If you can’t make killing zombies fun, you can’t make anything fun.
Now, take that in context: I’m a 2nd year law student. I’m used to being surrounded by soulless, flesh-eating monsters. I also think there’s a little part of all of us that wants a release from the pressure of standing out in an overly populated world and just succeed merely by surviving. Or maybe we’re just a bunch of middle-class man-children who’ve always had too much to lose to do what we want, which is grab a shotgun and go to town on every slack-jawed, animated corpse who gets in our collective face.
Whatever the reason, there are precious few things my friends and I enjoy more than a good zombie blasting. Which is why I am appalled at the incredible let-down that has been Left 4 Dead. It wasn’t an awful game, it just wasn’t worth the money we paid for it. All we got was four characters with no distinct abilities or even personalities, 4 weapons, and no plot. Single-player mode was virtually unplayable. The only thing a change in difficulty did was make your teammates more useless.
Now, not a year later, we’re already looking at a sequel. Even giving Valve the benefit of the doubt, and assuming that they put all of their time and resources into developing this one game, it seems remarkable that they could come up with a sequel in only a year. At least, it seemed remarkable until it became clear that all they came up with was 4 new faces and a few melee weapons. Better still, after a disappointing free update in April, Valve releases a second update only a month before the sequel drops.
Why does the timing of the update bother me? Because, having gone from bored to, well, bored-er, I gave up on the original and sold it to Gamestop, knowing that, if I ever felt the need to rejoin the battle, I’d have to do it in the sequel. Nobody would ever want to muddle through the same tired campaigns we’d lost interest in long before the sequel was even announced. Yet, as if to punish me for being unfaithful, they drop a new campaign.
Moreover, where does Microsoft get the gall to penalize 360 owners by charging for the update? Even with the update, the game wasn’t worth what I paid for it, but at least I’d be getting 25% more game. Now, I can’t buy the game even if I want to, because I don’t want Microsoft getting another cent out of the franchise.
So, I know it’s tempting, guys. There are precious few co-op games on the market these days, and even fewer that involve zombies, so we cling desperately to any we can find. But don’t reward this kind of behavior. Game developers know we want zombies. They know we want co-op. We showed them that by buying Left 4 Dead and Resident Evil 5. Now let’s show them what we don’t want. We don’t want to pay the price of a new game for a few new lines of generic dialogue and some new faces we could have made ourselves in a character creator, and we don’t want to buy fun-bucks from Microsoft for an update that comes free to PC gamers.