Gore. Action. Sequels. Lots of solid, inventive games came out this year, but if you were going to narrow your list to the cream of the crop, Face-Off has you covered. Today, it’s Assassin’s Creed II against Left 4 Dead 2. Check back each weekday through Dec. 24 for a new match-up.

In this corner: ‘Assassin’s Creed 2

The original Assassin’s Creed in 2007, set during the Third Crusade in the late 1100s, was addicting. The sequel is life-encompassing. Once again, the main character Desmond in the year 2012 must use a virtual reality machine, called an Animus, to stop a world-domination plot by modern-day Templars. Desmond uses the Animus to view the memories of his assassin ancestor Ezio in the late 1400s, gathering ancient Templar clues and gaining skills he can use in his own time. The vibrant Italian Renaissance cityscape includes a host of new assassination missions (completed third-person sandbox-style, like Grand Theft Auto) and plenty of cutlasses and sabres — some stolen from enemies, some provided by the game’s gadget expert, a young Leonardo DaVinci. As you dodge hunters by bribing informants and tearing down wanted posters, you’ll marvel at how the hours just simply… vanish.

In the other corner: ‘Left 4 Dead 2

You want violence? Get it in oh-so-many-spades with this sequel to last year’s Left 4 Dead. Once again, you and three others have survived a terrifying disease that turned most of the world’s population into zombie-like horrors. You traverse post-apocalyptic wastelands — most of which are on fire — toting guns, chainsaws, and frying pans, facing hordes of disgusting enemies — including one who literally blinds you with vomit. With a new “scavenge” mode option and an improved AI that presents dynamic challenges as you play (rearranging walls, upping enemy count), this L4D iteration is just as engrossing and wonderfully creepy as the original.

And the winner is…

Assassin’s Creed 2. There’s nothing wrong with cooperative zombie slaying, but we’re digging AC2‘s retro (retro, retro, retro…) aesthetic.