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Left 4 Dead 2
Developer(s) Valve Corporation

Valve Corporation

Designer(s) Mike Booth
Writer(s) Chet Faliszek
Composer(s) Mike Morasky
Release date

Xbox 360, PC
US November 17, 2009
EU November 19, 2009
October 5, 2010

Genre(s) Co-operative
Survival horror
First-person shooter
Game modes Single player, multiplayer
Platform(s) PC, Xbox 360, Mac
Prequel Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead 2 is a single-player and multiplayer co-operative survival horror first person shooter game developed by Valve Corporation. It is the sequel to Left 4 Dead. It was first announced on June 1, 2009 by Valve Corporation at Microsoft's E3 2009 press conference.

The Left 4 Dead 2 multiplayer demo was released on October 28 for those who pre-ordered. It was made available to the public on November 3. [1][2]


The campaign poster for The Parish, the final campaign in the game.

The plot is similar to Left 4 Dead. It involves the aftermath of the Infection one week after the events of the previous game, now being around three weeks after the first Infection.

The story starts around noon in Savannah, Georgia. As the last rescue helicopter leaves the building, the four unlucky Survivors climb up the hotel to find out that they are just a couple of seconds too late, watching their chances of escape fly away. With this newfound predicament, the group decide to go to a mall where it is said that another evacuation center is still in operation. While leaving the hotel, they learn about each others' names; Ellis, Coach, Rochelle and Nick. They fight their way through the run-down streets of Savannah by obtaining equipment at Whitaker's Gun Shop, and strike a deal with Whitaker to quickly access the mall, only to find it abandoned and full of Infected. In desperation, they decide to pierce deeper into the building in the hopes that the evacuation center was simply deeper inside. It turns out that the center is decimated and all of the CEDA agents are either dead or infected. In despair, the group enters the mall's atrium and discover a local legend named Jimmy Gibbs Jr.'s stock car. Ellis suddenly comes up with the idea to find gas cans to fill the car's fuel tank. They manage to find sufficient gas and escape from Savannah in the car.

The four then arrive at Rayford and find a raised bridge that they can not cross as it has been raised by the original Survivors of Left 4 Dead. Bill sacrifices his life to raise the bridge, while Louis is wounded by a Witch as the group explores Rayford. Either Francis or Zoey meet the Survivors and inform them that they can not lower the bridge for the group because the generator that is used to lower the bridge is out of fuel and they must tend to one of their own who is wounded. After battling through a wedding with the Witch bride, the streets and a "historical sewer," the Survivors meet up with the other three again. After the three original Survivors agree to help by defending them from higher ground, the Savannah group is able to fend most of the Infected off, find the gas cans, fill the generator up, cross the lowered bridge and drive off while exchanging farewells as they continue to New Orleans.

The escape car works well until the Survivors arrive at Griffin County and discover a massive pile-up of the abandoned vehicles, forcing them to disembark from their car and proceed on foot where they discover that people were stuck in their cars when the Infected came and killed them. When they go below the overpass, they see that the searchlights are still lit up in the distance. The group decide to head for the lights as they believe that there could be fellow Survivors holding out at the park. The lights are revealed to come from Whispering Oaks Amusement Park (And the Midnight Riders were going to play there) and the Survivors discover that the park is overrun with Infected. They fight their way through the Infected masses and as they leave the Tunnel of Love, they discover a helicopter flying overhead, apparently trying to search for the Survivors. As they fight their way through, the helicopter returns again and Coach comes up with an idea to use the Midnight Riders' equipment in The Peach Pit to start a concert to attract the helicopter pilot's attention. This gambit pays off and the Survivors manage to evacuate in the helicopter as the masses of Infected swarm the stadium.

The Survivors of Left 4 Dead 2. (From left to right: Ellis, Coach, Rochelle, and Nick)

But once again, luck is not on their side as the helicopter pilot becomes infected, prompting Nick to shoot him and cause the helicopter to crash. The Survivors exit the wrecked helicopter to find that they have landed in a bayou. They discover a small village where its inhabitants decided to fend for themselves, but ultimately failed as they were overrun. They come across an alligator farm (Though no alligators are seen) and continue forward, eventually discovering the wreckage of a plane. They are forced to activate the plane's emergency exit, unleashing a horde of Infected alerted by the emergency exit's sound, but manage to fend them off and arrive at another village which appears to be intact. Unfortunately, they discover that this village was also overrun, but its survivors had informed any passerby to head to the Plantation House, where they discover a radio. Upon interacting with the radio, they find another survivor, Virgil and inform him that they are at the plantation house. Virgil recognizes the location and blasts the gate open after the Survivors fend a horde of Infected off and escape on his boat before they could overwhelm them.

As the group makes their way down to New Orleans, Virgil's boat runs low on gas and he sends them on a fuel run to replenish his supply. The Survivors believe that the task would be easy, but realize that they forgot their gun bag which also contains a flare to inform Virgil that they obtained the gas. They discover that the local gas station ran out of gas and are forced to go to the next gas station two miles away, passing through an abandoned sugar mill infested with Witches. The weather also shows signs that the survivors are headed for the worst, as a storm squall appears and hinder the Survivors' sight. They manage to make their way back to the nearby Burger Tank where Coach comes up with the idea to use the Burger Tank's sign as a substitute for their flares. This gambit is a success as Virgil arrives to pick them up before the Survivors are overwhelmed by the Infected.

Virgil sends the the group to New Orleans and the Survivors bid him farewell as he goes off to look for more Survivors. Coach is immediately reinvigorated as they see fighter jets in the sky, as he knew that the military had not abandoned the city yet, though Nick was skeptical about their presence. They determine that the bridge in the distance is the best chance of survival and discover the corpses of non-infected people on the way. The survivors correctly deduce that the military took over CEDA's pitiful attempts to contain the situation as they find themselves in an area being bombed by the military, and quicken their pace to the bridge. Nick is wary about the military as they might not have the best intentions at heart, but the others are optimistic that they would be rescued and interrupt a transmission between the two military personnel: Papa Gator and Rescue 7. The two learn that the Survivors encountered the Infected and assume that they are Carriers. Papa Gator asks Rescue 7 if they are equipped for the Carriers to which he affirms. Papa Gator informs the Survivors that they are lucky as they had just pulled out of the area, and that they have ten minutes to reach the other side of the bridge to their transport. The Survivors fight through the Infected amassed on the bridge and reach Rescue 7. As Rescue 7 leaves, the fighter jets bomb the bridge to prevent the Infected from leaving the city and the pilot takes them out to a military cruise ship at sea. [3]

The Cover and Rating[]

The latest cover hand (left), the previous one (center), and the oldest known one (right).

The cover of the Left 4 Dead 2 is almost identical to the original Left 4 Dead cover. The hand was modeled once again by a hand model named Andrea Wicklund.

The idea was to create a hand missing another two fingers along with the famous original missing thumb, resulting in a hand only holding up two fingers, further signifying the number two. The background's color was also changed to a lighter shade of green.

Around June 2009, the ESRB told Valve that the new cover is unacceptable and the idea was changed to tucking the two unwanted fingers behind the hand to attain the desired effect, yet still keep the missing thumb.

  • The ESRB was asked why they still allowed the new cover with only the missing thumb, yet not accepting the two unwanted fingers and the thumb. The ESRB declined to comment.[4]

Around July 2009, Valve decided to change the cover once again, making the two tucked-away fingers slightly more visible. The hand drastically changed as the background did which is now yellow.

In the United Kingdom, the cover was changed to show the hand facing the opposite direction as the two-finger sign towards the viewer is considered an insult. This cover design change does not apply with the New Zealand and Australian versions of the game even though the direction of the two-finger sign applies in those countries as well. In addition, the German and Japanese version of the cover features all of the fingers intact as it did with the first game due to the same censorship reasons that applied to the first game's cover.

Australia and Germany censored Left 4 Dead 2, removing some features generally to do with violence:

  • Blood and gore: Virtually no blood is found after killing the Infected and is impossible to remove any body parts from using weapons on them. Despite this, achievements for dismemberment were still included and can be awarded in the Australian version.
  • Fire and Explosive Effects: The Infected can no longer be set on fire and no damage is visible when hit with Explosive Ammo or the Pipe Bomb. Infected that the game registers as having been set on fire act in the same way as they would if on fire except that no fire is visible.
  • Bodies: After dying, the Infected disappear, often before they even hit the ground.
  • Infected: The Riot Infected is removed from the game because it "encourages violence against official authority". In the Australian version, the Riot Infected was eventually put back in with minor alterations to remove any connection to the official authorities.


These are the default controls of Left 4 Dead 2 for both the PC and Xbox 360 versions.


Both Sides
Button Action
W Move Forward
S Move Backward
A Strafe Left
D Strafe Right
Space Bar Jump
Left Ctrl Crouch
Shift Walk
C Voice Chat
T Team Message
Y Players Message
F4 Spray Tag
M Choose Team
H See Message of the Day
Tab Status Screen
Esc Main Menu - Start Vote
F1 Vote Yes
F2 Vote No
F5 Screen Capture
Button Action
Left Click Fire Weapon / Throw Grenade / Use Current Item
Right Click Melee Attack / Heal Other / Give to Other
Middle Click Rifle Scope
Mousewheel Scroll Up Select Previous
PrevMousewheel Scroll Down Select Next
1 Select Primary Weapon
2 Select Secondary Weapon
3 Molotov / Pipe Bomb / Boomer Bile
4 Primary Healing Slot

Temporary Healing Slot

R Reload
E Use
Q Select Previous Weapon
F Toggle Flashlight on/off
Z Give Orders
X Questions and Answers
Button Action
Left Click Use Infected Ability
Right Click Melee Attack (Throw Concrete as the Tank)
E Move closer to Survivor Position (Ghost Mode Only)
Left Ctrl Crouch (Enter attack position as Hunter)

Xbox 360[]

Button Action
Left Stick Move (Click to Vocalize)
Right Stick Look (Click to use Sniper Rifle Scope)
A Jump
B Reload
X Use [Open Doors]
Y Select Weapon
LB Crouch
RB 180° Spin
RT Primary Attack: Fire
LT Secondary Attack: Melee Shove
D-Pad Up Flashlight
D-Pad Right Select Primary Healing Slot
D-Pad Down Select Temporary Healing Slot
D-Pad Left Select Molotov / Pipe bomb / Bile Bomb
Start Main Menu / Vote "Yes"
Back Status Screen / Vote "No"
Button Action
Left Stick Move
Right Stick Look
A Jump
B No function
X Move to Survivor Position (Spawn Mode, or When Far Enough Away From Survivors)
Y No function
LB Crouch (Enter attack position as Hunter)
RB 180° Spin
RT Primary Attack: Fire (Tank: Melee)
LT Secondary Attack: Claw (Tank: Throw)
D-Pad Up No function
D-Pad Right No function
D-Pad Down No function
D-Pad Left No function
Start Main Menu / Vote "Yes"
Back Status Screen / Vote "No"
Context sensitive controls[]
  • The X button is used to interact with other things. Using it, you can pick the objects up, open doors or help the other Survivors to their feet.
  • Select the first aid kit, target a teammate and press and hold LT to heal them. It has the same effect as them healing themselves. (It will therefore take 5 seconds and heal damage depending on the current hp of the person).
  • Select the pain pills, target a teammate, press and hold LT to give the pills to them.

Refer to health for further tips. Make sure that your teammates know how to revive you and give first aid kits and/or pain pills to you. The Survivors need to watch out for each other.


Left 4 Dead 2 was universally acclaimed by critics, with a Metacritic score of 89/100 on both PC[5] & Xbox 360[6] based on 55 critic reviews and 76 critic reviews respectively.


Left 4 Dead 2 was featured as one of Game Informer's top 50 games of 2009. Game Informer had this to say:

"Ever wonder how far you could make it through the zombie apocalypse with just a chainsaw and a grenade launcher? Left 4 Dead 2 has your answer. Everything about Valve's sequel to last year's intense co-op FPS is amplified, with gratuitous gore, tons of melee weapons, intensified finales and even more zombies. If you still think that this sequel came too soon, then you haven't cracked a clown zombie in the face with a cricket bat while protecting a lawn gnome."

The Drunk Tank Podcast by RoosterTeeth named Left 4 Dead 2 the best game of 2009.


Shortly after Valve's announcement of Left 4 Dead 2, many fans were shocked of the idea due to the short period of time after the first Left 4 Dead and the fact that the long promised SDK (which is essential to making new levels for Left 4 Dead) was being held back because of this. Hours after the announcement fans gathered together and formed a group called L4D2 Boycott (NO-L4D2), the group reached 10,000 members in one week and 35,000 members in three weeks. The group believed that Left 4 Dead 2 should not be a separate game in order to keep the community one, claiming that releasing a sequel would split the community. Their suggestion was to make Left 4 Dead 2 either an expansion pack that is not full-priced or free downloadable content, citing a lack of new content and also voicing their preference to keep the original Survivors and maps. Many fans were also disappointed that Valve had yet to deliver the free DLC that they promised.

Valve informed the fans that they have been tracking their comments ever since the first announcement on June 1, 2009 and their response was that Left 4 Dead will continue to be supported with downloadable content. This announcement caused some fans to believe that Valve saw the fans of Left 4 Dead as boycotting the sequel only to get more free updates and save money. Valve also said that they are discussing the matter and are considering importing the original maps into Left 4 Dead 2; nothing regarding the original Survivors was mentioned.

The boycott was not especially effective because the pre-order sales of Left 4 Dead 2 quadrupled the pre-order sales of Left 4 Dead. [?]

The boycott has since been officially disbanded as the founders themselves said that they have done what they set out to do and are now sympathetic with Valve's work on Left 4 Dead 2, but however still maintain that they themselves will not buy the game. Despite stating this, one should note the irony that on the leader's profiles it is noted that they both own and play Left 4 Dead 2.[7][8]

As of 2011, Valve has ported all six original campaigns from Left 4 Dead to Left 4 Dead 2, playable with the original survivors. No Mercy and The Sacrifice were ported to the game on October 5, 2010, while the rest were ported with the addition of Cold Stream on March 22, 2011. The campaigns are virtually identical to their original versions besides the addition of melee weapons (which were absent from the original game) and updated character icons.



Main article: Left 4 Dead 2 Trailer
See also: Videos and Trailers#Left 4 Dead 2

Screenshots and Concept art[]


Major changes from the original[]

Downloadable Content[]

Split screen[]

Split screen play is fully supported on the Xbox 360 allowing the players to play both online and offline with a friend by using one console. On PC, split screen is unsupported, but still possible. Using an Xbox 360 controller for PC and some console commands, one can play only offline with a friend. Due to changes in the console split screen online for PC is not possible, unlike Left 4 Dead where split screen PC can be done both online and offline. Doing this requires a higher-end processor.


  • The game takes place in Autumn as seen in a banner in the beginning of the trailer as well as various pieces of graffiti which are dated for early October.
  • In the trailer, one can see what appears to be Marine Corps or Navy F/A-18 Hornets bombing the Infected. The Infected can also be seen breaking through fenced barriers, implying Valve's statement that New Orleans had been relatively safe from the Infection before the events of Left 4 Dead 2.
  • Valve seems to have reused the baseball bat hitting sound from the sound used in Team Fortress 2 which was also used in Half-Life 2. However, they have applied new, more authentic wooden sounds for it.
  • Valve decided not to give the game an elaborate sequel name because the title is so straightforward. However, the team considered calling it Back 4 More.[9] [?]
  • Upon seeing the campaign poster for The Parish with all four Survivors standing together, Game Informer Magazine commented; "Now the Black Guy is also the Old Guy and the office professional is wearing a suit instead of a tie. Yep, they're really mixing it up this time around." This statement might be seen as contradictory, implying that there are two Louises who became both Coach and Nick, but is simply commenting on the similar lineup of the main characters in relation to the previous game.
  • As seen in some gameplay videos, the "Dying Animation" of the Hunter and Smoker changed. Instead of flying away when being shot in the head like in the first Left 4 Dead, they just fall on the ground like any other Infected. The Charger and Jockey can still go flying when killed, depending on how they moved before death.
  • Although the UK's boxart was changed due to censorship issues, the manual and the game avatar keep the original 'hand logo'.
  • The clues for how all of the game's campaigns related are less subtle than the ones for the campaigns in the first game which provided little to no obvious signs of how the Survivors ended up in each campaign with the exception of Crash Course.
  • Every time that you started Left 4 Dead 2 up, the loading screen, menu background animation and music will change to match one of the 5 campaigns.[10]
  • Left 4 Dead 2 was nominated for "Game of the Year" in the 2009 Spike Video Game Awards. It also won the best Xbox 360 Game.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 came third in Screwattack's Top 10 Zombie Games, beaten only by Resident Evil 2 and Dead Rising.
  • Though numerous areas of the game's campaigns appear in the opening scene, their appearance and order that they are shown is different. The differences included the Plantation's mounted gun being on the lower deck rather than the balcony above, the hotel having a room that has a health pack and several guns and the atrium in Dead Center's mall having many more floors than in the actual game.

External Links[]

An autographed copy of Left 4 Dead 2 given away during the "Dude Where's my Thumb 2" contest.


Gameplay Modes
Introduced in Left 4 Dead Introduced in Left 4 Dead 2
Single icon.png Campaign icon.png Versus icon.png Survival icon.png Scavenge icon.png Realism icon.png Mutation icon.png Realism Versus icon.png Versus survival.png
Single Player Campaign VS Survival Scavenge Realism Mutation Realism VS Verus Survival