestone; with an open world of over 50km of Africa to travel through and open world mission structure Farcry 2, didn’t disappoint. The story was not something we’ve never seen before, but it was different. It progressed like an RPG, with a conversation system that wasn’t too in-depth but not repetative either. The open world game play was definitely a nice touch to a FPS game, and with the beautiful graphics engine Ubisoft used, it was certainly a pleasure to have long drives from mission to mission. The game brings some of the best physics in a video game with random object and character movements.
In the multiplayer department, Farcry 2 had an interesting set up. The leveling system is similar to Call of Duty 4′s, and other shooters that mocked the Call of Duty setup. You had your XP you earned after each match or during the match that would give you points to make it to the next level. Also there was different weapon classes included that you could purchase between deaths in any game mode. It uses a diamond currency system that will let you buy a weapon loadout depending on your funds. The maps also have a feel for freedom with it’s very open world look. What makes Farcry unique is it’s map editor. It has a full map maker and editor that lets you start from the bottom of the what terrain you will use, to place over 10,000 different objects. It by far the most advanced creation tool on any console. This time around Ubisoft knew it had to make up for the port on the Xbox 360 the first time around and it sure did that with Farcry 2.
- Honorable Mentions:
- Resistance 2
- Metal Gear Solid 4
- Grand Theft Auto 4