Left 4 Dead 2 for Linux Review
key review info
- Game: Left 4 Dead 2 for Linux
- Platform: Linux
- Gamepad support: Yes
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
Left 4 Dead 2 is the most recognizable zombie survival game ever made and Linux users can enjoy it, courtesy of Valve.
Valve has never released a bad or even mediocre game. When they announced Left 4 Dead 2, a lot of people were upset because it arrived shortly after the first game in the series.
Three and a half years later, few people really care about the first game and most of the community now holds Left 4 Dead 2 as the standard.
There are a lot of games out there that deal with a post-apocalyptic world and waves of zombies just waiting to eat our brains. The truth is that a lot of them are MMOs and others are just oriented towards a horror-type gameplay.
Left 4 Dead 2 is a scary experience, mostly because the zombies are extremely fast, but the game is the epitome of cooperative interaction, and this turned out to be the perfect solution for the horror factor.
The game is available only through Steam, just like all the other games from Valve. The installation of the Steam client on Linux is pretty simple, but if you have any trouble with it you can check our Half-Life 2 review, which has a more detailed explanation of the installation procedure.
We installed and played the game on Ubuntu 13.04 (Raring Ringtail) 64-bit and the game proved to be very stable. You have to keep in mind that Left 4 Dead 2 is still in Beta and some bugs might still be present.
Story and gameplay
Left 4 Dead 2 picks up the story right where the first one left off. Players will get to choose from a selection of four characters. Unlike other cooperative games where the characters have different abilities, in L4D2 the only differences are cosmetic.
The plot is not something to be concerned over. The world has been infected by an unknown virus that turns most of the infected into zombies.
The main characters are immune to the disease and are trying to get out of the infected areas, back to the rest of the civilization.
There are multiple modes for the game, but the main ones, which are the Campaign and the Single Player, have been separated into multiple levels. It usually involves traversing a level and getting to the next safe house, but other objectives might have to be met.
The game is littered with “boss” creatures, which are very different from the rest of the infected. Some are extremely powerful, others are very fast, and another just makes the zombies go berserk.
Besides the modes I just mentioned, which can be played either solo (with bots) or online, Valve provides a few other gameplay modifications.
The Versus mode pits two teams against each other, one controlling the survivors and the other one four of the infected. The teams switch side after the first round and the scores are compared at the end.
Another popular mode is called Survivor. Players are placed in a small section of the level and have to survive for as long as possible. Players can't actually win this one, they can just hope to get a good score.
Valve also introduced some new features after the launch of the L4D2. This is just the case of the Scavenge mode, in which players have to fuel a power generator, while fighting hoards of zombies.
Even if the levels are the same every time, more or less, the game is governed by the AI Director 2.0. This system is responsible for mixing the gameplay in such a way that the action never repeats itself.
The system determines how many zombies are spawned, how aggressive they are, the location of the boss fights, the location of the weapons, and so on.
AI Director 2.0 is so powerful that some barriers can be rearranged so that users can't rely on past experiences in the same level. For example, a hallway that was previously usable, can be later obstructed by various obstacles.
The action is extremely intense and, if the players get along just fine, a real sense of camaraderie soon takes over the action.
The graphics for the Linux version is on par with everything available for the other platforms, and because it benefits from a modified Source engine, Left 4 Dead 2 is among the best-looking games on the open source platform.
The only problem I encountered with the game is related to the Single Player portion. If you play with human counterparts for some time, players will soon realize that the AI that acts as your teammates isn't good enough.
- Great teamwork experience
- Beautiful graphics
- AI Director 2.0
- The single player AI is not good enough
Left 4 Dead 2 has been so successful that it might spawn its own genre. Even if it's a cooperative first-person shooter, the gameplay has been taken to such a level by Valve, that we could have Left 4 Dead type games in the future, built by other studios.
If you haven't purchased Left 4 Dead 2 on Steam for Linux, you can't call yourself a real gamer. Even if you don't like multiplayer games, you'll still be able to enjoy a decent single-player experience.