Any time anyone mentions the word Zombie in a video game I automatically scream like a giddy school girl, so is it any surprise that I am forewarning you readers that my Left for Dead (or L4D cause its shorter to write) mayyy be a tad bit biased? Ever since that fine day in 2007 that this game was announced for the PC I have been clamoring to Pub listeners about this brain eating title. With feverous anticipation I was hungering for this game like and undead soldier seeing Sooches juicy ass for the first time, it was time. So when this game finally arrived into my lap I ripped into the packaging, and with a forceful thrust inserted my Disk into my 360, but what awaited me once I entered into the world of the undead?????
There is no denying that, from the outset this game is ALL about the multi-player, from the menus, to the games itself, L$D tells you who on your friends list is playing the game (Right on the main screen), so before you even have time to decide what mode to play you are seeking out any friends to help you survive the madness that is to come. I wont spend much time going over single player, as the single player game is exactly like the multiplayer game, except with AI bots as your companions and not so much fun factor. The AI in no shape or form is shabby, your AI counterparts are very competent and do a great job to look out for you while you are facing hordes of flesh eaters, but its just not the same experience that comes with your friends into the fray. So you got single player down? Good, onto the real meat and bones and blood and guts of the game.
L4D is divided into four stories, cleverly inserted as movie with its own cool looking movie poster while the screen loads, that is then divided into 5 chapters per movie.
What is amazing to me is how truly expansive the replay value is in this game, while only 5 movies that take about an hour or so to complete seem short for a full price game. The fact that the game really does an excellent job of randomizing your experience every time insures you will be yearning to come back for more. Walk into a room and there may be only four or five Zombies, but the next play through you may find up to twenty or thirty Zombies in the same room. This really forces you and your teammates to stick together and rely on one another. I have never played a game that forces people to be so unselfish and actually reward’s each player for excellent teamwork. During my many, many grinds through L4D I have often not made it out of a sticky situation, but that is purely do to either holding back a hoard of Zombies so my friends could escape, or going back to rescue on of my fallen comrades, and while I lay there, my flesh being torn apart I see my friends riding off to safety I often feel like I still one, the team made it, even if I had to sacrifice myself. I can’t say I have ever played a game that has brought these emotions out. If you are a gung –ho Joe that jumps into every fray DO not expect to last long. It is imperative that you “Talk” and communicate with your squad mates. “Who has a medi-pack?” “How much ammo do you have?” “Who has a Pipe Bomb?” and “Arrr Help me, help me!” are phrases you will be both saying and hearing A LOT!
The game itself is graphically good looking, while no Gears I never once found any texture pop up and man, is this game smooth and fast. If you are familiar with any of Valve’s control styles, Counter Strike, Half-Life, you will feel right at home. The weapon selection is reality base, and while there are only about 10 weapons to choose from, this never becomes an issue, each weapon reacts and controls how it should, also it does not effect how you play the game with your friends either. I was never forced to take a shotgun because all my teammates had an Uzi, if you all want to go Ash style with your Boom Sticks feel free.
Zombies, Zombie they all look the same, except in L4D which does a good job of introducing a couple of new Zombie classes that add a great game play twist to the game
Here is the breakdown of the newbie’s.
The Boomer – Huge and obese infected that vomits like a fire hose. Can be shot while strafing. When it hits a survivor with its vomit, the vomit acts as a pheromone to the AI controlled normal infected and causes them to focus their attack on that player. The Boomer gets points for all attacks against the target by infected. Moves slowly. Also, when killed, the Boomer does as his name says and explodes, causing all nearby Survivors to become puked on.
The Hunter – The most agile boss infected, able to climb walls and jump far. Attacks by knocking down a survivor and slashing. The only way for the survivor to escape is either by a teammate helping (killing the Hunter) or the Hunter deciding to retreat. Similar to the fast zombies from HL2 Ravenholm rooftops. Wall jumping is possible.
Left 4 Dead Tank Infected The Smoker – The Smoker has a 40-50ft tongue that can be used to drag/trip players and even choke them from above. Survivors are able to shoot this tongue off to protect one another. When the Smoker dies, it deploys smoke which severely reduces the visibility of the survivors, thereby hindering their ability to see enemies and survive.
The Tank – A huge, muscular infected with amazing strength. Can pick up and throw cars and other large environmental items, smash through concrete walls. Players cannot choose to be the Tank; infected players are randomly chosen to spawn as one. Very loud. When you spawn as the Tank, a frustration meter begins building up for every moment you’re not in the presence of Survivors. If this meter fills all the way up, you lose control of the Tank.
The Witch – These are non-playable AI super-boss infected. They are very rare, only one or two in each campaign. They are the most dangerous enemy in the game. Witches become hostile when you shoot them, shine light at them, or fire weapons around them. They kill with one hit. After killing their prey, they run away.
All deadly and all the more fun!
It took me a long time to get into and play L4D’s death match style, I just wasn’t interested in the traditionall tag your dead modes that are fashioned in ALL multiplayer death match style modes. What I found was what may be one of the most fun party modes in a long time. The death match style works and plays exactly like the co-op mode but this time teams take turns 4 as humans 4 as re-spawning zombies, (The 4 badass types) each taking turns as one team tries to survive to the safe house, while the other tries to stop them, all while still having to contest with the AI enemies running around.
The levels are randomized so as to stop any team from having the map edge.
I took me a while to write this review, as I wanted to really spend a good amount of time to truly give you a full, in depth, review. After killing undead after undead I can truly say. I WANT MORE!!!!! This game has potential to be Game of the year. for 2009! If and, I say if Valve does what it usually does and provides up with more movies in which to play. If a recent comment by Valve’s Michael Booth in an interview with Firingsquad.com he stated:
“We already have ideas for additional missions, features, and content that we hope to ship in future releases/updates to Left 4 Dead. In addition, an L4D-specific update will be made to the Source SDK so members of the community can make their own missions, characters, and L4D MOD content.” MOD content MOD content MOD content MOD content MOD content MOD content Ahhhhhhhh I want my Army of Darkness MOD NOW!!!!!!!!
So is it any surprise that The Gamers Pub awards Left 4 Dead with a Game rating of……