Left 4 Dead 2's Realism Mode made for advanced zombie killers

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      Last week, I spent a day in Bellevue, Washington, at the offices of Valve Corporation. In four hours, I played through about half of the story mode of Left 4 Dead 2, the co-operative first-person-shooter video game about surviving a zombie apocalypse.

      Mind you, the three others who were playing with me were people who developed the game. We were moving more quickly than the average person or group would. To say I was a liability to our group of four wouldn’t be an exaggeration.

      While we were playing, Kim Swift, one of the brains behind the inspiring game Portal and a level designer on Left 4 Dead 2, explained the new co-op mode in the game, which will be released on November 17.

      Realism Mode, said Swift, is for advanced players only, a way to make the game more interesting for players who don’t feel challenged by the expert difficulty level.

      Turning on Realism turns off the glow that normally haloes players and special infected creatures. “Communication becomes really important,” said Swift. “Players need to stick together.”

      The game is designed such that getting separated from the three other survivors is life-threatening. The glow normally helps players find their way back to the group, or helps find team members who may be incapacitated. Swift said that when players need help in Realism Mode, they need to be able to accurately and clearly describe where they are in the game environment so that the other players can locate them.

      Health and items “don’t glow until you are right on top of them,” said Swift, which means that while regular gameplay might involve dashing from one safe area to another, in Realism Mode searching and exploration are essential to survival.

      Swift said that Realism Mode also affects damage, so chest shots on the infected are not as effective, and players need to make head shots. “Just like in the movies,” added Valve’s Yasser Malaika as his Left 4 Dead 2 character killed a zombie that was about to finish off my character.

      There are five campaigns in Left 4 Dead 2, each with multiple levels, and Swift said that all of them can be played in Realism Mode. And it’s possible to scale down the difficulty to easy in Realism, for those players that want to see what it would really be like to be in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, but don’t want to be killed too quickly.




      Oct 23, 2009 at 8:24pm

      I liked the bit about not seeing the outlines of the survivors, however I don't like having to make more headshots. I want the option to just turn off outlines! Still very cool.


      Oct 24, 2009 at 7:49am

      @hai10hais you should be making headshots anyway this is a shooter, you aim for the heads.


      Oct 24, 2009 at 10:14am

      Ha ha... realism mode makes it so it is "just like in the movies"!


      Oct 24, 2009 at 11:28am

      Well, of course realism mode makes it like the movies.

      Would it make it like real zombies?

      Don't be stupid.


      Oct 24, 2009 at 12:18pm

      I disagree with you hai10hais.

      I think having to make headshots makes it exactly what the title is implying: REALISM.

      Well all know zombies are impossible to kill without severing the head/killing the brain, etc. If you shot off all the limbs of a zombie and just left the torso and head, it would still be alive. Realism ftw.


      Oct 24, 2009 at 12:22pm

      @NR Only with assault rifle and pistol. Otherwise central body mass is best (in my opinion).

      Expert with headshots only, no pounced warnings and missing second tier weapons? Now THAT is going to be one epic challenge....

      Thank you Valve!


      Oct 24, 2009 at 12:28pm

      @nr if you hadnt realized already, the regular mode makes headshots worthless. Shooting zombies in the body is just as effective, and shooting at head height (esspecially during a horde) only means more missed bullets unless your an expert. The freaking sniper rifle already kills any common infected in one shot to the body.


      Oct 24, 2009 at 12:57pm

      im sure chest shots can still kill them But its harder...so its not limited to just Headshots silly


      Oct 24, 2009 at 7:02pm

      Awesome. Can't wait to play Versus mode with Realism on.

      Tonster is smart

      Oct 24, 2009 at 7:45pm

      Tonster, +1 and also i know what headshots only on pc is like...it sux! but he clearly wrote Realism Mode also affects damage, so chest shots on the infected are not as effective"". that means yes it will be acceptable to shoot in the chest sometimes.