For those of you that didn't know, the (pre)demo for Left 4 Dead launched today, available for those who reserved the game at a Gamestop. Now, I was up at 6 to start the 1.21 GB download of the demo so it would be ready to go as soon as I got home from my 8 A.M class. Well, so far I have clocked in about 3 hours of playing time, and I can be completely sure of one thing. Left 4 Dead is my game of the year.
A good demo can sell more copies of a game, and this demo is one of the best I've played. The only time I wasn't completely absorbed into what was going on in the game was when me and my companions reached the final safezone of the demo. Valve was very smart to release a demo of L4D for obvious reasons. For one, it was an easy way to get massive reserves for the title. Also, it is like crack cocaine. I literally have been replaying the same two maps that come with the demo over and over again, since I got home.
You can chalk that up the the A.I. Director. I have never doubted Valve, and the description of this A.I. Director has had me excited with anticipation for months. It works better than I would have imagined. Keep in mind that the demo, on average, takes about 15 minutes to play through. I've played through it around 6 or so times, and it has been so drastically different every time that it has felt like completely different levels. Not just different weapon placement and enemy spawning, but the entire pacing and direction of the scenario are affected.
For instance, I was forced down a hallway by a horde of zombies that had never been there before, leading me to a vent shaft that I had never used, and turned out to be a shortcut. This brought me and my group out ahead of a horde of zombies (and a sleeping Witch) and allowed us to move on unnoticed. That was a great discovery, however, next time I tried to use it, i was dragged out the other end by a waiting smoker, and since I was so far ahead of my group, I was slowly killed.
The controls are simple, intuitive, and in a nutshell, spot on. The quick turn button is a genius addition, and really helps to keep you immersed in the game, because you always have complete control over your character.
Talk about a game living up to expectations. This is a very small fraction of what the full title will be and I am HOOKED. So, hey, GV Community members! Post your gamertags and let's wreck some zombies!