Left 4 Dead 2 is a game that’s been mired in controversy, whether it’s Australia refusing classification for the game or a boycott by fans of the first game, unhappy a sequel is coming so soon and accusing developer Valve of going back on a promise and stating that the game couldn’t be any good due to the quick turnaround time after the first Left 4 Dead. Outside of the controversy, though, the game is being anticipated this fall for a number of reasons, whether it’s the new cast of survivors, the new settings, the new infected or any of the other new features that have been planned for Left 4 Dead 2. At PAX, I had the chance to check out the new title from Valve on the Xbox 360 and see if those who were complaining about the game really had a valid point. Well, part of the way, at least: my teammates let me down and I had to watch the rest from others playing.
The new campaign, called “Dark Carnival,” takes place in three stages, so to speak. The first part is along a highway and at an abandoned motel, with plenty of empty rooms for infected to hide in. The second part travels down along a riverbed to the third part, the actual amusement park for which the campaign is named. Sadly, I died in the second part during my playthrough, but I did stick around enough to see a team of four get to the amusement park. The goal here was basically the same — get to the safe room alive and continue your escape — but there were a few new traps thrown in the way, such as a merry-go-round that you have to shut off after it comes to life so the horde doesn’t come after you. The park itself is home to zombies with clown-painted faces, something that should scare the crap out of you if you’ve ever seen It. Then again, if you’ve ever seen It, clowns should scare you, period. The whole level features an overcast, gloomy feel that adds to the apocalyptic vibe of the game, with just enough light and lighted places to give you a false sense of hope.