Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead Review for PC

On: PCXbox 360

Co-op game featuring Zombies.

Review Verdict Read Review
9Out of 10
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You'll have never played a co-op game like this before
You'll have never played a co-op game like this before

You'll have never played a co-op game like this before

It's amazing how quickly a situation that's completely under control can elevate into one that will cause even the most veteran FPS gamers to panic. In Valve's first-person shooter co-op survival horror it only takes a split second, a slight lapse in concentration, and your four-man team is on the end of a zombie nightmare. I've never played a game that requires such a reliance on your fellow gamers, with your life more often than not in their hands. Left 4 Dead isn't just a great survival horror game; it's the best example of cooperative gaming you're going to find anywhere.

L4D isn't complicated. There's been an outbreak of a virus that turns humans into zombie-like crazed killers (very 28 Days Later) and you must battle to survive long enough to get rescued. Presented as four separate movies, each with the same cast of four characters, you essentially get 90 minute to two-hour chunks of gameplay, each throwing thousands of infected at you, arming you with a small set of weapons and is never the same twice - while the level layouts remain the same, something Valve has named the Director decides what infected to unleash, from where and in what numbers. A corridor of tranquillity in one game may well be the most hellish moment of your gaming life the next time you play.

Each of the four movies is split into zones, with the goal being to reach a safe room that acts as both a checkpoint and way to stock up on ammo, change your weapon and grab some health packs. Health packs in L4D are scarce, with your character only able to carry one at a time, along with a temporary booster in the form of pain killers. The odd health pack can be found throughout each level, but you can go for a long time without seeing any at all. The lack of replenishing health, which has become the norm in modern first-person shooters, is a key design decision, making every health pack count - and who to use them on something that needs to be discussed.

You're able to use your own health pack to heal yourself or a team mate (downed team mates can also be given a temporary 30 per cent health boost if revived from an immobile state without using a health pack), which is something that isn't quite as clean cut as it might seem. During my time playing cooperatively in the office the decision was always fairly simple. If one of us was near death and without a health pack their health become a priority, with one of the group administering a health pack. When playing with randoms online this decision making often factored in other things. During one online game, student Zoey (accompanied by loud mouth Francis, systems analyst Louis and Vietnam vet Bill) wasn't doing her bit for the team, so when she called out for help (in a rather manly voice), having fallen foul of a vicious attack, my two other survivors demanded that I leave her there to bleed out, for fear that I'd take too much of a hit if a rescue was attempted.

It's not a stunner, but the game throws loads of enemies at you.

It's not a stunner, but the game throws loads of enemies at you.

I felt conflicted, but they were right. Zoey had been holding us back since the beginning and we only had to survive another five minutes until the boat arrived to take us to safety. My health could be vital in our survival, so I agreed and left her lying on the ground floor of the house we'd found ourselves in, helplessly shooting while immobile on her back. There's absolutely no question that L4D is more fun when played with friends, but playing with randoms online will throw up unique situations that make it a very different experience. Even playing with one or two AI characters changes things considerably, with their will to heal others even when on the brink of death themselves often reaching Samaritan levels of kindness.

A horde of crazed infected would have made for a fun, hugely enjoyable experience, but it's the special enemies that raise L4D to another level. They've been designed with the express purpose of forcing the team to work together, helping one another out. You could survive an attack from standard infected without too much trouble, but these special enemies can completely immobilise you until a friend steps in to help you out.

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User Comments

GeNeCyDe1993's Avatar

GeNeCyDe1993

i love this game so much and without being biased i wish it was a 10, i dont see any problems or glitches with the game, for me its just about perfect.

if i was to mar it down it would only be because there is no downloable additional movies to download and play, though im hoping they will come soon
Posted 17:37 on 12 April 2009
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TURBO_RAD

I somewhat disagree i don't play it co op ever and i love it just as much as ne one i play it daily and never can get enough....yes it is funner with others but i think its just as fun solo....
Posted 03:10 on 27 March 2009
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page89

Great game if your playing online. Offline play leaves a lot to be desired but the game is aimed at co op play which it is brilliant for!
Posted 21:36 on 02 March 2009
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Anonymous

This game rocks when played in Co-op . I keep on playing it again and again .

Please add me " : ticklion
Posted 01:58 on 11 January 2009
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TURBO_RAD

UMMM...so i have been playing this game for bout a week and a half and i play it daily and when i posted bout the AI system earlier well...i have somethin new to add you can always tell when a group of zombies is gonna attack on the expert level bc the music will change and there will usually b a like high pitch violin sound or somethin like that then immediately after there are tons of zombie moans and ur surrounded
Posted 20:40 on 07 January 2009
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TRBO RAD

not so happy that the campaign is soo short...yea the levels are fun to play over and over but...this AI sysem is suppose to change the game everytime?? well i have played the boathouse level about 20x and i can predict everything that is gonna happen just bout everytime i play.....but sometimes it does catch me off guard..wish there was more and the writing on the walls is a great touch but some are over the top especially n the dead air level...don't get me wrong most are funny.
Posted 10:30 on 03 January 2009
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St_Taylor_UK

Campaign is seriously short on this game
Posted 15:36 on 02 January 2009
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asif

i like games so much.
Posted 06:32 on 02 January 2009
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TRBO RAD

So just started playin the game earlier tonight and man am i impressed....such a simple concept but yet so intense escaping from zombies has never been soo much fun before....so im hiding in this old abandoned house from the zombies and i was suprised only two tried to kill me while i was inside.....or so i though nver sit aroun in this game no no no in seconds every door was being broken down by hordes of zombies prob one of the better moments i have had in gaming....oh and the Witch what a great addition to a great game
Posted 07:14 on 01 January 2009
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TRBO RAD

Thank you for answering my question....well i went out and bought it today...and.........ITS AMAZING prob the best game i have bought in a long long time i have been waitn for a open world full of zombies....even though they are Brutal...i agree with you Dead Dog it prob would b fun with the online..but i gotta deal with the fact i gots no high speed but still its great prob bc i am used to playin by myself but thanks for the advice
Posted 06:56 on 01 January 2009
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mydeaddog

Well, even without a broadband connection you can still play with a mate via split-screen co-op. It's not as good as playing with a screen to yourself, but it's still a lot of fun.

To be honest though, if you're not going to be playing it online, i'd be very cautious. Most of the fun in L4D comes from working with your mates; playing with the AI just isn't the same. If you can rent the game, do that first and see if you love it... Personally I think you'd be better off buying something else.
Posted 13:44 on 31 December 2008
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TRBO RAD

So i was debating on whether to buy this game or not...reading this review i say there goes 60 big ones but...then at the end the reviewer says that its is a game for more than one person....well here is the problem...i don't have xbox live bc i don't have broadband...so i would b playin it alone bc no one in my family gets into games....so should i buy the game or not someone tell me bc im not wastin my money if its boring to play Single handedly
Posted 05:55 on 31 December 2008
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ShadowAnbu3X

Yacaman Sony was to busy making their graphs for the PS3 gay 3 Better than anything, that they didn't buy any company's while Microsoft and Nintendo were buying the major and underground company's. So Sony got nothing they woke up and were like F**k we have nothing
Posted 20:50 on 15 December 2008
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ShadowAnbu3X

Why no time lapse??????? All screen shots from magazines have them why aren't they in the freaking game?
Posted 20:42 on 15 December 2008
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Zoey

The only difficulty worth playing is expert. The other settings aren't proportionally difficult. Even on advanced I find my full team piling in the safe room, usually with a extra health pack or two. On expert, though, expect death. Often. There's nothing like the feeling of acting as a decoy for the Tank while your one last teammate hobbles to the boat/helicopter/humvee/plane.
Posted 22:54 on 13 December 2008

Game Stats

Left 4 Dead
9
Out of 10
Left 4 Dead
  • Many different experiences
  • Co-op works superbly
  • Brilliantly playable
  • Not all levels are playable in versus
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 21/11/2008
Platforms: PC , Xbox 360
Developer: In-house
Publisher: Valve
Genre: Action
No. Players: 1-4
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 948
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