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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20 Comments

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godmaker's Avatar

godmaker

PC rulez
Posted 08:24 on 12 December 2008
Yacaman's Avatar

Yacaman

I would pay $100 dollars for this game on the PS3. I hate this crap. Sony, what the hell man!!!!!!!! Are you blind. You are letting great games go. Yes by the time 2010 your amazing games come on XBOX will catch up with their new XBOX Z, It will be one year behind and by 2015, their will be so much talk for one system to tule them all you guys will become obsolete or have to merge.
Just hurry up with home, this is the only reason I am still loyal.
Posted 19:53 on 04 December 2008
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee

If you are finding it boring, put the difficulty up a notch. If you are not hobbling into the safe room at the end of the level, you are missing the real fun.
Posted 14:52 on 02 December 2008
woot's Avatar
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woot

this game is an extremely fun party game, it gets a bit boring tho
Posted 14:39 on 02 December 2008
LSS_Chrome's Avatar

LSS_Chrome

Well written. I agree with the fact that its annoying how not all the levels can be played in versus...

...however, Valve said DLC soon to come, that means more maps, guns and (didn't think it was possible) more zombies!!
Posted 02:02 on 01 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: 616
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