A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
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. But players must also learn to work together and protect each other to survive.
Positive Role Models
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. 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 & Scariness
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.
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The worst words used were "s--t" and "asshole."
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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.
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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.
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.
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Our Editors Recommend
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