Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Game Diary: Left 2 Rot...

**This is a post from a few weeks ago that I sat on for a while, mostly because I've been focused on other stuff.**

I did a horrible thing my first night playing "Left 4 Dead".

I followed my self-preservation instincts and ditched my teammates, leaving them as fodder for the infected horde.

It should never be over stated that some choices, especially tough ones, aren't simple. Take our situation for example. We were surrounded on the hospital rooftop, engaging in the final rush, a final crescendo moment where waves of infected attacked us from all corners of the rooftop . Worse, we already failed three times before and although no one was frustrated yet, there were small bouts of in-fighting on th team.

But this time things were going much differently. We survived the first wave of zombies without a problem. The next obstacle came in the form of a Tank, a special infected that can take large amounts of damage and deal high damage as well. We took him out quickly. In fact, everything was looking great until the middle of the third wave. Special infected zombies managed to up our team, making us a group of desperate men. I managed to hold my own, dropping as many infected as I could.

And then the helicopter came, and along with it the pivotal choice: save my friends or make a run for the rescue copter.

The tension in this moment was palpable, the choices distinct and very clear. As much as it made sense to stick it out, grab more ammo, and save my friends from the horde, I chose the easier goal. I chose the copter and what would be my first level completed achievement.

So maybe my decision was influenced by outside achievement-whoring urges. Or maybe it was the feeling that I didn't want to chance restarting the level for the fourth time. Regardless of the initial factors I made my choice, and the results were exhilarating and still troubling for me all at once.

Yeah, the "Left 4 Dead" has a few flaws - not enough weapons, needs more maps, special infected could use a little more variety - but the experience as a whole is still amazing.

Simply said, Left 4 Dead is incredible (probably more worth it for PC owners than the way I played it, on 360) and worth your time. It punishes you relentlessly with infected hordes, it manages to be engrossing without a connected story-arc, and it presents you tough choices similar to the one I faced. I may have chosen to save myself, but who knows what you'll do given the same choice.

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