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Left 4 Dead 2

Game review

A sequel to the biggest zombie game following, it was a tall order to build upon. As with Valve, they pulled an admirable job with the motto of "Add more", but in the end, cost the community and cut some edges along the way.

Controls are very much in line with Source engine games where the basic controls, The controls are customizable, though custom vocals are not accessible, as well as cheats like in the first game.

Graphics are a step up from before, even if it's all for the name of guts and gore. It's very over the top and viseral in the sense of blood all over your screen if you use a melee weapon. However, there will be oddities of animations (incapped, crouching, idle) and taking shortcuts that remind that the game was made along with the console version (smaller field of vision, missing legs). While most players won't notice it with all the action going on, it will come up during game play, a reminder of the less than one year development period. The sound department is still very much upper class.

Gameplay is very much the same as L4D1, but with "more". Endless events, alternative finales, and addition of more weapons changed the feel of the game to something along the lines of the Zombieland movie. While it is still a great social game, there have been some magic that were lost in transition in the sequel. I mean, in Dark Carnival, it rather pulls out of the immersion when a small town population pops out from behind a pillar in Map 4 in the run to the saferoom. Hitboxes are still a big issue with the game. This game will cater to those who hunger for gore and a great time with friends or even public players (though the fair warning that it is still a "dog eat dog" world on the internet in terms of teamwork and progress.) In all, still a fabulous co-op game that will hook players for hours on end, but in my opinion, just lacks that polish and frantic appeal that the original brought to the table for all players to enjoy.


Left 4 Dead

Game review

The catalyst for the popularity of zombie games, L4D provided the best blend of action, scares, social aspects, and pure replayability. With three distinct modes of campaign, versus, and survival, and with the addition of custom campaigns, it is a time sink for many hours with people online.

Graphics are still very good to today's standards, and the sound effects are superb with cues everywhere. The biggest plus for me was the various amounts of dialogue among the survivors, it makes each of them likable in their own way, and in some ways, relatable.

Controls are spot on, considering how basic it is. Very easy to pick up and play, with full access to the console commands as well (though some options of other Source games like fps_max are missing.)

Gameplay, while fun, has some odd moments that can leave something to be desired. The pacing is usually great (though the custom campaigns can be fatiguing) and AI Director does a decent job in changing things up for each playthrough. But, and this is a stinging "but", there will be moments where some oddities occur, like the hitboxes being off key. In addition, being a co-op based game, players will have to demand much from one another to pull through, on both the survivor and infected end, which is probably a tall order on the public scene. "Play with Friends" will be what Valve harps. The public community is not very kind, and with the release of a sequel, it has dwindled down. Still, very much worth it with friends, and with the custom campaigns out there, the simplicity of this game and the package it offers, there isn't much that this game can't provide for hours on end entertainment.



Game review

When it was introduced, there wasn't anything really in the market quite like it: a hybrid First Person Shooter with Tower Defense. And it's still refreshing to play with the gaming community infested of "Shoot first, ask questions later" style.

Controls are in-tune with what is essential, albeit taking some getting use to. It uses the Unreal Engine, which can be a problem for those who have lower mouse speeds where the slightest movement might be too high for the player. Otherwise, everything responds when needed and there is plenty of customization.

The graphics of the game are quite pretty and bright, with enemies showing their weakspots in bright orange and weapons changing color with progress of upgrades. Everything is visually there for what the player needs, though flying enemies could use a bit more cues as they are the bane to most players' defenses.

Gameplay-wise, the game is very easy to pick up, but like most tower defense game, the paused building phase will make the waves a bit longer, especially with co-op. Speaking of which, there is 4 player co-op included in the game, which adds much more depth to the game when four brains are trying to figure out the maze layout, weapon loadout, and tower setup. DLC are available, and while cool, they aren't required, though some help with the replayability of the game. Also, there are some free DLCs in terms of maps, though they include some odd background music that some players might dismiss, like, or downright hate. Overall, it is a great game for single and multiplayer that will sooth the itchy trigger fingers and tickle the brain.


Alien Swarm

Game review

Can't argue with a free game, especially with the quality this provides. There are a multitude of potential this game had, and provided hours of amusement for a group of friends.

Control-wise, this game does the top-down view very well, with responsive controls that will keep up with the intensity of the action on screen, as well as full customizability from the console commands provided by the Source Engine.

Graphics, well, they are pleasing, while showcasing the lighting effects and fluidity of the action. It won't set the world alight, but still quite good to today's standards for a free game.

Gameplay, the hit detection does an admirable job on doing its job, but there will be some weapons that will be crowd favorites over others for making things easier. However, the pacing can spike on a few occassions if the team isn't careful, or the Onslaught Mode is turned on. Moreover, there's only one official campaign included with the game, while replayable, it will wear over time. The community has done a great job in adding more to the game in terms of campaigns, but Valve rarely supports this game, which leaves much to be desired in fixes for some glitches and overall longevity. Nevertheless, it's free, it's totally recommended if you can get 3 other friends to play along for a few hours. But beyond the achievement chases and personal challenges, the game needs more to stay on your hard-drive for a long time.

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