A day among zombies, and beating the crap out of them

It’s zombie apocalypse time again. With the release of Left 4 Dead 2 just around the corner, TVGB braved the the cold London streets last night to attend what promised to be “intensive Left 4 Dead 2 zombie survival training.” Intrigued by what that might entail, and keen to get a headstart for when all the groaning and brain-munching begins, we went to investigate.

Arriving at the venue, the door creaked open to reveal a room jammed with emaciated figures, their pale, gaunt faces turning slowly to greet us. These people were not paid extras, but videogame journalists, their faces painted by obliging make up artists.  Seriously, none of us get out much.

Following the sound of girlish screams emanating from upstairs we discovered the training room, where weedy journo types were taking out a lifetime’s worth of sexual frustration on the assembled zombie horde. Well, we say ‘zombie horde,’ we really just mean these two ugly fellas.

Not the prettiest of chaps, we think you’ll agree. But when you’ve spent an entire evening being bludgeoned with everything from AK47 rifle buts to frying pans you probably wouldn’t look too hot either.

Showing us exactly how it should be done were a couple of shouty military blokes who took great delight in barking instructions at fumbling journos, encouraging them to yelp out their little battle cries as they slapped the zombies around. We snuck away before we had to join in.

Crammed with gamers jumping around for the first time they had to review Wii Fit, the training room was absolutely sweltering. It must have been about 8000 degrees. The bloke with the balaclava, gloves, full combat jacket and vest probably lost 50 lbs. Pro tip: when attending a zombie apocalypse, bring shorts and a t-shirt.

Of course it wasn’t all about geeks taking their nerd rage out on rubber dummies (or pathetically sneaking away like we did), the game was there too. According to the EA rep in attendance this version of L4D2 was a slightly earlier build of The Parish campaign, a more polished portion of which is available right now to those that have pre-ordered the full game. Click here for more details.

We liked what we saw of The Parish, especially the nice little claustrophobic hedge-maze sections and the climatic bridge finale. We still find it a little jarring that it takes place in broad daylight, but know this: nothing can numb the terrifying rush of exhilaration that comes when the horde rushes you from all angles. Now we may not be ready for the real zombie invasion, but we just can’t wait for Left 4 Dead 2’s virtual one.