By Mario Garcia
Developer: Valve Corporation
Publisher: Valve Corporation
Review Rating: 10
Left 4 Dead is a first person shooter zombie survival game. However in my opinion it is more of a zombie movie simulator. The premise is Four Survivors trying to escape from the relentless hordes of undead infected. They fight their way across farms, hospitals, subways and city streets.
We have to start with the true stars of the game the Infected. The normal infected are fast moving cannon fodder zombies, not at all tough 1-2 shots puts them down but there are a lot of them and its easy to get overwhelmed. Then there are the specialty infected. The Boomer, a disgusting blob of gelatinous gross. The boomers have 2 attacks one is a vomit attach in which they projectile vomit bile which attracts infected and the second is getting within range and then getting show so the bile spray out all over any survivors in the vicinity. The Smoker is a Gene Simmons wannabe with a tongue that can be used to entangle survivors who then need to be rescued by their teammates. The Hunters are fast and vicious pouncing on any survivor foolish enough to stray from the group and again once pinned you will need your teammates to rescue you. The Tank is a huge hulk that can throw cars and chunks of concrete as well as easily knock survivors across the way or off a rooftop. Finally The Witch who is the toughest of the infected. Luckily she just hides and cries to herself until she is startled by a flashlight or is shot at.
There are four Survivors, Francis the tough biker, Zoey the college student, Louis the working man, and Bill the grizzled old war veteran. They are pretty much interchangeable with no special powers or difference in abilities. They all have access to a good variety of weapons. The basic pistol has unlimited ammo though the reload time can be your undoing. A second pistol can be found in places and the characters can dual wield. Then there are shotguns, hunting rifles , uzi, and machine guns that can be used to dispatch the various infected. The respawns are also interesting since you have to be rescued from a closet by the other teammates rather than just dropping back into the combat that offers a nice extra bit of realism.
There is a hidden character that really makes this game stand out. The AI/Director changes elements in the game dynamically. The changes can be made to locations of enemies or extra weapons. The AI calculates the perceived stress levels of each characters and adjusts the difficulty accordingly. The 2 shambling zombies that were in the subway tunnel last round can this time be a horde of zombies that come charging from the tunnel without warning. The Director portion changes the music to increase and maintain a great level of tension. Playing a fast paced soundtrack while fighting waves of zombies and brass hits when attacked by a smoker or hunter and the somber death music when you are taken down and killed and finally the triumphant ending music if you make it to the rescue.
Freakin awesome. This game is one of the most fun First Person Shooters i’ve played in a very long time. It is exciting and fresh and truly a cooperative multi player game. Zombies shooting is always fun. Playing with friends or a pick up group is a blast, whether you are playing survivors or infected. I really like the fact that you can play ths game for a quick log in an blow stuff up session or play for a long time with a group of friends and have a good time. Valve should be releasing the SDK for it soon too so look for mods in the near future.