Why Support is Everything in Online Businesses

So, firstly, hello everyone. Yes, I know I’ve been a long time. I do have the best intentions of writing here more frequently, but sadly time gets away from me and it just has not been happening. But a recent, I’m sorry to say, negative experience in the online consumer world had prompted me to emerge and have a say.

Now, I’ve been heavily debating whether to name the entity involved. Given my experience has ultimately resulted in me reporting them to the authorities in their own country, my decision has been to refrain from naming them yet, in the hope that justice will be done.

The short version of this story is as follows:

I purchased a game online, something that I have been known to do quite frequently. I had no issues with it at first. But then one day, the game stopped working. The bane of every gamer’s life, a malfunction that seems to have no earthly explanation. After searching forums and trying every possible fix imaginable without success, I finally contacted support.

Initially, they seemed helpful. Asked me to provide a whole bunch of detailed information, which I did. Then swiftly told me they couldn’t help and I needed to follow up with the game developer. I attempted this. But when I could not even get a response from the developer, I got back in touch with the store and asked for a refund. And they refused.

They proceeded to blame me, the developer, and even Microsoft. But nowhere in the course of their blame throwing did they offer any possible reason that any of these other entities were at fault. It was simply them arguing it wasn’t their fault, therefore they had every right to keep my money in line with their “policy.”

Attempting to stay objective, I did some research. And discovered something interesting. The law requires a refund to be granted when requested if a product does not work. This law applies to toasters, cars, televisions, and yes, games. I informed them that if they did not provide me a refund as requested, I would report them. They still refused. So, I did what was necessary.

I do not have an outcome as yet, the matter is still being investigated. But I can’t help comparing this company to other, similar ones, who have been nothing but helpful in the past. I will name Steam, as I have nothing but praise for them. Sure, they might not be able to assist with all technical issues as some things are the domain of game developers. But I’ve only ever found myself needing to ask Steam for a refund once, which they immediately granted. Similar situation to this one, a game didn’t work and nobody could seem to work out why.

Back to my headline. Support is crucial in online business. It doesn’t matter how nice you seem to be in emails, if you aren’t providing genuine help, there is no point. I found myself becoming angry at this other business for their “niceness” in emails when they were basically telling me to go away and they were keeping my money and it was just too bad. Fake courtesy is worse than overt rudeness. And nowhere is this truer than in the online world where text-based communication is the norm.

If you run your business online, you need to make damn sure you have a strong, dedicated support team. You need to ensure your policies are designed to help your customers. If you fail in these areas, it doesn’t matter what exclusives you can offer, how flashy your product is, or how fancy your website, you will lose business.

I’m a massive gamer. I’ve purchased one game through this company and will never use them again. Compared to my Steam library which has almost 200 games and continues to grow. Why? Because Steam cares. Their support is real. And that’s why they will be getting more of my money in future, not this other company.

Hitman 1 & 2: Game Reviews

Here I am again with another old school game review. Given we have Hitman 3 to look forward to on 20 January, it felt appropriate to revisit where IO Interactive’s World of Assassination series started. But before I do that, a very brief history of the Hitman game series…

We first met the now iconic Agent 47 way back in 2000, and since then, he has appeared in ten games and two films. The Hitman games have tended to vary over the years, depending on the developers and publishers handling the title. As is typical of most game series’, graphics and richness of storytelling have only grown stronger with each new release. But one element has remained key: stealth.

Square Enix and IO Interactive gave us Hitman in 2016, the first in what was to become the World of Assassination trilogy. Followed by Hitman 2 in 2018, the third entry, Hitman 3 will land in January 2021 and complete the series. The series follows Agent 47 around the globe, doing what he does best. Underlying each assassination is a story, spanning the entire three games, slowly revealing more and more to us about the mysterious hired killer. Fret not, as always, you will find no spoilers here…

Hitman 1 and 2 took the basis of the Hitman idea and turned it into a deep, layered, tactical stealth adventure. With varied targets, stunning maps and almost limitless strategies to explore, these games will assure you hours and hours of entertainment. No two missions feel alike, with developers really going the extra mile to make each one visually and emotively unique.

The controls are simple and logical (reminder that I’m a PC gamer, who uses a laptop for everything; so, if you are using a console, they’ll likely be even easier). The game also has this masterful way of guiding you, whilst also encouraging you to experiment and explore without assistance, via an in-game challenge system, rewarding you for successfully completing certain actions and tasks.

Throw in some tongue in cheek black humour, loathsome targets that are a joy to dispatch, and fun Easter Eggs to unlock, and you’re in for one hell of a good time. Another gem of these games is the escalations, which will have you needing to rethink your entire practiced strategy by pitting you against new targets on the map, and adding special restrictions to give you even more of a challenge.

I cannot recommend Hitman 1 & 2 highly enough. These games have truly set the standard for what stealth gaming should be. Strategic, clever, and never boring. If you haven’t played them yet, do yourself a favour and check them out. You will be glad you did.

Cyberpunk 2077: How Did It All Go So Wrong?

For those of you familiar with my work over at fovmag.com, you will know we have been covering the whole Cyberpunk drama pretty closely. In short, this massively hyped game saw a disastrous release, filled with bugs and seeing a slew of complaints and refund demands. The latest news is that the developers behind Cyberpunk, CD Projekt, are now being sued by investors over the whole mess.

But why? What happened? How did a game almost ten years in the making end up being released with so many errors? The answer may shock you, even though it really shouldn’t. Because the answer is the same answer to many of life’s questions where drama and rage ends up being involved. That answer, is money.

See, when developers are making games, they need to stick to certain deadlines to stay within their budget. Now, do not be under any illusions here. Cyberpunk had a massive budget to play with. But the fact that it took almost ten years to see a release, meant that this huge amount of funding would be needed.

Games are tested vigorously before being made live for the fans. So, that fact that Cyberpunk was released with so many bugs still present means either one of two things. That it wasn’t sufficiently tested and CD Projekt was not aware of the issues. Or that developers chose to release it knowing the bugs were present.

Neither of these scenarios paints the developers in a positive light. But further testing, or taking time to correct the problems, would have cost more money. And it may have been money they simply did not have. Ultimately, they chose to hedge their bets and push the game live as it was. With unfortunately disastrous results.

Some gaming developers may choose to release a game before it is ready, therefore making the game playing public beta testers. They report issues as they arise, the developers fix them, and they have still met their release date and are raking in funds from sales. Is this dishonest? Or just a clever business strategy? I guess we’ll find out once the current pending lawsuit against CD Projekt is settled.

Either way, it is pretty clear from what’s happened that Cyberpunk 2077 was pushed live before it was ready, for reasons only known to the developers at this time. Hopefully there’s a lesson here, for them and for other game developers. Don’t rush. Take your time. Because short term savings can lead to long term implications; lack of trust from gamers, disappointed investors, and huge costs in repairing a live game.

QTEs: Friend or Foe?

I had truthfully given very little thought to quick-time events (QTEs for short) in games. But then I started to uncover the massive controversy surrounding them. Turns out most gamers absolutely loathe QTEs…

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, a QTE is a cross-between a video cut-scene and actual game play. Gamers need to hit specific buttons at just the right time to survive or otherwise succeed. My experience with QTEs has mostly been from the Tomb Raider series, a couple of the Assassin’s Creed games, Mass Effect and Resident Evil 4. So, I’ll be the first to say, I’m not exactly an expert.

On a personal note, I find QTEs an odd mixture of fun and irritating. On the one hand, they advance the story just as well as a cut-scene would, and if it were a cut-scene, I’d get to kick back with my glass of wine and have a breather before getting back into the action. True, some QTEs do offer you the option of choice which can lead the story down a different path. But with the Tomb Raider QTEs I’ve experienced, it’s a case of either doing it “correctly,” in other words, the developers’ way, or not progressing.

The flip side of this is that it adds a level of diversity and interest to game play. Sure, they could have just made a cut-scene, but the addition of the QTE gives us another playstyle within a very different game. It keeps the action going, keeps you invested and provides a sense that you still have some level of control.

Do I think QTEs are necessary? Definitely not. But I also don’t think they quite deserve the level of hate they seem to receive. They can absolutely be frustrating when you have previously had total freedom of movement over a character and are now reduced to only being able to hit certain commands at certain times. But they do have their place within gaming.

QTEs, friend or foe? I will leave that decision to you.

Murdered Soul Suspect: A Game Review

Here I am with yes, another game review. Now there are few games that open with your playable character being murdered. I can feel the spoiler rage from here since you guys come here knowing I don’t do spoilers. Ok, so technically yes, that is a spoiler, but considering it’s one of the first thing that happens in the game, I’m calling it as not counting as one. My blog, my rules, and insert smug smirk here. If the title of the game wasn’t enough to clue you in to the plot, then there you have it. Airtight Games and Square Enix have taken the murder mystery game concept to a whole new level by having players solve their own murder with Murdered Soul Suspect.

You play as recently deceased Detective Ronan O’Connor who, in addition to wanting to continue his investigation into a particularly nasty serial killer called The Bell Killer, is also coming to terms with his new existence as a ghost. Salem, Massachusetts is the setting for the story, which is a stroke of genius on the writer’s part. In addition to the things you will learn about your character, the killer, and the other supporting NPCs, you’ll also uncover rich history about the town. This makes for an intricate and in-depth interplay of stories and information which deepen the overall story and add to the incredibly atmospheric tone of the game.

The gameplay itself is stealth and investigation based. If you are after fast-paced action, then this is not the one for you. But if you are a fan of the detective genre, love finding clues and piecing them together to solve thrilling mysteries, then you will love Murdered Soul Suspect. There are moments where the game feels “actiony,” but they are few and far between. It does have plenty of delicious plot twists, and I doubt many people would see them coming. All those little twists and turns along the way genuinely surprised me, and that ending, wow. Ok breathe. I am not going to tell you how it ends.

What I will tell you about the ending, indeed the ONLY thing I will tell you if this. If you are a completionist who loves solving all the puzzles, challenges, finishing all the collect quests and uncovering all those hidden secrets (of which this game has plenty) then listen up. Make sure you get all this done before you zone into the final scene of the game. You will get a warning that pops up letting you know that you cannot get back to the main game, and they aren’t kidding. Unlike many other games, you can’t free roam after the credits roll to finish off all those little side quests and nab your achievements. Once you finish, you finish. And the only way to quell the disquiet in your little 100% completionist heart, is to replay the game from the start.

The concept of this game is relatively simple, but through masterful storytelling and beautiful artwork, you will be treated to a richly immersive gaming experience that stirs up some pretty deep emotions. The more you learn about your character and events surrounding him and the investigation, the more you will feel. The gradual, slow reveal of backward character development is done brilliantly here.

The controls are nice and straight forward (handy reminder here that I am a PC gamer, which means they are likely even more user-friendly on your consoles). Puzzles are logical but also really make you think hard, giving your cranium a lovely workout while you play. Any fans of mystery and detective genre games who love a great story should check out Murdered Soul Suspect by Airtight Games and Square Enix. It really is wonderfully put together and will be a gaming experience you are sure to enjoy.

Batman Arkham Knight: A Game Review

Be honest. You all saw this review coming, didn’t you? I’d be very surprised if you didn’t, considering my three previous entries on Rocksteady’s Arkham series. This post will officially bring us up to date and to the end of this saga. Well, for now anyway. Of course I am aware of the rumours that a fifth Arkham game is in the works, just as I am aware of them having recently been upgraded from “rumour” status to “likely in development already” status. But as has become typical with me on here, I digress…

Batman: Arkham Knight was perhaps the most highly anticipated game of the Arkham series. By the time it was announced, the series had well and truly established itself as a fan favourite, an offering of games that stayed true to the comic origins of the source material, had incredible stories and were incredibly fun to play. Rocksteady released little teasers of info and hints of what we could expect leading up to the release, sending Batfans like myself into an absolute frenzy of excitement.

By the time it finally dropped, fans had a pretty fair idea of what to expect, but there were still a few mind-blowing surprises thrown in. We knew we were going to get to finally drive the legendary Batmobile, but none of us ever could have imagined just how heavily the versatile combat tank of a vehicle would feature within the game’s story and associated side challenges. Some complained that there was too much Batmobile. I respectfully and whole heartedly disagree. We’d been waiting three games to drive our dream car, and Arkham Knight made sure that it was worth the wait. And oh my god driving the Batmobile and enjoying full-on combat with it is so much fun. I can’t imagine anyone getting tired of it.

The game itself is huge. And I’m not just talking about the massive download size. The story is enormous that surpasses all expectation and will leave you with feels that stay with you long after you’ve finished playing. For those who’ve not played it, you’ll find no spoilers here. Regular readers of my blog know that I don’t do spoilers. Ever. But if you’re keen to find out what happens without playing it through (note I don’t recommend this), you can no doubt find it online.

No review of this game would be complete without commenting on the graphics. This game, by far, contains the most impressive and beautiful graphics I have ever seen. The level of detail is beyond remarkable, taking an already immersive gaming experience and pulling you in even deeper. Gotham City is perfectly reconstructed here, with views for miles in all directions and doesn’t skip a beat with even the tiniest features and minute details.

The rogue’s gallery in this one is so delightfully unexpected. You’ll never know who’s going to pop up next and that makes for a wildly fun and unpredictable story. I can’t say much more without risking spoilers, so I won’t. All I will say is enjoy the twists and turns of a plot that will keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat from the moment you start until the staggering finale.

The combat is amazing, taking the concept of freeflow from the previous instalments and kicking it up to the next level, by increasing enemy complexity and really putting your skills to the test. Gadgets, there’s plenty. Because let’s be real. It wouldn’t be a Batman game without gadgets. All your favourites are here, plus some new ones thrown in aiding you in adapting your strategies and giving you a whole new way of taking down the bad guys. There feels like less emphasis on detective mode with this one. Don’t get the wrong idea, it’s still very much there and critical for completing the story and side missions. But it has become more a part of Batman’s repertoire, rather than feeling like his only edge outside direct combat. I like this subtle shift, as it feels… more like Batman from the comics.

Every Batman fan needs to play this game. While I’ve recommended all games in the Arkham series so far, this one is an absolute must-play. It’s got everything we know and love about our beloved Dark Knight and his enormous universe, and more.

Batman Arkham Origins: A Game Review

Next up in my little game review series, the third instalment in Rocksteady’s Arkham franchise, Batman Arkham Origins. Before I start, lets just get the elephant in the room out of the way. Yes, this is the least popular of the four games released to date. Yes, it is my least favourite too. But the Arkham games are kind of like pizza. There are no bad ones. So even though this game may get the lowest reviews and least number of replays among fans, its still a brilliant game.

This one is prequel, set before the events of the two previous instalments. Way before. We meet a younger, less experienced Batman, who has already thoroughly annoyed the Gotham City Police Department and made sufficient waves among the local criminal community to end up with a hefty price on his head. And soooo many villains, super and otherwise are incredibly keen to collect.

The gameplay is similar, along with the familiar notion of main story mode as well as side quests to work through. This one will keep you busy for a while. The map comprises all of Gotham City (well, almost), which of course necessitated the first fast travel option in the Arkham game series. Alas, fans were not gifted with Bruce’s sexy Batmobile. But we did get the Batwing. Sadly, no, we don’t actually get to “fly” it. It acts more like a transporter for moving between two map sections. Not quite what we were screaming for when it leaked that the map would be enormous, but the Batwing does let you get around quite swiftly and avoids having to run and glide everywhere. This was fun in Arkham City, but truthfully, would have become tedious on a map the size of Origins.

I feel like I’ve given you too much bad news so far which I’ve of course tried to sugar coat because I do love this game. Origins has a darker and grittier feel to it than the previous two games. Batman is still very much finding his feet as the hero Gotham needs and there are some really tough boss fights to contend with, making it feel challenging and rewarding. Fret not though fellow Batfans. Our beloved Bruce is still awesome as hell when he dons that cape and cowl.

Gadgets of course are a necessity for our Caped Crusader and this game introduces something we’ve not seen before; shock gloves. I’ll spare you the spoiler details but trust me when I say, they come in very handy.

General gameplay and fighting aside, Origins has a really good story to it. We get to meet characters as their younger selves, gaining more insight into who they are and how they evolved into what they eventually became. I loved this element of the game, along with the rare moments of vulnerability shown by Bruce, particularly in several very touching scenes with Alfred. Yes folks, our favourite butler actually makes an appearance in this game.

Overall Origins is a solid game that broke slightly away from the traditional Arkham formula to give us something fresh by delving into the past. And I for one, am glad they did. The story is great, the combat is fun and the villains are awesomely evil and challenging. If you’re a Batfan like me, give this one a go.

Why Gaming is Good for You

So, after reading that title, half of you are probably already either thinking “hell yes, it is!” while the other half are shaking your heads, thinking I’m being all biased again. To all of you, I say, just wait and read my argument before either agreeing or disagreeing with my claim.

Gaming takes various forms, and, in this instance, I am referring specifically to computer or console games. You know, those things that your parents never wanted you to play so much. As our population ages, avid gamers like myself are well into our thirties, some even forties or fifties and many have children of their own. I wonder, how many of are doomed to repeat the mistakes of your parents and insist that gaming is not how your children should be spending their time? And how many are enjoying that sweet feeling of finally being the grown-up and allowing your kids to game as much as they want? If I put much stock in anonymous self-reports, I’d post a poll. But I don’t, so I won’t.

Here’s the thing. Whichever side you come down on, the fact is that the engagement of our brains and fine motor skills in gaming is so unbelievably good for the body and mind. Now, let me get this out of the way first. Kids, and adults, need to physically exercise. Your gaming time should not be interfering with a healthy lifestyle of daily exercise, plenty of sleep and eating healthy, nutritious foods. I am not advocating for an unhealthy, couch-potato lifestyle, where your fingers on the laptop or controller are the only things getting a physical workout. Ok, got it? Right, moving on.

Gaming compared with watching television is a far superior way of spending your time. Watching TV just doesn’t engage your mind or concentration the way gaming does. When gaming you are in control of the action, thinking, planning, making decisions, learning, problem solving, troubleshooting, all while becoming immersed in a fully interactive story. This requires your brain to work incredibly hard, which is fabulous exercise for your glorious grey matter.

Something most people don’t consider when gaming until their hands and fingers start to hurt from a super long session, is how it works out your fine motor skills. Sure, some pure button mashing games are the exception, but most games today require you to think, press certain buttons and often within a very short time frame. You find if you play a game long enough and often enough, this reaction almost becomes a reflex. That’s your motor skills getting sharper.

Truthfully, I could write an entire essay on this topic and I’m fairly certain others have. But if you’ll all excuse me, I have some gaming to get back to…

Batman Arkham City – A Game Review

Yes folks, another game review. And yes, another article about Batman. Well, you did all get pre-warning on the title page of my blog that this is basically the inside of my head, so what can I say? The inside of my head has a lot of games in it, and Batman is pretty much a permanent fixture in there. Which is probably one of the many reasons I’m such a happy person! Anyway, I digress…

Batman Arkham City is the next instalment in Rocksteady’s Arkham series, picking up several months after the first game. Now, you all know I don’t do spoilers, so filling you in on the basic plot without spoiling the first game will be moderately challenging. Lucky for you all, I love a challenge.

Arkham City takes place within an enormous fenced off section of Gotham. Imagine all of Gotham’s unsavoury types, including some very famous faces from Batman’s infamous rogue’s gallery, all locked in, enjoying their turf wars, ruling the streets and doing what they do best. Now imagine a lunatic politician is in charge of it all, being aided and advised by a mad scientist. Add some innocent civilians for good measure and you have the perfect storm of chaos and violence that can only be a job for Batman.

City is a much larger game than Arkham Asylum, covering a far greater area and telling a much longer story. Expect your playthrough of the main story to take roughly two to three times as long as Asylum. And notice I said “main story”? That’s because in addition to the core tale of the game, City introduces side missions, offering you the opportunity to interact with even more characters and villains and immerse yourself even more fully into being Batman.

Combat is very similar to the first game, with added tweaks that make your freeflow fighting even more fluid. There are more gadgets for you to enjoy and detective mode has seen a slight revamp. No, there is no batmobile in this game, sorry. But getting around the map is no problem. It may be large, but you never feel like you are aimlessly or endlessly heading towards your goal. Traversing the skyline is a breeze with added gadgets like the grapnel boost, which send you gliding through the air at speed, practically flying.

There is a lot to love in this game. Personally, my favourite feature that had me literally squeal with excitement is Catwoman being a playable character. Anyone that knows me knows I love her just as much as I adore Batman. And yes, I ship them. Hard. While Selina’s story is relatively minor compared to Batman’s, its fun and she is thoroughly enjoyable to play. I actually prefer her combat style to his. It’s more graceful and elegant and feels almost effortless. I’d love to see her get her own standalone Arkham game, with a cameo from Bruce, of course.

Arkham City is a worthy sequel to Asylum, and in many ways, a superior game. The graphics are slightly better and it takes the concept of Asylum, gloriously expanding on it to give us more to do, more to see and more to experience and enjoy. If you liked Asylum, you’ll love City.

Left 4 Dead 2 – A Game Review

To those who’ve read my last blog post, this next review should come as no surprise to you. Valve’s Left 4 Dead 2, the very worthy sequel to its 2008 zombie shooter, which was released in 2009. Such was the success of both games, fans have been screaming for a third instalment for ages, which sadly, seems not to be. But as long as we still have these two amazing games to enjoy, let’s rejoice in them!

Left 4 Dead 2 follows the same basic gameplay mechanics as the first game. You have four playable, human characters, The Survivors, and you need to fight your way across a map from safe room to safe room and ultimately to safety. The sequel introduces us to four new characters, with our old favourites from the original appearing in a special campaign, which ties the stories of the two games together.

But enough about the similarities, let’s talk about what’s different. Firstly, the weapons. Not only do firearms get a major upgrade in this game, with a pimped Sniper rifle (my personal favourite), AK47 and two versions of combat shotgun, Left 4 Dead 2 introduces us to melee weapons. Golf clubs, cricket bats, police batons, katanas, baseball bats (again, my personal favourite) and even frying pans and guitars can be used to beat zombies into oblivion as you fight your way through hordes. The ultimate melee weapon, the chainsaw, is a glorious piece of destruction, cutting through the undead like a knife through hot butter. The only drawback to the chainsaw is that it is dependent on fuel, which cannot be replenished via drops, unless you find a whole new chainsaw. The fuel may be limited, but the fun, is priceless.

Left 4 Dead 2 brought us Uncommon Infected, kind of an in-between of Common and Specials. These guys generally behave like Common but have certain attributes that will cause you to need to rethink your strategy. Just a few examples; armoured zombies need to be shot in the back, hazmat wearing undead are immune to fire and Fallen Survivor zombies (who can drop loot, yay!), will run away from you if you attack them.

The next big difference is the new Special Infected you’ll meet. And by meet, I mean run from, shoot and scream at they make every attempt they can to ruin your day. All the original Specials from the first game are back with a vengeance, albeit, slightly changed graphic-wise to indicate how they’ve further mutated since the events of the first game. All their abilities and therefore, tactics you’ll need to defeat them, remain identical, however.

The first new Special is the Jockey. Almost resembling a miniature tank, this tiny pest will giggle and shake as it runs around, before leaping onto a Survivor’s head and literally riding them, like a jockey. Not only does this alone cause damage to Survivors, and not only does its maniacal laughter in your ear the whole time its riding you drive you insane, the Jockey will make very attempt it can to steer you into further danger. Fire, cliffs, pools of acid (which we’ll get to next), and of course, more zombies and Specials. Just like the Hunter and Smoker we remember from the original Left 4 Dead, once he has you, you cannot break free and need to be saved. Best to try and shoot him before he jumps onto someone, but failing that, get him off your teammate quick with gunfire, your melee weapon or a punch.

Next up is the Spitter. A lovely lady (possibly before she became infected anyway), tall and slender, with a protruding belly and bright green, acidic spit dropping from her mouth and neck. And, yep, you guessed it, she spits this acid. Mercifully not into anyone’s faces, rather, on the ground. This pool will grow and spread, and the longer you stand in it, the more it hurts. Best to take her down before she spits, but if she’s too quick for you, get the hell outta that spit pile and fast. Oh and, she collapses into a second pile of spit when she dies, so careful, yeah?

The Charger, is a hulking, noisy monster, although smaller than the tank, with one enormous arm. His other arm is so small and shrivelled, its almost laughable. But one he charges and grabs you, you cannot break free and a teammate will need to come to your rescue. Most of the time you can sidestep him, because once he starts charging, he cannot stop until he hits something and cannot change direction. But if he catches you even on his periphery, he will send you flying, allowing him to do far more damage to your teammate while you recover.

Last, but by no means least, The Wandering Witch. Yeah, remember the Witch from the first Left 4 Dead? She’s back and she’s brought friends. Versions of her that don’t just sit still and offer you the chance to crown them, or avoid them. No… witches that walk around. The good news? They’re slow until aggroed, so in some ways they are easier to avoid than the static Witch. And you can technically shoot them a couple of times before they will aggro, they aren’t as temperamental as their stationery sister. The bad news? They still do the same damage the original Witch does and have the same hit points when triggered, so, best to avoid. And, they cannot be crowned with a shotgun.

The Director-controlled gameplay is the same as the first game, and the maps are fun and inventive. It’s still all about teamwork, and yes, as with the first game, The Director will absolutely punish you if you break the rules. My personal favourite map is Dark Carnival, which feels like a more expanded version of those final scenes from Zombieland, only, even more fun if you can believe it. Overall, Left 4 Dead 2 is a strong sequel and fabulous game in its own right. It took the Left 4 Dead concept and improved upon it, without losing any of the uniqueness that makes these games far more than just zombie first person shooters. Highly recommended.