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Left 4 Dead 2 is a 2009 multiplayer survival horror first-person shooter developed and published by Valve. The sequel to Turtle Rock Studios's Left 4 Dead, it was released for Windows and Xbox 360 in November 2009, Mac OS X in October 2010, and Linux in July 2013.

Left 4 Dead 2 builds upon cooperatively focused gameplay and Valve's proprietary Source engine, the same game engine used in the original Left 4 Dead. Set during the aftermath of an apocalyptic pandemic, Left 4 Dead 2 focuses on four new Survivors, fighting against hordes of zombies, known as the Infected, who develop severe psychosis and act extremely aggressive. The Survivors must fight their way through five campaigns, interspersed with safe houses that act as checkpoints, with the goal of escape at each campaign's finale. The gameplay is procedurally altered by the "AI Director 2.0", which monitors the players' performance and adjusts the scenario to provide a dynamic challenge. Other new features include new types of special infected and an arsenal of melee weapons.

The game made its world premiere at E3 2009 with a trailer during the Microsoft press event. Prior to release, it received a combination of positive and negative critical and community reactions. It attracted an unusually high volume of pre-release controversy about the game's graphic content. In response, alterations were made to the cover art and both Australia and Germany refused to rate the unmodified edition at the time of release. After release, however, the game was met with positive reviews by critics, and is often considered one of the greatest video games ever made.

Plot

The Sacrifice takes place before the main events of Left 4 Dead 2 and after the events of comic book of the same name. At the end of the first game, the original survivors—Bill, Francis, Louis, and Zoey—arrive at the portside town of Rayford in Georgia in order to search for a boat that can take them to the Florida Keys. After finding an adequate sailboat, the survivors have to manually start up generators in order to lift a bridge for their boat to pass through. One survivor (canonically Bill) sacrifices himself in order to kick-start a generator once it gives out, so that the others may reach safety. This is the end of Bill's story in the Left 4 Dead video game series.

Left 4 Dead 2 opens in Dead Center (set in Savannah, Georgia), where the four survivors find themselves abandoned on a hotel roof by rescue helicopters. They decide to head for the local mall, where a second CEDA evacuation point is located. After a brief encounter with a gun store owner, Whitaker, the survivors discover that the mall is overrun, with all CEDA agents having become either dead or infected as well. Ellis helps the group use a stock car to break out of the mall and travel towards New Orleans, rumored to be the last standing city in America.

The Passing takes place between Dead Center and Dark Carnival, and after the events of The Sacrifice campaign. The survivors arrive at the bridge in Rayford, where they meet Francis, Louis, and Zoey. As they need to cross the bridge to proceed, the Survivors need to find another way across to refill the generator with gas. After fighting their way through a wedding reception (complete with a Witch bride), the streets, and a historic under-the-river tour, they meet up again with the original survivors, who help by covering for the group while they fill the generator and lowering the bridge once it's full.

At the start of the Dark Carnival campaign, the four survivors find the highway ahead completely blocked by ditched vehicles, and are forced to travel on foot through an abandoned (but still operating) amusement park. After navigating their way to the park stadium, Coach devises a plan to use a large-scale light show on the concert stage, which had been abandoned by a rock band called The Midnight Riders, in order to signal a helicopter pilot for rescue. After being rescued, they later discover that their pilot is infected. When the pilot starts attacking them, Nick is forced to kill him (echoing a similar situation in Left 4 Dead), causing the chopper to crash into a bayou, which acts as the setting for Swamp Fever. Working their way through the swamps, the group comes across a crashed airplane, dead military paratroopers, and isolated swamp villages which had held out against the infected but were eventually overrun. After spending the morning fighting through the swamp, the group arrives at a plantation mansion and make radio contact with Virgil, a Cajun boat captain who can assist them; however, his boat begins to run low on diesel fuel on the way to New Orleans.

As a tumultuous hurricane approaches (the titular Hard Rain of the subsequent campaign), the survivors go ashore at Ducatel in Mississippi, after which they make their way through an abandoned (and Witch-infested) sugarcane mill to a gas station to get diesel fuel, and return to signal Virgil using the neon sign of a burger chain restaurant. In the final campaign, The Parish, Virgil drops the group off at New Orleans, where the military appears to be evacuating civilians across a bridge. On the way there, the four discover the city overrun with infected and that the military is actually leaving the city. The group manages to reach the bridge, where they make contact with the military. Judging from their dialogue, the military pilots suspect the survivors to be "carriers", similar to the original survivors of Left 4 Dead. After securing their rescue helicopter, the survivors lower and cross the bridge, escaping on the helicopter just as the bridge is destroyed. While the survivors' fate is left unclear after this point, the game's writer Chet Faliszek stated in a 2009 interview that the military took survivors on cruise ships to the Caribbean in an attempt to escape the infection.

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