Left 4 Dead 2
So there’s been a lot of controversy surrounding Left 4 Dead 2, and for once I can see the meaning behind some of the claims. I also can think of a few of my own.
I would consider myself a console gamer – no interest in PC gaming as I don’t have the money or time to spend fixing up a high-end PC to play games on, and my XBOX more than satisfies my appetite. I’m saying this because I don’t really care for the lack of mod support in Left 4 Dead.
Where I feel cheated is not really with one thing in particular but a whole lump of things that add to each other, and this is not me being pretentious and reckoning that Valve owe me anything – they don’t. As a computer scientist I can see how they’ve got to Left 4 Dead 2 within a year though – well maybe not as quick as a year, but the game has changed quite significantly. There are three new super zombies, a shit load more guns, 5 new campaigns that can be played through on vs. mode too, other game modes (like the survival modes from the DLC of the first game), AI ‘Director’ who now alters the route you should take every time you play, etc. All of those things probably warrant enough changes to a game engine to bring out an entirely new game.
Where I think I’ve been put out by Valve was that they didn’t quite meet the expectations of the systems they were being released on. Take multiplayer on other games for example, Halo 3 – they’ve had four downloadable map packs available which span 11 new multiplayer levels – that is in my opinion a lot of downloadable content for a game which didn’t really need it all. Left 4 Dead is an entirely multiplayer game with only 4 campaigns. The way you are meant to play the game means you get about 4 hours of original entertainment and then all the rest is replay value. £40 for 4 hours of original entertainment + replay value is a lot to ask for from a consumer. However, I happily paid for the game with the expectation that Valve would support the instant community their game would make by releasing more campaigns as DLC like most other multiplayer games that are released on XBOX 360, PS3 and PC. Don’t get me wrong, I loved playing those 4 campaigns on Left 4 Dead but after some time I wanted a bit more.
They didn’t completely leave their game in the dark without DLC though, a free survivor map and new game mode was released for free, and sufficed for a while. They’ve also released a smaller campaign that links two of the other campaigns together, but you have to pay for it, and I’d lost interest in Left 4 Dead by the time that came out.
I understand again, that as a computer scientist their first engine/build of this game might not have been built entirely for expansion in the form of DLC – but that’s hard to digest when you see that they have released DLC – even so, my expectations of Left 4 Dead 2 now are that they have built this up to expand it a lot more with DLC.
As a consumer I feel a little bit cheated – cheated that the first game had so little content with the expectations of having a lot more added to it – and then finding out I’d have to shell out another £40 for the sequal being released only a year later with a just a few new additions; doesn’t seem justifiable to me. What I would have preferred would have been a lot more DLC on the original, and for Left 4 Dead 2 to be released next year – or cut down the price significantly of Left 4 Dead 2, because even after all the changes that have been made, it still looks and feels like an expansion pack.