Left 4 Dead
Valve is known for topgames like Half-Life 2, TeamFortress 2 and Portal. This time they try to conquer the market with a “the world has been taken over by zombies” scenario.
A world filled with zombies hasn’t been original for quite some years already and since you don’t get any further information about how and why this happened you can easily say that the storyline as such is quite thin.
The team with which you play consists out of four different characters with Zoey being the only female. Billy is a veteran from the Vietnam war and then there’s still Louis and Francis and the differences between the four become clear during the intro when they get attacked by a horde of zombies.
Left 4 Dead can be played online and offline but the idea is to play with your friends (or unknown other people) and learn to play as a team which is often the key to victory.
You finish the offline part rather quickly as there are only four maps that each are divided into five parts. You can choose which of the characters you want to play and the others will be controlled by the AI that tries to help you in every fight.
Online you can choose between campaign and versus. The first is quite similar to the offline part with as difference that the other survivors are of course real players this time. Again it’s a shame there’s only four maps and that they’re the exact same ones from the offline mode.
The “versus” mode on the other hand offers the possibility to become a zombie yourself with accompanying special powers. This way you’ll have four zombies fighting survivors by making good use of the surroundings.
The undead exist out of boomers, hunters, smokers and tanks. Boomers are incredibly fat and slow but can puke onto survivors, attracting all other zombies in the neighborhood. Hunters on the other hand are fast and can jump on just about any object. Smokers have a flexible tongue they can swirl around the neck of survivors to strangle them from long distance. Finally there are the tanks who kinda speak for themselves. They’re difficult to stop and cause a lot of damage. There are also witches present in the game but you’re best to leave them alone as they can put you on the floor with one strike. Lights out and being very quiet is the message here.
The game contains a high level of democracy. For each choice, going from kicking gamers to changing the difficulty degree you need to get a majority of players supporting your choice. Another nice plus is the AI Director who randomly spawns zombies so that they never appear in the same spot.
Graphically the game looks very beautiful but it’s a disappointment that not everything is destructable. The weapons choice is quite limited with only two in the beginning and eventhough further into the campaign you can choose between three we’re still wondering where those bazookas and flame throwers are to kick zombie ass.
Luckily attributes like molotov coktails and pipe bombs are present and you can also ignite a can of gas.
Another fun thing are the 51 achievements you can earn and which can be compared to the Trophies for PS3 or the achievements for the Xbox360. These go from killing a tank so that he doesn’t hurt survivors, to slaying 53595 zombies. This is only one zombie more than the amount you need to kill in Dead Rising on the Xbox360 so it looks like Valve wanted to make a point
With Left 4 Dead Valve have again done their best to deliver a top game. The addictive gameplay and achievements make for countless hours of fun despite the limited amount of maps and lack of a decent storyline