Electronic Arts hosted a studio showcase in San Diego yesterday, just before the start of Comic-Con. Inside the Onyx Lounge were bright cheerful lights, colorful pastel colors, fresh-baked cookies and ... The Littlest Pet Shop. However, if you headed downstairs to the basement, it was very dark, mysterious and crammed with things like Brütal Legend and Left 4 Dead 2. We couldn't resist the siren call of more zombie slaying, so we plunged straight into the new Swamp Fever level being shown off.
Head on beyond the break for our writeup. Later, look for our interview with Chet Faliszek, writer for L4D2 at Valve, where, according to him, "everyone is a designer!" But for now, it's time to find out why you'll want to catch "Swamp Fever."
Swamps are just perfect places for zombies: Oozing mud, burbling waters, creepy looking trees, crashed passenger jets and ... what? Yes. There's a complete downed jet in Left 4 Dead 2, straight out of Lost, that you fight your way out onto the wing of. You definitely don't want to get stuck inside, because those seats are ideal for getting stuck on when a Smoker snags your neck.
Throughout this level, there's a rickety wooden walkway that serves as your path and keeps you out of the deep waters where you can get injured. In fact, if a Charger knocks you far enough back into the water, you'll die because you won't be able to get back to shore in time. So stay on the path, and try to stay in twos so you can fend of the horde when it rushes you.
Then of course, there's the Spitter. This creature is a real pain in the neck foot, since the goo she spits out does damage to you and you'll have to avoid a pretty decent sized gob wherever she's hurled. It's not quite Boomer-velocity spew, but it affects a much wider area and deals damage over time. So stay on your toes and off that gunk.
There's incendiary ammo at a few spots in the level, which is much appreciated, especially when a Tank starts pounding on your team. The cricket bat, frying pan and fire axe can all be found in various multiple locations. One word on that fire axe, which was tough to find in the E3 demo: it rocks. That's actually two words, but you'll find a friend in the axe both because of its reach and that mighty blade on the end. Zombies do not like it.
Although we didn't make it to the end of the level (thanks newbie teammate!), we had a load of fun plowing through the muck, blasting zombies, riding hillbilly swamp ferries and yelling for help when Chargers would appear out of the blue and flatten us. Since this game is supposed to be even larger than the original L4D, we're really looking forward to it. So much so that we'll have to play more of this on the floor.