Just checked up on my Destructoid blog from about two years back, although slightly perplexed by my ďwonderfulĒ writing skills, (perhaps Iíll judge this article in a few years) I found it a bit funny my last article was about Left 4 Dead
. Regardless, Iíve been starting a bit of a debate with my friend on the subject of Left 4 Dead
and Left 4 Dead 2
, and I figured Iíd just get some ideas down on paper, and what better place to share them then Destructoid, hence the checking up on old accounts.
If youíve managed your way through my Kane & Lynch
review, you would know I highly value art direction in games. I certainly wouldnít deny the belief that graphics should take a back seat to gameplay, but I still enjoy polygons as much as the next person; nevertheless I will openly judge a games visual merits based solely on art direction. For example Crysis
looks amazing now, I wouldnít deny that, but several years from now there will be a game with twice the polygons, twice the action on screen, and twice the good looks, simply put; Crysis
will eventually look dated (I spent a fair amount of time with Crysis on a good rig, but Iím not judging the art direction out right, in fact I hear the later levels and creatures look quite inspired). Now take a game such as Machinarium
, looks beautiful now, and ten years from now, it will still look so; technology canít improve style. Yes I am, perhaps unfairly, comparing a hand drawn game with a rendered one, but Iím just getting a point across.
Machinarium shows you don't need high end graphics to look amazing, and that the best looking game isn't always the one with the most polygons.
Now on to the subject of Left 4 Dead
, a game that had itís fair share of controversies with the announcement and launch of the second less then a year following the first. Iíll reserve judgment on that, but state that the differences between the two were minor, more guns added, the addition of melee combat, some new enemies, and a new campaign, or campaigns as the game likes to call it. On the surface of game were four new survivors and a new setting. The new weapons added a hint of variety, which never hurts, though the differences are negligible, as youíd still be picking an automatic weapon, shotgun or sniper, or perhaps a grenade launcher this time around. The new infected improved on the gameplay, preventing the closest camping of the first (which if you asked nicely, could get your teammates to avoid for the sake of fun) and for the most part promoting even more teamwork. Youíd be hard pressed to say these additions were not welcome, and improvements in some sense of the word.
The use of car lights, grain, and a more subtle and cooler (temperature wise) color pallet give Left 4 Dead a feeling of desperation.
Left 4 Dead 2
would clearly be the better game if more content equaled a better game, and it does right? For some, that may be the case, but for myself, Iím perhaps letting graphics move up and sit in the middle seat in the front of my video game car. You know that one seat up between the passenger and driver with the shifter dangerously close to your crotch? Yeah, thatís were Art Direction is sitting right now. With gameplay driving, and immersion sitting in the passenger seat.
Goofier characters, and and some daytime levels give Left 4 Dead 2 a new, although less serious, look.
Terrible analogies aside, Left 4 Dead
really had itís ďownĒ atmosphere, it was a dark grainy 28 Days Later
esque zombie survival game, yes the characters where horribly clichťd, but they had the decency to take themselves seriously. Now Left 4 Dead 2
's cast of characters of whom youíd be more likely to see in your local grocery store also took themselves seriously to an extent, but with a pinch more humor in their dialog. Not that Francis, of Left 4 Dead
, hating everything wasnít a bit of comic relief, but the cast in Left 4 Dead 2
is certainly more on the goofy side. Not to mention a few other aspects of the game, such weapons like the frying pan, and missions where you get bottles of soda for other characters, while humorous, donít exactly fit with the desperation I would associate with a zombie apocalypse. Secondly Left 4 Dead 2
has this whole bright sunny day, funky music, southern theme going on. Not that all horror games need to be at night (and Left 4 Dead 2
still offers some night levels), but it certainly killed the feeling of desperation from the first game. Not to say developers shouldnít experiment with this sort of thing (I really think they should), but changing the atmosphere so drastically is really changing a huge aspect of the first game. Valve took the style in another direction with Left 4 Dead 2
, and if youíd allow me to be so shallow for a moment, it ruined the game for me. I want to like Left 4 Dead 2
, I really do, it truly did improve on the first, but for me it changed one of the defining aspects of the first game, and I just canít seem to get past it. read