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WoW and L4D [Game Overview]
Nov 14th, 2008 by Dan

Insert another credit, because it’s time for your weekly video game news and you’ve just hit the Game Overview screen.

Just a quick detour from the FF villains feature to talk about two great games that I’ve been playing recently. The first you’ve seen the opening cinematic for on the site. The second just released its latest expansion pack to a horde of slavering fans.

The Left 4 Dead opening cinematic actually happens to be a brilliant tutorial to just about anything that you’ll need to do in the game. There is only one zombie type and one weapon type not really introduced in the trailer, which I absolutely love. Video games are a multimedia medium, so why not show instead of explicitly telling? They show the zombie special abilities, like the tongue grip of the Smoker and the pounce attack of the Hunter, and they show which zombies are most perilous, like the light-sensitive Witch and the damage sponge that is the Tank. Enough marketing spiel though, how good is the game?

The demo consists of just two of the levels from the campaign mode, directly continuing from the opening cinematic as a helicopter announces that anyone still alive in the city should head toward Mercy Hospital for extraction. Once you regain control of your selected survivor (I tend to select Zoey, the female college student, and my roommate tends to pick Bill, the Vietnam veteran ex-green beret), your teammates mention that you can make it to the hospital through the subway tunnels. The game itself is sufficiently tense, at least in the first couple of playthroughs until I became properly acquainted to the gameplay mechanics and the nuances of each of the two levels, but until then, I can guarantee you that I was freaked out the first time a zombie horde attacked me, a Hunter pounced on me, a Boomer vomited on me (attracting said horde), or a Smoker nabbed me.

The game actually has decent replay value too. Once you’ve beat a mission, you want to immediately play it again. This is helped by the fact that the AI makes each level different every time. Enemies spawn in different places, extra equipment is located in different spots, and the zombie types are always different. For a while, every time my roommate and I came across a Tank, it was instant death. They’re still terribly difficult to take care of, but we do a little better nowadays. It’s definitely a great game though and should be on your list for something to try. Demo is free and up.

The other game I’ve been playing, as of yesterday, is the latest WoW expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. I haven’t played too much of the Northrend stuff, since I’m waiting for Min, but the Death Knight starting area quests are all fantastic. Working directly for the Lich King is pretty sweet and a lot of the new advances, including siege weapons, have been fleshed out for the campaign. Even if you don’t really want to be a Death Knight, I would most definitely start one just to see that area.

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