Left 4 Dead 2

Game review by
Brett Molina, Common Sense Media
Left 4 Dead 2 Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Intense, violent shooter with zombies requires teamwork.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 39 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 139 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

This game glorifies the violent and vicious slaying of zombies. Players are meant to gawk at and appreciate the extreme levels of gore and the wide variety of creative ways in which zombies can be slain.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players determine their characters' actions. Consequently, the survivors are only as good or bad as players make them. Those who act on their own eventually hurt their team's chances and may cost them the game. Players must learn to work together and protect each other to survive. When one player is injured or falling off a ledge, another can choose to heal them with a health pack or pull them up. Or not.

Ease of Play

Although the game doesn't include any kind of tutorial to walk players through the controls, they are pretty easy to pick up.  There's one trigger to attack and another to push away zombies. Since there's no aim function, players simply point and shoot (or melee attack).

Violence

Players use a wide array of firearms and explosives, including handguns, shotguns, assault rifles, hunting rifles, grenade launchers, molotov cocktails and pipe bombs to kill zombies. They can also grab melee weapons such as axes, baseball bats, guitars, police batons, chainsaws and crowbars to pummel zombies. Zombies' head get knocked off, or arms and legs may be severed, spewing tons of blood.

Sex
Language

The worst words used were "s--t" and "asshole."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Players can take pain pills or a shot of adrenaline to gain a health boost. None of this is depicted in a glorious light. Survivors use them simply to stay alive long enough to escape.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Left 4 Dead 2 is an incredibly gory, violent shooter meant strictly for adults. Players must survive a zombie apocalypse by using a myriad of weapons, including handguns, shotguns, grenade launchers, axes, chainsaws, baseball bats and many others. Attacks look and sound vicious. When a zombie is hit with a bat, for example, you can hear a dull thud. Zombies' heads, arms, and legs will often fly off, and spew lots of blood that blankets the environments. However, it does promote teamwork more than most games. Players have to work together, healing, helping, and protecting one another, in order to survive. That means, though, that open voice chat is nearly mandatory, which opens the floodgates for the sharing of inappropriate words, ideas, and information.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bydjgamerz April 27, 2020

Must play game!

There is plenty gore in this game and a decent amount of language. but it should not be blamed. I am against cussing and violence in real life but this is the... Continue reading
Adult Written byHeretic6 February 20, 2019

A head of its time

This game is unbelievably good. Yes there is a lot of gore. But in order to survive you have to rely on teamwork. This game is classic and is really good. The g... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byToak March 22, 2010

Generally acceptable for 13+

By the time you're 12/13, people in school use the words "D*mn" and "S*it" a fair amount, so not much of a problem. The blood and gore... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old December 25, 2010

BEST

THIS IS THE BEST ZOMBIE GAME EVER. The good role models are the character's teamwork. This is by far the best one.

What's it about?

LEFT 4 DEAD 2 is a cooperative first-person shooter in which four people must survive a zombie apocalypse infesting the southern United States. Each campaign is a stand-alone adventure following a foursome of survivors as they attempt to escape. The game is a team effort, requiring players to work together and watch out for each other in order to survive. Players can tackle the campaigns alone, but the game is best played with others online. The game also features a Versus mode, where players can assume the role of zombies and attempt to eliminate the survivors. The game also includes a Survival mode, where players must outlast zombies for an extended time period, as well as a variation on the Versus option called Scavenge.

Is it any good?

The follow-up to last year's Left 4 Dead adds plenty more options in terms of weapons and enemy types. Players not only battle generic zombie hordes, but zombies with special powers. The Spitter, for example, spews acid. The addition of new weapons -- and especially the debut of melee items -- adds a greater level of variety to the action. The locales also feel fresh, taking players through various environments including an abandoned carnival and a shopping mall. While there are only five campaigns to choose from, there are plenty of modes available to enjoy, including Scavenge Mode, during which survivors must keep energy generators running while zombies attempt sabotage. Left 4 Dead 2 is also great at leaving the player feeling overwhelmed by throwing dozens of zombies in their direction. It's this kind of tension and thrill that makes it one of the year's best games for mature players.

Online interaction: Players can freely speak with each other in open chat, which means there is potential for inappropriate words, ideas, and information to be shared. Common Sense Media does not recommend open online play for children under age 12.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether a video game can be scary without being gory? Can you think of any games that fit this description? If a game has an option to lower the amount of gore seen on screen, do you ever use it? Why or why not?

  • Families can also discuss how the game places strong emphasis on using teamwork to survive. What do you think of this design? Would you rather be able to go off on your own? Does it feel strange to have to work so closely with strangers? Or do you prefer to play games like this only with close friends?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows, Xbox 360
  • Price: $59.99
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Electronic Arts
  • Release date: November 17, 2009
  • Genre: First-Person Shooter
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language,
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019

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