Left4Dead Review

George A Romero has a lot to answer for, there isn’t a man I know who doesn’t have a plan for the “inevitable” zombie apocalypse. We all knew how to kill a zombie from watching Romero’s Masterpieces. A zombie would amble along slowly while we back up a few steps and blow up their head with a nicely placed shot from a 12 gauge. For quite some time we had confidence in our zombie killing techniques.
Then along came Danny Boyle, who gave us 28 days later, He made the Zeds mad. Zombies now ran, in fact they could sprint, wide eyed and drooling at the thought of eating through your flesh. This caught us off guard, how do you kill a zombie that can actually keep up with you? This move from Danny boyle made us scared of the incoming Zombie apocalypse again……..And Valve took advantage of that, but also changed the fight once again.

Left4Dead puts you in control of one of four survivors in the aforementioned zombie apocalypse, Each character can be seen as the “new” stereotype for zombie horror films.
Louis, an African American office worker who was on his way home from work when the Zeds attacked. Bill, A disgruntled war veteran who just wanted to enjoy his retirement. Francis, A biker nearing middle-age and needing something to prove and Zoey, A nubile young woman seeking independence.

L4D is a first person shooter set over four campaigns, each of which is set out like a cheesy zombie movie from the early nineties. As the campaign loads there is even a movie poster with your gamertag on it, indicating which character you’re playing as. The campaigns follow all the stereotypes of horror flicks, In each one you must survive to the end and call for help. All the while dodging infected cityfolk, who range from standard zombies to the special infected.
These “specials” come in five varieties; The Boomer, a disgusting bloated creature who vomits on you which then attracts hordes of zombies to your position. The Smoker, who can grab you from hundreds of yards away and drag you in to his grasp where he claws at you. The Hunter, Who has turned feral and can pounce on you from great distances to scratch and bite you.
Then comes The Tank, A monstrously mutated hulk of flesh who can punch cars at you or tear chunks from the pavements and launch them at you. Lastly, The Witch a traumatised, pale young zombie and if your eyes meet she will literally incapacitate you in a wild flurry of clawing hands.


With a whole history of Zombie movies both great and terrible, for Valve to research, each one has something in common. A director who throws waves of zombies at the poor heroes of the picture.
Left4Dead also has a director, an AI director…. and they’re incredibly evil. The AI director will follow you through the game just sitting in the background controlling all the infected. The director is very dynamic, if you’re doing well as a group they will throw more special infected at you and if you’re not surviving very well, you may get some extra health kits. Not only are the infected controlled but also the placement of more powerful guns and health kits.
This has lead to each and every playthrough of the game being totally different.

L4D can be played by yourself, but it really becomes another game when taken online. You can team up with three friends or random players to move through the campaigns together. Using teamwork you really feel that you are trying to survive and each of you will literally be on the edge of your seat when someone announces that they heard a hunter jumping around. The campaigns can be played on varying difficulty from easy to expert and I have to say, as you move through the different levels of difficulty it is noticed dramatically.
On easy you can quite easily shrug off some friendly fire from a shotgun, But on expert, prepare to be downed in one shot. These challenges require you to work as a team and that really is something you don’t see much in games nowadays.

Aside from the campaigns, you can also play versus mode.
Versus mode sees four survivors teaming up against four other people who become the special infected.
Spawning in as the special infected is random, you can be any of the specials other than the witch, she isn’t playable. You will usually be a smoker, hunter or boomer and randomly throughout the game each of you will become a tank once, twice if you’re very lucky. Again, Teamwork is a must as each of the specials can be killed quite easily.
Versus mode is played like the campaign, each level is broken down into chapters. The survivors have to survive the chapter while the zombie team tries to take them all out. Each team is awarded points for how well they do and at the end of the chapter, the roles are reversed. This is played out in this fashion until the finale where the scores are totalled and the winner announced.

Valve have put a tremendous amount of work into Left4Dead and their attention to detail is second to none. The shooting mechanics aren’t as tight as games like Call of duty but they’re solid enough to have confidence that you’ll hit your target. L4D brings a lot to the table and all of it is great, the gameplay is superb and there is much fun to be had. The only downside that can really be found is the lack of more campaigns, however as I write this review Valve have announced that DLC is on the way in springtime. Left4Dead is a must play game on either 360 or PC.
5-star Written by Strybe

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