Back 4 Blood brings modern taste to zombie hunting

Successor of Left 4 Dead impresses with new storyline expansion


Turtle Rock Studios

Left 4 Dead didn’t really shove a story down your throat, leaving out context clues

Imagine with me for a second; it’s the late 2000s, you turn on your Xbox 360 and you load up the now-infamous “Left 4 Dead 2”. You join a game of “Versus” and you’re having the time of your life with a bunch of your friends screaming at each other killing zombies! Even by today’s standards, Left 4 Dead is a special game in a lot of gamers’ hearts. It hit the perfect blend of chaos, cooperative gameplay and just pure fun. But now the same developers, Turtle Rock Studios, come out with the titled spiritual successor to such an infamous game; how does this new take on the classic formula hold up? It holds up pretty well, but only if you’re into the modern format of games nowadays.

First the gameplay, it’s basically a modern Left 4 Dead. You go from point A to point B, trying to conserve ammo and health and killing; a lot of killing. I’d say it loses a bit of the Left 4 Dead feel from how many zombies you’re supposed to kill upright. In Left 4 Dead, there were zombies where it’s going to be a pain if you shoot them, such as the witch and boomer. There are game elements that prefer you not shoot, but a lot of them aren’t as clever as Left 4 Dead.

The card system is a net addition too. I personally didn’t like it, I prefer different mechanics but I can see a lot of cooperative strategies coming from which perk card to pick and not doubling down on a perk which renders a card slot wasted. And the AI’s set of cards also lend itself to new gameplay opportunities making each run-through through the game feel different, it really helps replay value.

Now Left 4 Dead didn’t really shove a story down your throat. It had a lot of context clues and environmental storytelling. In both the original Left 4 Dead and the sequel, the characters were memorable with their own distinct personalities. Here in Back 4 Blood, there is a very lackluster story. I just felt like it took itself just a tad bit too seriously and lacked the funny and a bit crazy story beats of Left 4 Dead. And the characters are lacking any real personalities. Everyone is pretty stereotypical and not in any real fun way. But the good thing is the gameplay is really tight.

Back to the gameplay, the shooting and running through of maps feel good. The addition of aiming down sights is amazing and the variety of weapons and gameplay mechanics make Left 4 Dead seem like child’s play. The addition of attachments to weapons breathes new life to old weapons. And crescendo moments are done a lot better with varying goals and context.

Now, the elephant in the room; how’s the versus mode, arguably the best part of Left 4 Dead? Just right off the bat, it’s not as good as Left 4 Dead. A lot of the zombies you take control of lack movement and general mobility. Back in Left 4 Dead, even the tank, the big and slow zombie, controlled well being slightly slower but still can hall butts.

And the restriction that the only games you can play in versus was some form of defense gameplay for the survivors don’t help. I get that they made the survivors more defensive, but when a patch comes out, I’d definitely add some updates to the survivors’ gameplay to help them move away from defensive gameplay a bit and into more of a campaign versus.

Now at the end of the day, if you’re coming from Left 4 Dead and just want a modern interpretation of the classic, this hits pretty damn close to that, if not on the money. Yes, it sacrifices some of the “Left 4 Dead”isms, but what you get in return makes up for most of it, barring the versus downgrade. I’d say it’s worth $60 if you have a few friends who are hankering for some zombie killing.