Left 4 Dead Opinionated Rant

Posted by jimi on December 5th, 2008 filed in Game Comentary

So here’s my first “Game Review” style post.  I intend these to be more of a personal opinion and experience post rather than a review as such.  I’m pretty critical of games, so I don’t know if these will go down well or not, so we shall have to wait and see.

So anyway, according to Steam I’ve played Left 4 Dead (L4D) 43.8 hours in the past 2 Weeks, and I’ve gotta say I’m enjoying it.  I don’t know yet whether it will have the lasting appeal of Valve’s previous effort, Team Fortress 2, but I think I’m gonna get my money’s worth out of this one.

For those that haven’t played it, or heard about it, L4D is a zombie survival game.  

Wow another zombie game.  But Jimi, I’ve already played all the Resident Evil games, Dead Rising,  Stubbs, Zombies ate my Neighbours, House of the Dead, and I have The Last Guy on pre-order.  Why do I need another zombie game?

The answer: sprinting zombies.

You haven’t experienced terror until you see 50 zombies sprinting straight at you.  You haven’t experienced relief until you destroy all of them with shotgun. And you haven’t experienced dread until you realise you’re only about 20 meters into the level.

The main story game is designed for 4 players to play co-operatively.  If players don’t work together, they will die.  No ifs, no buts (hehe), they will die.  

The main thing that keeps me replaying L4D is the randomness of it.  This is done incredibly well by what Valve call “The Director”.  The Director monitors the way each player is playing, and adjusts the game accordingly, by changing where weapons/health spawn, changing how many zombies come in a horde, what direction they come from, etc.  It also adapts the music individually for each player, which makes it incredibly eerie and exciting.

My favourite feature of the game so far has been the vote kick option.  This is a game where people have to work together, and a large part of that is actually being nice so that people actually want to hear you.  I’ll warn anyone playing with me, act like a douche, and I’ll vote kick ya. :P

The speech in the game is also quite dynamic, and incredibly cheesy.  Awesome quotes such as “I’m calling zombie bullshit” make the creepy elevator ride that little more enjoyable.

It is however incredibly buggy.  I really didn’t expect to see the range of bugs I have, but it’s still a lot better than a lot of the other games I’ve been trying to play.  Some of the funnier bugs include being able to help up a downed human player while playing a zombie, unlimited grenades bug, but there are also some quite annoying bugs, like achievements not registering (really annoying when you set out for one that takes a full campaign to complete).  Overall though, the game is still very playable.  You can see just how buggy it is on their official forums here.

So all in all, I recommend this game.  It’s a lot of fun, and is the first game to ever make me scream then go into a giggling fit, and no I’m not a 12 year old girl.

I give it 7 severed fingers out of 8, the other two are thumbs silly.

Jimi says Bye.

UPDATE: Looks like a couple of patches have been released, which is great.  The most noticeable update is the balance in versus mode.  It plays really well now, it’s almost like a new game.

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