Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Left 4 Dead: A Gamer's Dream, A Hero's Nightmare

Left 4 Dead is a co-op FPS game for both PC and X-Box 360.  It's overall theme is survival horror as you and your friends can control up to four different characters who must fight their way out of the zombie apocalypse through several different campaigns. You may play on your own as a hero, team up with friends to play as the heroes, or play with others online.

The game is set up in a completely fictional universe in which a rage virus had turned everyone into murderous, zombie-like monsters and the four hero are immune to this virus.  Every hero has a unique personality as far as what they say, how they interact with one another, and which guns they will choose in AI mode.  Opposite the heroes are the "special infected," which can also be played when in Versus Mode.  There are six special infected that are playable, Hunter, Smoker, Boomer, Charger, Jockey, and Spitter, and two that are not, the Witch and Tank.  These special infected are much more powerful than the common infected and have unique abilities that cause a lot of trouble for the heroes.  There are also uncommon infected, which are slightly stronger in attack and defense than common infected.  The uncommon infected can only be found in certain campaigns (i.e. the CEDA worker only appears in Dead Center, Clown Infected in Dark Carnival, Mud Men in Swamp Fever, etc).  There are currently seven different uncommon infected.

The overall gameplay is very simple and doesn't change between campaigns, but each campaign has a unique set up and side-quests along with a completely random enemy spawn, meaning you won't get bored repeating a campaign.  Each campaign can be accessed through the menu in any order, but should be played in order at least once to understand the story in the cut-scenes at the beginning and ending of each.  Each campaign has several check points in which the game will auto-save and the heroes may heal up and restock on ammo before continuing to the next section.  There is a small "finale" at the end of each in which the heroes must perform a task or defend a location for a certain amount of time, all while battling waves of zombies (called 'hordes'), an increased number of special infected, and several Tanks.  At least one hero must survive this to pass the level.

The constant updates to the game and changes within the game itself mean that the game never gets stale; there's always something new to try or discover.

3 comments:

  1. As much as I enjoy zombie games and anything Valve, I just couldn't enjoy L4D. After awhile, the maps get boring and a lot of online players these days are real jerks (especially on Valve games, have you noticed that?). The characters' dialogue are also very plain and there's nothing about them that's really endearing--except Francis' "I hate ____" mantra.

    I went back and played some L4D today and noticed a lot of the dialogue is clipped and formal. All you get is "Over here", "Stop", and "Look out."

    Now, don't get me wrong, I like what the game has done for its genre! And I do like the characters themselves despite their lack of real good conversational skills (but then again, it's just a shooter game so who reaaally cares?).

    Have you played the sequel by chance? It's far better than it's predecessor in terms of weaponry, maps, and characters. There actually seems to be a very coherent plot to L4D2 compared to L4D's simple "Let's escape all these zombies!" However, it IS more jovial because it sacrifices the somber/scary atmosphere that its predecessor had. L4D2 is more like a pleasant romp through the park instead of wet-your-pants-in-a-dark-misty-forest, but at least you finally get melee weapons and a good AK-47!

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  2. The problem with discussing L4D's plot was Valve's idea behind. During their sales pitch and previews, they kept referring to each level as a standalone film. The sequel cleans this idea up, giving each section it's own feel, while still combining levels.

    Heck, it goes so far to even clean up the story of the first game in its DLC (Downloadable content)

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    1. See, I understood the whole stand-alone plot of L4D, I just preferred L4D2's continuity between each. I think what they did with the movie posters was neat though because yeah, it does lend itself to the "movie" vibe.

      I was quite pleased when L4D2 came out with that DLC that added all of L4D to it! But it just sort of made me mad because I had just spent $20 on the first game.

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