Game: "Left 4 Dead"
System: PC
Genre: Action
Published by: Electronic Arts

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 12/29/2008

Review: Left 4 Dead is a zombie survival movie, pitting you and three other characters against a seemingly endless horde of undead. And these aren't the slow, shuffling Romero undead either. No, these are 28 Days Later fast as hell zombies that will be on top of you, slashing you to pieces before you even know what happened. Because of this, the co-op nature of the game is absolutely vital to your survival--stay with the group, or you will die. There are certain situations where you require the aid of a companion to escape, so working closely with the other players is not only suggested--it's necessary. For this reason, Left 4 Dead is the co-op game fan's wet dream, and if you have a couple friends to play with, you'll have a great time.

Having friends to play with isn't necessary, however. While it's certainly more fun to play with people you know, you can always play with random people on the internet, and the AI for the NPC characters is more than up to the task. The first time I played it was just me and my roommate, so we had two NPCs along for the ride, and they were actually quite helpful in covering us when things got tough, helping us when pinned by zombies, and healing us when we were hurt. They're definitely not completely worthless like some AI companions can be.

What's nice is that since the game was designed for co-op play, when you do things like load your weapon or stop to heal, your character will automatically call out to the others so they know what you're doing, so it's something you don't actually have to keep track of yourself. And since your group has to stick close together, you can see where they are through walls in the form of a blue outline, so you can't get easily lost from the rest of the group.

There are more than enough zombie skins that you're not noticeably killing the same dozen people over and over, which is good, because when a horde comes rushing at you, it's like mowing down the population of a small country. This is like the Serious Sam of zombie games, only not quite so far over the top. There are several different kinds of "boss" zombies: the hunter, which will pounce on you and fuck you up; the boomer, a fat zombie which spews bile that blinds you and attracts the horde; the smoker, which will grab you with its long tongue that requires a save from a teammate; the tank, a hulking brute that rampages in a berserker rage; and the witch, who appears harmless and usually is--unless you provoke her. Then you'd best watch the fuck out.

The game is divided into four campaigns which last about an hour each, which doesn't sound like much, but here's the good news: Valve has talked about releasing new downloadable content, there are player-created maps on the way (including a replica of the mall from Dawn of the Dead), and there is an AI "director" that monitors the action and drops health, ammo, or hordes of zombies upon you when appropriate for keeping the tension at a high (but survivable, if you're smart) level. This means that no two run-throughs are exactly the same. You can't simply memorize the location of the power ups, or where or when the horde will come at you. So it's supposed to have a very high replayability factor, though to be fair I haven't replayed any of the campaigns yet myself.

One thing I was really struck by was how cinematic the whole game comes across. The opening movie sequence is one of the best I've seen for a video game, and the game itself really continues that same movie-like intensity. There's not much of a story to speak of--zombies show up, you kill them and try to get away--so in that sense, it really is very much like a zombie film.

This is one of the funnest video game experiences I've had in some time, so if you've been on the fence about this one, you really should check it out. And if you're looking for a great co-op team experience, you absolutely cannot go wrong with this game.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Forum Virgin
Dec 30th, 2008, 11:14 AM
Great game, but after owning it for a month now, its really dissapointing that there is no real single player game. Basically, if you don't have Xbox Live or a friend to play it with, it gets old really fast. Great review otherwise.
Dec 30th, 2008, 12:33 PM
Moranzollamas: You mean this game is also available for Xbox 360?
Dec 30th, 2008, 02:01 PM
Me and my friend were waitin for this game scince it was announced, and when the demo came out on xbox live we'd play the 2 levels it gave you over and over almost every day. To be fair im pretty easily amused when it comes to zombies and horror and whatnot but i think this game has some incredible replayability. When you only have yourself to play with (harhar) the AI more or less waits for you to lead, which kinda changes the game and how you go about protecting yourself. All in all its more then worth it in the eyes of a zombie/horror game/movie fan.
frappez le cochon rouge
Dec 30th, 2008, 02:09 PM
Yes, it is available on the 360.
drifting in the void
Dec 30th, 2008, 03:10 PM
I still think itīs too expensive for the 360. 55 bucks for 4hours of gameplay...hm...20 - 30 bucks would be pretty decent.
frappez le cochon rouge
Dec 30th, 2008, 03:31 PM
With the supposed DLC bringing what should have been there in the first place, (versus on all campaigns), I think it'd be worth it. Although, it depends on whether MS makes Valve charge for it.
Hitler's Canoe!
Dec 30th, 2008, 07:31 PM
Originally Posted by OxBlood View Post
I still think itīs too expensive for the 360. 55 bucks for 4hours of gameplay...hm...20 - 30 bucks would be pretty decent.
I've clocked something like 200+ hours on the game since release and I still play all the time. Not bad for Ģ30.
lurking on the walls
Dec 30th, 2008, 11:42 PM
I want to pay this so freaking badly,

there's a beta version of a Zombie MMORPG onine called Dead Frontier, if anyone's interested.

Dec 31st, 2008, 12:28 AM
Yeah, that opening is amazing as far as game openings go. I haven't played it yet but I'll be getting it soon.
Dec 31st, 2008, 11:28 AM
OxBlood, its hardly 4 hours of gameplay. Each campaign takes about 2 hours to get through and with the AI director they are always different. If you just play single player then it gets old quick, but if you got a good group on X-box Live then you can easily spend many hours playing this game. Its a real blast. I only wish they would allow you to play all 4 campaigns in versus mode as apposed to just the two they have currently. I can't wait for the downloadable content.
Hitler's Canoe!
Dec 31st, 2008, 11:37 AM
There was an Interview with one of the writers at Valve on Kotaku the other day - apparently the next update will include Dead Air and Death Toll for versus and some other mysery DLC - maybe a new campaign. It's also going to contain the SDK so we should be seeing some custom maps soon as well.
Jason's a Furry! Run!
Dec 31st, 2008, 04:34 PM
Definitely an amazing game, and one that I've been waiting for for a long time (seriously, last great zombie game was Dead Rising all those years ago). And it's also quite difficult; even normal can be a challenge depending on the situation (damned boomers, always popping up at the worst possible moment >_<).

And it's definitely got a huge replay value. Everything changes except the actual levels, and they're nice enough that that's not a problem. I've gotten at least ten hours just replaying the first campaign over and over. And that was just on day one.
Dec 31st, 2008, 04:51 PM
I'm still having fun with this game. I love it.
I am Johnny Luchador
Dec 31st, 2008, 07:49 PM
ive gotten alll 50 achievements logged like 300 hours and still love playing it solo or multi. def a 5 outta 5 in my book
That damn kid
Dec 31st, 2008, 09:51 PM
I really wanted this for christmas but didnt get it . I dont really mind though because my friend got it so I can play it at his house.
Mr. everywhere
Jan 1st, 2009, 06:29 AM
aw man i bought this on boxing day and ive been playing it since. proto you forgot about versus now THAT is amazing. the fact that you are able to be a hunter, smoker, boomer, or tank is simply amazing. thank god u dont have to be the witch tho. thats like the difference between a soldier and a mine.
Scruffy drunken Brit
Jan 1st, 2009, 06:49 AM
Great game.

Also, I feel as though it should be brought to attention the awesome sounds done for the zombies.
Two chaps did the sounds. Fred Tatasciore (Saren in Mass Effect, Baird in Gears of War, Handbanana in Aqua Teen Hunger Force) did some of them, and Mike Patton (Mike Fucking Patton) did the rest of them.

I am Johnny Luchador
Jan 1st, 2009, 04:12 PM
oh and good luck to anyone who is trying to get the NOTHING SPECIAL AChievement, it's damn near impossible unless you have a PERFECTIONIST Team.
Again, this game blew my effin face off, and I'm still running around finding exploits and other hilarious things.
The Ugly Puckling
Jan 2nd, 2009, 01:24 PM
This is a fantastic game, I love it and I've only played it off-line, since I hate people. I just wish there was at least one Zombie Campaign for Single Player.
Jun 1st, 2009, 07:43 AM
Return of The Living Dead zombies... 28 Days Later is not a classic, it sucks, it didn't come up with the idea of running zombies, its barely a zombie movie, its not cool, it appeals to idiots, it deserves to be forgotten, Return of The Living Dead 3 was better than 28 Days Later etc etc...
The Goddamned Batman
Jun 3rd, 2009, 12:24 PM
Forum Virgin
Oct 21st, 2009, 06:46 AM
I dropped around to a friends house who had just bought this game....we played for six hours straight, and all I dreamt about that night was freaking zombies...though of course I did find some downtime in the dream to include a winsome lass...oh and 28 days later is quite brilliant actually...