Top 100 Games of All-Time: #64

Left 4 Dead 2

Release Date: November 17, 2009

Platform Played On: XBox 360, PC

2018 Placement: #55 (-9)


What It Is:

Before The Walking Dead made zombies appear everywhere, there was Left 4 Dead: a 4-player co-op shooter where you took on hordes of zombies (and occasionally specialized ones like Hunters or Tanks) with friends as you cleared different scenarios. It was a story-light experience focused on quips between the four main characters and enjoying a co-op romp against AI zombies. Left 4 Dead 2 is the sequel that improves the quality of life of the game and the one I spent a ton of time playing with friends.

Each campaign is divided into several chapters where you have to fight from one safe room to the next, pursued by hordes of zombies while arming yourself with whatever you come across. From rifles to pipe bombs that attract zombie attention, you must fight your way through just a mass of zombies in locales ranging from a mall to a circus. Mechanically it’s just you shooting AI zombies and occasionally rescuing your teammates from a Boomer who threatens to explode all over them. It’s fun. The game’s “AI Director” also makes it so no two runs through the same campaign are ever exactly alike as well.

Why It’s Important To Me:

I think I had no less than three different friend groups I played these campaigns religiously with on both 360 and PC. I’m not normally one for repeated content and playing the same thing over and over but let me tell you, I played the shit out of these campaigns. I even played them on the hardest difficulties with my friends as we tried to survive against the rampaging hordes (which is something I hardly EVER do unless I’m chasing a trophy). It was just that enjoyable of an experience. Also for a long time my Steam avatar was a headless Coach that had happened when the game glitched out on me.

This game was the first game that truly cemented “online co-op with friends” as an actual fun mode for video games for me. It’s fairly obvious to most people who know me that I tend to fall on the single-player side of things as games are my escape and I love getting lost in stories. I never got into MMOs and really resisted online play for a while until Left 4 Dead 2 came around and broke down my barriers due to how much enjoyment I got out of the game.

My Strongest Memory:

There are countless memories. My friends trolling on purpose by jumping out windows to make their characters yell “Help!” and having the AI characters follow them because the AI is dumb. My friends trolling by not getting on the boat and derping around as Tanks came running in during the finale, only to die to the Tank so they didn’t actually escape. Actually, I think a lot of my memories of this game are of my friends trolling while I tried to play it seriously. Hm.

We also spent a lot of time chasing the achievement of surviving all campaigns on Expert mode, both on 360 and Steam. The achievement eluded me until the end (or at least when I stopped playing regularly) but it was still a fun, hair-raising time. I got most of the others achievements on 360, though!

Why It’s #64:

Like I said, I spent a LOT of time playing this co-op with friends. It was an absolute joyful experience clicking zombie heads, both with a controller and a mouse. It opened up a new world of how co-op could be fun and make me laugh while being social with my friends. And it still holds up today as a great game that can be repeatedly played over and over and still have a fun time with it. It’s worth it to play even if you’re sick of zombies at this point.