Left 4 Dead. I’d hate to be. Wouldn’t you? Now, I’m writing this as part of our series of Halloween reviews. Yes I know it’s a little late, but heck, Halloween was on Monday and I did a LOT of coursework during the Half-Term break. Regardless, here’s my review of Valve’s first major Zombie Apocalypse game – Left 4 Dead.
Where do I begin? Well, for starters, it’s a Zombie Apocalypse game, which means that it automatically gets a 5 or more. I love zombies (no, I’m not a necrophiliac) so any game with them must be amazing. Call me biased. I dare you!
So anyway, you start off (supposing you play through the campaigns in ‘order’), on top of a roof, where you find out that you need to go to a hospital. You get to the hospital and end up escaping in a news helicopter, before it crashes and you have to get to a series of different evacuation points, culminating in a campaign aptly named ‘The Sacrifice’. You play as one of four characters, either being Bill, a Vietnam Veteran, Zoe, a student, Francis, a biker, or Louis, an IT guy. You take on their role in either single player or multiplayer co-operative campaigns, so that you and your friends can get your macs on and cure the infection ‘one bullet at a time’. Sadly, that’s not my tagline, but rather, the tagline for the first campaign, ‘No Mercy’.
What’s the game-play like? Well, the controls are very user-friendly, with all of the actions having a sensible bind. However, if you disagree, you can redefine them. Fix it yourselves! The difficulty level is exactly what it says on the tin. You set it to easy, it’s easy. You set it to hard, it’s impossible. You set to extreme, well… You’re just suicidal… I recommend starting out on easy and then normal. if you cope with that well, skip hard and go to extreme.
Graphically, the games not too bad. It uses the Source engine, like all the Valve games since 2004, so the physics are great and the power-usage low. This means that even with the settings as high as they’ll go, you usually manage to get through the game without any real lag. My computer occasionally has lag spikes whilst playing, but I use Skype, so that’s probably the problem.
Now we come to the enemies. Zombies. What types are there? Well, there are six types of zombie that I can recall. There are:
- Standard zombies (fast) which run at, swipe, bite, scratch and generally swarm around you,
- ‘Boomers’ that puke on you and explode when shot. The puke attracts standard zombies,
- ‘Smokers’ that use a long tongue to pull you towards them and explode when killed, leaving smoke behind,
- ‘Hunters’ which are the free-jumpers of the zombie world, jumping at you and pinning you to the ground,
- ‘Witches’, that ignore you completely, unless you shoot them or go near them or even attempt to blind them. They knock you down in one hit and present themselves as crying women,
- FINALLY – ‘Tanks’ that stand about twice the height of a player when standing properly, thrice the breadth and infinitely more powerful. They punch you, throw rubble at you, throw cars at you and make you use up half of your ammunition.