Left 4 Dead 2 Scavenge Mode Hands-On PreviewBy Abbie Heppe - Posted Oct 07, 2009
For the final rollout of Left 4 Dead 2 goodness before launch, Valve announced the new Scavenge mode. This 4 v. 4 mode pits survivors against infected and not in the way we've come to expect. Four survivors must retrieve gas cans around the map to power a central generator. Each can that is poured into the generator buys 20 seconds of time on the clock which counts down to the survivors demise from 120 seconds. The catch? You can't take damage when filling the generator and the gas cans are spread so widely throughout the surrounding area that it takes an impressive feat of skill and teamwork to get all 16.
My take? The mode is really fun, emphasis on really, and very different from anything we've seen so far. Each game last 3 rounds of each side taking turns at survivor and infected. Good communication is key and the fast game play will sate appetites that don't have the attention span for proper versus matches. As for hands on with the new zombie classes? Bitchin'. The Jockey vaguely mimics the Hunter in attack style but drags survivors off to certain doom and is very effective when paired with the Spitter, whose acid bile renders parts of the map completely hazardous. The Charger deals massive damage when used correctly, either blasting survivors out of corners or crippling those that stray from the herd. It's very clear after playing the new zombie types that multiplayer and single player in L4D2 are different beasts entirely compared to their predecessors. Crash Course, the new DLC for L4D is a great warm-up for those anticipating L4D2, but it doesn't begin to touch on the complexity that the new zombie classes add to the game.
Past the new mode, there are some other tweaks to the game that dedicated followers will appreciate. New is a Team Versus option. This will let you take your party of four up against another party of four with the option to either replay or ditch your opponents at the end of a match. The stats for each round are also showcased differently and there are other aesthetic changes to menu design that seem more streamlined and informative than L4D. I was most surprised to see that game mechanics I'd seen in builds as recently as E3 had already changed dramatically. You no longer drop your primary weapon when picking up a melee weapon (in my dreams I dual wield a chainsaw and shotgun) and it seems like Valve has very heavily relied on community input for their decisions.
There are massive graphical and engine updates that increase the level of gore but it's even more interesting to see the progression in character models and see familiar zombie classes portrayed with a new spin. I mean, I'm not saying the Spitter has a muffin top...but she does (please don't liquefy me!). But on a serious note, the Smoker and Boomer definitely have new looks. And for all the inside information you'll have to watch X-Play and G4TV.com for my upcoming and extended interviews with writer Chet Faliszek and VP of Marketing Doug Lombardi who have all of the really great details that will make you want L4D2 as much as I do.