Review: Left 4 Dead

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Review: Left 4 Dead

What could possibly be wrong with shooting zombies with a bunch of friends? As it turns out, not much.

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Nice review! And I'm pleased to see it does work on the XBox too! :)

Its grand on the PC!

On a side note, you don't even need a mic most of the time. Good players who actually realise and accept its not Counter-strike/Halo quickly work everything out, quickly get with the program, and work together, even better than in TF2.

Also, its very fun to play the Undead and try and eat those pesky survivors.

I agree with most of your review except for the part about competitiveness although there is a lack of incentives for being the best in your team being known to be good in your l4d community is something that'll attract other players to play with you. A person who friendly fires his team mates to hell for example will definitely not attract people to play expert with him, where about half a shot from a shotgun takes 40+ health.

And as for the darkness of the campaigns i feel that it's to add a certain level of difficulty when encountering the witch, if you dont have your flashlight on you cant see her, if your flashlight is on you're afraid that you might shine it on her and alert her.

but yes i agree that the storytelling was rather poor, however from throughout the campaigns if you read the scribblings on the wall you do get a sense of nostalgia that is the humor from portal.

Lastly of course i'd like to add that valve's use of cinematic effects is really really good. ( If you swing your mouse about you get a cinematic blur ) and if you go to your video options you can actually choose the amount of film grain you see.

P.S You also forgot to mention that zoey > any rl girls cause she's hot and she kicks zombie ass
P.P.S Doug while a mic isnt necessary it really adds to the experience ( nothing liek hearing your teammates screaming )

Good job! You basically summed up every feeling I have about this game, up to the 'recomendation' paragraph.

Well, I think the problem with Story telling in multiplayer is that the elements can get repetitative - after all, you may never have seen cutscene X before, but your team mates may have seen it a thousand million times before and be on the edge of cutting their wrists if they have to sit through it again (ok, maybe not THAT annoying).

nekolux:

P.P.S Doug while a mic isnt necessary it really adds to the experience ( nothing liek hearing your teammates screaming )

Indeed, I wasn't denying that ;) Just meant, if your in a situation where you can't reply use your mic without pissing roommates/flatmates/parents/spouses/etc off, your in an ok situation ;)

Nice review. Want to levy 1 criticism (and it might be coz i missed it...) you only mention playing as the 4 survivors in co-op. The game can really take off for some people when you play 4v4 taking turnabout as survivors and infected to try and beat the other team.
It can also be played single player but really you dont want to be getting the game for that, it'll get old fast.

gmjapan:
Nice review. Want to levy 1 criticism (and it might be coz i missed it...) you only mention playing as the 4 survivors in co-op. The game can really take off for some people when you play 4v4 taking turnabout as survivors and infected to try and beat the other team.
It can also be played single player but really you dont want to be getting the game for that, it'll get old fast.

The video supplement discusses versus mode.

I pre-ordered the game so that I could get the demo early, and I haven't stopped having a blast playing this game since. I honestly think this might be my game of the year.

Slycne:
I pre-ordered the game so that I could get the demo early, and I haven't stopped having a blast playing this game since. I honestly think this might be my game of the year.

That makes 2 of us. Last year I thought no game could ever rise up to Portal's quality level for me. Lo and behold.

And Jordan, kudos, the review itself is amazingly delivered.

Has anyone played the mod Zombie Panic Source? Is there much of a difference between the two games? And I know the Brainbread mod is for HL1, but similar concept?

maddog015:
Has anyone played Zombie Panic Source? Is there much of a difference between the two games?

I have and I'd say yes. Zombie Panic: Source, whilst good, doesn't match the improved gameplay and team-working of L4D - there is a demo if you want to try it.

I must wholeheartedly disagree with you assessment of Left 4 Dead. The title does shame to the Zombie genre. Zombies are used to strike fear into people for a number of their qualities: Slow shambling movements, difficulty to kill (headshot!), ability to eat you alive and turn you into them, their looks, and their massive number.

This game dispenses with normal zombie lore and focuses on numbers. You'll have so many zombies flying at you that gameplay frequently dissolves to "Spray and Pray" mechanics. The lack of a zoom for aiming makes the feeling of trying to score a hit far more sloppy. You can hardly even see the details of the zombies because they fly up to you so fast. It goes from a frightening story to an exercise in frusteration.

I also understand the need to change up gameplay with bosses here and there, but the "super zombies" feel more like mutants than the undead.

And why the hell would you go anywhere during a zombie apocolypse? There could be nothing stupider than trying to face the odds they did in the game, and we're just supposed to believe 'cause they said so.

You want a real team building zombie experience? Try CoD World at War's Nazi Zombies. The game does a lot bad and some of the same zombie problems persist in that same game, but it's far closer in tune with actual zombie canon and test the limits of your coordination with fellow gamers. And at least they have the good sense to stay indoors...

Thanks 4 comments! (To my coworkers - that was the last time. I promise.)

One thing I didn't get to mention was that the Xbox 360 version has dedicated servers this time around. I remember how disappointed I was when The Orange Box came out last year and TF2 was nigh unplayable due to lag. Thankfully Valve seems to have taken a lesson from that debacle, because the matchmaking on the 360 version of L4D is just as seamless (and stable) as it is on Steam. Three cheers for learning from your mistakes!

Guy, people have long realised that classic zombies do not work in video games by virtue of what they are. Hell, in the classic zombie movies, zombies were toyed with by bands of well- armed, organized people (see original Dawn of the Dead). And in most classic zombie movies, HUMANS were still the biggest threat to the protaganists, not the zombies. There were an engine for the worst aspects of human nature to come to the fore, little more.

Mwhahaha. Smallharmlesskitten, you got ooowned!

=P

Rogue 09:

And why the hell would you go anywhere during a zombie apocolypse? There could be nothing stupider than trying to face the odds they did in the game, and we're just supposed to believe 'cause they said so.

If the choice is dying on your feet or cowering in a corner and waiting for help to theoretically arrive, many folks will choose the former. Wading through zombies to reach potential rescue makes perfect sense.

Hehehe, Smallharmlesskitten got eaten alive.

Low Frost:
Guy, people have long realised that classic zombies do not work in video games by virtue of what they are. Hell, in the classic zombie movies, zombies were toyed with by bands of well- armed, organized people (see original Dawn of the Dead). And in most classic zombie movies, HUMANS were still the biggest threat to the protaganists, not the zombies. There were an engine for the worst aspects of human nature to come to the fore, little more.

Good point. Classic Romero style zombies are slow, stupid, and overpower by their sheer numbers and by eventually exhausting the resources of the living. Thinking about it, it sounds like a situation that's tailor made for a strategy game, but the FPS version would wind up being primarily for geriatrics. Which means we can expect it to come out for the Wii first. :)

Kwil:

Low Frost:
Guy, people have long realised that classic zombies do not work in video games by virtue of what they are. Hell, in the classic zombie movies, zombies were toyed with by bands of well- armed, organized people (see original Dawn of the Dead). And in most classic zombie movies, HUMANS were still the biggest threat to the protaganists, not the zombies. There were an engine for the worst aspects of human nature to come to the fore, little more.

Good point. Classic Romero style zombies are slow, stupid, and overpower by their sheer numbers and by eventually exhausting the resources of the living. Thinking about it, it sounds like a situation that's tailor made for a strategy game, but the FPS version would wind up being primarily for geriatrics. Which means we can expect it to come out for the Wii first. :)

I remember once I tried to hash out an idea for an mmo based on Dusk of the Dead. Could work in theory, maybe.

My friend, I must disagree with you. I would claim that Resident Evil 4's antagonists (zombies in form if not in story) were quite compelling. They shambled over to you in groups and if you wern't careful acouple would sneak in behind you and rape you unmerciful.

What made them creepy is not just the sheer numbers or that they were coming at you, but the fact that they moved so damn UNNATURALLY. It was logical to deduce that enemies who were crushed and eaten by a number of zombies, died, and were infected with some neurological ailment wouldn't have the motor skills or coordination to beat every olympic track team ever to compete.

I'm not going to blame you if you have one or two special enemies that come along regularly to shift gameplay in a new direction, but shooting into a crowd running full speed at you gives you no time to really appreciate what you're seeing.

If you had a thousand Jason's running at you across the screen that went down with 2-3 bullets, does it equal the fear and danger that comes across the movie screen? Numbers arn't everything, and it takes a true developer (of a movie OR game) to realize that a single zombie in the right place can be more devastating than a million spread throughout the city.

Also, (to above poster) if you have guns and are in a building (let alone city) crawling with the undead who will ALL focus on tearing you apart in the most painful way possible, are you going to cross 10 city blocks to get to a possible rescue or stare deep into the open end of that shotgun and prepare to meet you sweet and fluffy maker?

"Any game that can get stereotypical Xbox players communicating and collaborating deserves more than just rave reviews - it deserves the Nobel f**king Peace Prize."

Its true. I never thought i'd see xbox players working as a team until left 4 dead. Sure, they still tea bag, but its a start.

Rogue 09:
I must wholeheartedly disagree with you assessment of Left 4 Dead. The title does shame to the Zombie genre. Zombies are used to strike fear into people for a number of their qualities: Slow shambling movements, difficulty to kill (headshot!), ability to eat you alive and turn you into them, their looks, and their massive number.

This game dispenses with normal zombie lore and focuses on numbers. You'll have so many zombies flying at you that gameplay frequently dissolves to "Spray and Pray" mechanics. The lack of a zoom for aiming makes the feeling of trying to score a hit far more sloppy. You can hardly even see the details of the zombies because they fly up to you so fast. It goes from a frightening story to an exercise in frusteration.

I also understand the need to change up gameplay with bosses here and there, but the "super zombies" feel more like mutants than the undead.

And why the hell would you go anywhere during a zombie apocolypse? There could be nothing stupider than trying to face the odds they did in the game, and we're just supposed to believe 'cause they said so.

You want a real team building zombie experience? Try CoD World at War's Nazi Zombies. The game does a lot bad and some of the same zombie problems persist in that same game, but it's far closer in tune with actual zombie canon and test the limits of your coordination with fellow gamers. And at least they have the good sense to stay indoors...

So what do you do when theres a zombie apocalypse? Wait it out in your one bedroom apartment with you ramen noodle soup? Wait for everything to be ok, maybe your mother would come and pick you up in the family minivan. Your an idiot.

Haha, I liked this part;

If you're stuck with a PS3, hop into LittleBigPlanet with three of your friends, throw on some zombie costumes and make the best with what you've got.

Thanks for your concern ;P

I'd get Left 4 Dead for the PC if I could, but lack of a decent computer to run games on I'm screwed unless VALVe decide to port a PS3 version some day.

Mariena:
Mwhahaha. Smallharmlesskitten, you got ooowned!

=P

Limos:
Hehehe, Smallharmlesskitten got eaten alive.

Thanks you two. I killed him a few times as well.

(I only had the game for two days as well)

Rogue 09:

Also, (to above poster) if you have guns and are in a building (let alone city) crawling with the undead who will ALL focus on tearing you apart in the most painful way possible, are you going to cross 10 city blocks to get to a possible rescue or stare deep into the open end of that shotgun and prepare to meet you sweet and fluffy maker?

If I'm going out, I'm going out swinging, mate.

Susan Arendt:

Rogue 09:
WORDDDSSSS!!!

If I'm going out, I'm going out swinging, mate.

What Susan said... I call dibs on the Hunting Rifle

smallharmlesskitten:

Susan Arendt:

Rogue 09:
WORDDDSSSS!!!

If I'm going out, I'm going out swinging, mate.

What Susan said... I call dibs on the Hunting Rifle

Shotgun the witch!
Sorry, I can't afford anything but the demo...*sniffle*

Rogue 09:
I must wholeheartedly disagree with you assessment of Left 4 Dead. The title does shame to the Zombie genre. Zombies are used to strike fear into people for a number of their qualities: Slow shambling movements, difficulty to kill (headshot!), ability to eat you alive and turn you into them, their looks, and their massive number.

This game dispenses with normal zombie lore and focuses on numbers. You'll have so many zombies flying at you that gameplay frequently dissolves to "Spray and Pray" mechanics. The lack of a zoom for aiming makes the feeling of trying to score a hit far more sloppy. You can hardly even see the details of the zombies because they fly up to you so fast. It goes from a frightening story to an exercise in frusteration.

I also understand the need to change up gameplay with bosses here and there, but the "super zombies" feel more like mutants than the undead.

And why the hell would you go anywhere during a zombie apocolypse? There could be nothing stupider than trying to face the odds they did in the game, and we're just supposed to believe 'cause they said so.

You want a real team building zombie experience? Try CoD World at War's Nazi Zombies. The game does a lot bad and some of the same zombie problems persist in that same game, but it's far closer in tune with actual zombie canon and test the limits of your coordination with fellow gamers. And at least they have the good sense to stay indoors...

Well, I can't say I agree with you, but its you opinion. The Left 4 Dead zombies aren't meant to be 'true' zombies - they are infected, not dead.

But to me, the horror of zombies comes from the fact they were human and now are not. They are numerous, and have no sense of self-preservation. They seem to be an endless tide, never ending.

The Left 4 Dead zombies do that for me. They replace high survivibly with high speed, see?

EDIT:
Oh, and staying in one place is an invitation to getting eaten or starved to dead.

Danny Ocean:

smallharmlesskitten:

Susan Arendt:

Rogue 09:
WORDDDSSSS!!!

If I'm going out, I'm going out swinging, mate.

What Susan said... I call dibs on the Hunting Rifle

Shotgun the witch!
Sorry, I can't afford anything but the demo...*sniffle*

You can't play as a Witch

smallharmlesskitten:

Danny Ocean:

smallharmlesskitten:

Susan Arendt:

Rogue 09:
WORDDDSSSS!!!

If I'm going out, I'm going out swinging, mate.

What Susan said... I call dibs on the Hunting Rifle

Shotgun the witch!
Sorry, I can't afford anything but the demo...*sniffle*

You can't play as a Witch

Nope, but the Tank you can, and its FUN! :)

i should at least try the demo... i dont think i can afford the complete version (i dont know if the free demo still out)

This game is awesome. I play this game at my friends dorm whenever freetime arises in college and i just love the feel of it. The story is alittle poor, but besides that, great effects. I feel it is so satisfying to shoot a zombie right in the head to watch it explode. The weapons are pretty nice too, and once you get the assault rifle, life gets easier.

The co-op mode is pretty well done. The fact that you actually have to work together adds a nice touch and it prevents people from doing waht they want as well. The sooner the players work together, the easier it is. Otherwise, your basically screwed as zombies start to swarm in from all directions.

Another effect I like is that on certain modes you can play as the zombies and its just so satifying to be the hunter, smoker, boomer or tank. Heh, just to be able to pounce and mall the player senseless...

But thats my speal.

~DM

broadband:
i should at least try the demo... i dont think i can afford the complete version (i dont know if the free demo still out)

Apparently not

As far as "zombie canon" goes, I've an admittedly small nit to pick. Namely, I'm tired of the "reasonable explanations" for zombies and vampires. I wish Left4Dead had -true- zombies, not "infected". It's like, "oh, no, they can't be undead, that's just too unrealistic!". Puh-leze. "Wait, they're infected instead, yay, that's so much more believable, thus fun!". I disagree. Undead a hell of a lot more fun, and scary, than infected people. For me, at least.

Waiting and hoping for the day when media and games once again feature the real zombies . . .and all the emo anne rice-esque vampires die a quick and horrible death.

I think the writer should check out the in game commentary. Valve mentioned wanting more cinematic stuff but realised it would be annoying to start a level, and have to sit through them over and over again. (The game IS made for replay) However yes, some reason would be nice, but ultimatly, L4D is a game about playing! Also, voice is better. I played a versus match with people actually communicating and it was the best, setting up ambushes as the infected, and stopping the other team while we were the survivors. Also, competition can be fun, but for games about working together, it is bad. Obnoxious and mean people will do little good here.

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