Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Valve begins tradition of boring sequels

Keep this in mind. Valve is without a doubt my favourite game company of all time.My freshman year of high school could be accurately described as this: Go to school, get together with Lucas, do homework, play half life, sleep, rinse, repeat. They just make good games. They made a great distribution system. They do something innovative every time. Actually.... No, they don't.

That's the sad thing. Starting with opposing forces and condition zero, through episode 2, and without doubt including what I have seen of the new Left 4 Dead. Valve has started a tradition of making really boring sequels. Obviously, I'm not speaking here of half life 2 (or for those of you who like it, team fortress 2.) However, there is nothing new in episode 1 and 2, people like the story, or they say that Alex is new and improved, but come on, it's the price of a new game! I expect new weapons, an improvement to the movement system, Something NEW.

Let me make my case with what I've seen of L4D2. From the videos released thus far. It may as well be called Left 4 Dead Racial edition. Other than adding a very lot of pigment to the characters skin however, it looks like they have added 3 melee weapons (which don't really do anything new at all....) a slight graphical facelift and flaming shotgun shells (which look like they defeat the purpose of a shotgun, at least in that video they have no stopping power and leave zombies free to run up and light you on fire.) That's it. The rest is level design (which valve has previously let the community augment for free.) I'm simply not paying for new maps. Not happening. Here is what I want to see in L4D2:

1.) Sprint
2.) Flares which attract zombies (especially witches) and give a large light radius.
3.) Level specific special zombies (like a hanging zombie, a hard to see (read, cloaking, or dark) zombie, an impersonating zombie, and a tiny (head-crab-esq) zombie.)
4.) NEW weapons, not remixes, not crowbars with axe and frypan skins. Where is the flame-thrower (gasoline + super soaker + lighter = zombie toaster). The one shot rocket launcher. The tesla coil. a high powered pistol. a crossbow. a chain?
5.) Drivable vehicles.
6.) The ability to shake off zombies (I know, I know, it's all in the name of team-play, but being stuck on the ground INDEFINITELY until people come and help you is implausible and LAME)
7.) Levels that require you to split into 2 groups of 2.

This list of features would take a team of decent amateurs (read, mod creators) less than a month of part time work to put together.

I'll give Valve one thing from the Video, I'm glad to see daytime levels.

EDIT: So I'm not the only one angry.
Apparently upwards of 5000 Valve fans took the time to verbalize there annoyance. They have the right idea, the additions we are seeing in L4D2 deserve to fall into the "content" update or "expansion pack" category. They simply aren't new-game-worthy.

EDIT2: If you're annoyed, join the L4D2 boycott group on steam (link in the article above).

No comments: