A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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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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?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.