Greetings and Salutations, blog readers!
(Please note, I am very sick, so editing may not be up to snuff. I will be posting all about this when I am better. This was a draft)
Today I am back at it with campaign reviews for the Left 4 Dead franchise, part of my Zombie Reviews series on this blog. I have been covering the first game’s levels in chronological order, but I figured I would also do the second game, in chronological order, so I could blog about both games, without having finished all the campaign reviews from the first game.
I have blogged about this game before, and have a few blogs up about the first games campaigns, having covered No Mercy, Crash Course, and Death Toll, so before diving into more of the first game, let’s talk about one of my favorite campaigns to play, Dead Center.
Dead Center is the start of the chronological order of the second game, and is the starting point for our characters to meet.
The game begins with the four characters, Coach, Rochelle, Nick and Ellis, on the top of a burning hotel. The group is able to grab either dual wielding pistols or a melee option like an ax, along with their med kits, but not the usual primary weapons, until later in the level.
The level forces you down the stairs, and down several floors, where you can scavenge some supplies, minus the primary weapons, until you come to a working elevator. Once you arrive at the bottom, the elevator door has to be pried open, which of course will trigger a horde. When you open the doors you can grab Primary weapons like the machine gun and fight a horde, before making your way through the burning fires on this floor. After weaving a path, you make it to a long clear open area where zombies are falling from the area you were just in (falling to the same place you would have fallen if you lost your footing when outside on the ledges of the hotel), and you can get to a safe room.
The second level, the characters have developed a plan to go to a local gun shop to get guns, on the way to the mall for a rumored CEDA Evacuation.
The path to the store isn’t short by any means, so the group has to make their way through the streets, fighting no small number of zombies and special infected, depending on how difficult you have it set, and make it to a building, where you make your way down some steps and outside again, down another street, up a dumpster and to another building. In this building there are sometimes some better tiered weaponry, and I normally can grab something nicer, if not my preferred guns, in this area. Also in this area is a cabinet for heath spawns, like pills or health packs, as well as ammonia and sometimes special ammo.
After this room, the four make their way down and through the streets, then up another area and into a another building, before making it to the gun shop. Once at the gun shop, you meet a guy named Whittaker, who will clear the path to the mall, blocked with big trucks, if you go to the store for him and grab him a pack of soda. This will, inevitably, trigger a horde event, but, it is how you proceed through the level, so you open the doors to the store, grab the soda, and run it back to Whittaker, who clears a path and offers the guns you looted from his store for free, and the path to the mall is clear. The parking lot to the mall has a few CEDA tents you can explore for supplies, before you find your safe room in the mall, which is clearly overran, and not at all the safe haven evacuation spot the group thought it would be.
The third round in this campaign starts off with the group in the mall, and you make your way up some escalators and through the mall, with signs of devastation all around you.
This entire level, like every level in this franchise, uses much of the environmental scenery to tell the story of how everything went wrong, and this mall is a great example of that. This mall has beautiful signs of devastation and destruction, you can see where they had stations for screening, for medical aid, for supplies, all set up, you can see where they tried to make barricades, tried to “hold the line” as it were, and you can see where they failed, and everything fell apart.
You make your way through much of the mall, and then the map will force you, in one of two ways, to activate an alarm, of which you need to turn off, on the third floor of the mall. Depending on the area you are in, you will be on either the first or second floor when the alarm sounds. This run is a pain in the ass, but once you finish it, you aren’t done. You then have to go down a hall, down some stairs, through another area where you have ample CEDA evidence, up an escalator, through another walkway hallway, and then finally, make it to the safe room, with no evacuation in site.
Finally, we are in the fourth and final chapter of this four chapter campaign.
This type of finale is fun, also new for the franchise in the original versions. In this finale, Ellis has the idea of the gang filling up the stock car you find in the atrium of this impossibly big mall. You then run around fighting commons and special gathering up gas cans and filling them in the car, your speed determining how many waves and tanks you will face, some times I can finish this finale without any tanks, and other times…not so much.
Either way, you fill up the car, and hop onboard, driving away into the sunset.
Dead Center is incredibly fun, and offers plenty of casual story telling without hitting you in the face with it. You are introduced to your characters and get to explore this world of Left 4 Dead 2, this campaign is good for a beginner to the game, or a veteran playing the new game, but also works for someone who has played it hundreds and hundreds of times, and continues to do so any chance she gets. Me.
Dead Center is a solid level, 9.5 out of ten. Easily one of my favorites, tied with probably Hard Rain, which is such an amazing level it blows my mind. I don’t even mind that it is four chapters instead of five, because of how well done the four are, even if it is a bit boring, up down, across, street, building street, that is genuinely what crossing a city is like, and at least the creators do their best to keep the buildings from all looking the same, even though, oftentimes in cities, that is exactly what normally happens.
Dead Center represents your average city during a zombie break out, and gives you classic Dawn of the Dead mall vibes.
I hope you get a chance to play it. If you would like to watch a play through of myself and @PFSRMusic playing it, feel free to check out our channel on WeedTube, the MetaCafe. We will probably be streaming and or posting play throughs often so…if you like that sort of thing…as I do, check it out.
Let me know how you enjoyed this campaign review, and if you agreed that it was an excellent level, or even if you didn’t. Feel free to find me on social media, @AbbiGrasso, on every social media I am on.
Thanks for Reading!