Equal and Opposite Reactions

Equal and Opposite Reactions

Adam LaMosca wants virtual worlds that push back, and Left 4 Dead just doesn't do it.

Permalink

I havent played L4D yet (& probably wont). But from what ive read on the forums here I sense that soon a deluge of L4D fanboidom will decend into this thread. Gentlemen, don your flamesuits; because a news contributor didnt find a popular game fun :-D

That said. I too didnt find TF2 much fun. Once the kewl cartoon style got old, I really didnt find much left to enjoy about it. That & I suck at it :). Portal was great though, not least because of the noval ways it made you interact with the environment (& how the environment interacted with you)

Now that you mentioned it though, I can see where you're coming from, but I will have to disagree.

I have logged 65 hours into Left 4 Dead since it first came out. In all of my time playing, I never felt like a spectator, or floating camera with a gun. You get trampled by the horde, or pounced on by a hunter, and the camera pulls back to a third person.

Foliage that bends out of your way like in Crysis or Far Cry 2 doesn't exist in Left 4 Dead. But I can't see that I miss then. While adding to immersion, those things add to CPU and graphics stress, and online shooters are all about gameplay and performance first.

I must admit not to having played L4D yet either but i've been following the trend and trailers etc. and i think its down to the source engine environmental effects. It's a great engine and i love it to death. You can just pause and look around and the first time you see a stalker come at you with the sun at it's back is a hard thing to forget. BUT... i don't know sometimes them effects seem to vanish and you left feeling that the world is a little odd it's like having a perfect painting but the subjects look dead, there is no breath of life.

In Gears it's always breathing and hard. The environments engulf you and swallow you up. Like even in the original gears - the downpour chapter. You feel like you don't want to be in that rain as it pounds across the tin roofs.

It's like comparing Square cinematics to Blizzards both are stunning but hell blizzard can give you goosebumps.

I'm sure the L4D will shine and the gameplay looks good but i'm not sure it will draw you in.

It mostly sounds like you don't much like FPV games. Like you need to regularly see your character to feel truly immersed in the world. It kind of makes me curious what you think of Mirror's Edge.

I would not characterize this as a flame, but maybe a critical comment. If you don't like TF2 or L4D because of comparisons to Crysis or Gears of War, maybe it's because you're comparing grapefruits to apples and being surprised that they taste different. The audience of Valve's games (to include Day of Defeat) is composed of people who want to log on to a simple yet entertaining shooter, play with their friends on a team v. team basis, and be able to keep it as short or as long as they want. Jump in, jump out, no worries about the game crashing or continuity of the story plot, etc etc. Some times you just want to shoot bad guys and win with other human players on your side.

I've just started playing L4D, long-time TF2 player, and I never get bored. It's a very stimulating game, and without a "track" by which to guide the players to an end-point within a relatively short period of time, it would lose its value to the audience mentioned above. The graphics are crisp, the use of small arms is accurate, the ability to use molotovs and pipe bombs is a neat addition (I miss the grenades that used to be in original TF), and the AI is pretty good. The only gripe I have is that there isn't enough servers to get on the zombie player teams.

I can't say that I was real broken up about Epic's decision to not release GoW2 for the PC. I'd played GoW, and enjoyed it. However, the multiplayer, as addictive as it was, was fatally flawed for me, the PC player, namely the unbalanced implementation of the Sniper rifle (and my getting owned, constantly headshot, by Xbox fanboi who'd already had a year to practice :P ).

Reading your article, I do realize now that some of that was sour grapes talking. I DID enjoy GoW despite my gripes about it, and you made me remember the cover system it employed, which is, for me, the best part of the game. You do feel like the environment is more real, banging into it with a teeth-rattling jar; hell, even the audio for the armor, the clanking, rattling, and slamming noises sounded more realistic.

I agree that games like TF2 need more of this "realism", and so does Crysis and Far Cry. I still haven't checked out Left4Dead, though - too busy playing the hell out of Fallout 3.

If you didn't think TF2 or L4D was fun then you are not playing it right. GoW was always over the top and completely unbelievable. You are comparing team based to single player. I believe the real problem is that you have no friends.

Well I agree, it's hard to feel hapless when you're toting shotguns and assault rifles but, I don't think Valve intended for it to be a Silent Hill-esque type of survival horror. It's merely a fun, simple shooter in which you can mow down thousands of people and not feel guilty :P
In my opinion, game play and immersion are top notch.

My only gripe is that you can sort of...walk through your team mates like they're not even there. Although it does help when you're in a tight spot.

Left4Dead is meant to be fast paced, you don't need the toilets to flush because you don't have the time to do a crap unless it's in your pants.
There is a movie like theme to Left4Dead too which might contribute to what you experienced.

They could have done a little more to immerse the player, like shimmying across ledges, along walls or across pipes. Make the alarmed cars standout a little less from the rest of the environment. Something more then switching levers and climbing things.
Maybe they'll release all that in new levels in a patch later on, after people have gotten a grip on the gameplay.

What they did include is that everything can be moved, manipulated or hidden behind without distracting you from what you're meant to be doing...running for your life, not stopping to smell the roses.

thisbymaster:
If you didn't think TF2 or L4D was fun then you are not playing it right. GoW was always over the top and completely unbelievable. You are comparing team based to single player. I believe the real problem is that you have no friends.

Please say that is sarcasm or satire...

Varchld:
Left4Dead is meant to be fast paced, you don't need the toilets to flush because you don't have the time to do a crap unless it's in your pants.
There is a movie like theme to Left4Dead too which might contribute to what you experienced.
---------------
What they did include is that everything can be moved, manipulated or hidden behind without distracting you from what you're meant to be doing...running for your life, not stopping to smell the roses.

And for the record, I did crap my pants in the hospital scenario, when I turned the corner and this flood of zombies hit me. Fortunately I had an auto shotgun and friends behind me. There's nothing like the last part of the fifth mission of a campaign, when you're waiting for the feds to rescue you and you've faced down the tank at least three times, you're limping, out of aid kits, and you see the zombie swarm coming over the horizon at you. Really, let go and enjoy the game.

I'm a fan of Left 4 Dead, so I may surprise you a bit when I agree with you. The maps in L4D and TF2- and in a lot of ways, HL2 and its episodes- are more designed to be movie sets than tactile locations; while they look great and convey the atmosphere well, there's no real sense of being there, no need to study the environment and identify all its nuances. With L4D, it's because the Infected don't shoot at you, and the maps are basically designed to be obstacle courses; with HL2, it's because combat is pretty straightforward, and Valve's design decision to have the player rely primarily on the gravity gun requires relatively uncomplicated level architecture.

Contrast that with games like Rainbow Six and Gears of War, where simply standing out in the open and shooting is going to get you a severe case of lead poisoning pretty quickly. There, you have to be much more aware of the obstacles around you, and make quick decisions about where to move and what angle of approach is best. There's a more visceral feel to it, as though the game world itself is an opponent actively trying to defeat you.

That's not to say that Left 4 Dead doesn't at least approach the concept. There is a need to keep your head on a swivel at all times, watching for areas from which the Infected can approach, like gated roadways or blind alleys. Closing doors behind you is vital for blocking their progress at least temporarily. Still, I'm rather upset that you can't form makeshift barricades from available objects in order to block likely avenues of attack.

So which approach is better? Neither. It's different styles of gameplay. I liked the cover system of GoW- in fact, it was about the only part of the game I liked, aside from the rain effects- but I simply can't picture Zoey slamming herself against an overturned wreck of a car and blind-firing into a crowd of Infected. Sometimes it's more fun to be a walking bullet-hose and let the action take center stage.

You thought gears of war 2 was immersive enough and Left4Dead, a game based entirely in the NEED for cooperation, was not?

All I can say is: You're doing it wrong.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here