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REVIEW: Left 4 Dead

Posted on December 2, 2008 by

If you like zombie horror movies, buy this game.

If you like fast-paced first-person shooters that stress teamwork, buy this game.

If you don’t like any of the above, I don’t want to know you.

As for the badass mfers left in the room, Left 4 Dead, Valve’s much-hyped co-op shooter, is a wet dream for the zombie killer in all of us (think Dawn of the Dead with the “zombies” from 28 Days Later).

Each of the game’s four campaigns places you in the same situation –- you and three compadres are survivors of the zombieocalypse, trying to find a way out of town. How do you escape the wraith of an army of living dead? WITH GUNS OF COURSE.

But it’s not that simple. Left 4 Dead was specifically designed for team play. Not only is it challenging to slaughter (literally) thousands of screaming zombies on your own, but if you get pinned by any of the “boss” zombies (more on them in a minute) your teammates need to get them off you, or you die. It’s nearly impossible to survive without your mates at your side. If you’re knocked down, someone has to pick you up. If you’re hurt, someone can heal you. And vice versa. While occasionally agonizing, the co-op design is the game’s greatest strength. If you find a competent group of people to play with online, you develop a real sense of camaraderie.

The campaigns last about an hour and a half each (it’s supposed to give you the feeling of being in a zombie movie). So, how does game stay fresh? One of Left 4 Dead’s main features is an AI Director. Basically, if you’re on a team of n00bs, the game will go easy on you. If you’re with a bunch of sweet pros, the Director will continuously unleash furious volleys of flesh eating buggers on you -– which is just fine if you’re dead-set on zombie genocide. The Director ensures an experience as unique as the team you’re on.

Wait, there’s more! What’s better than plowing your way through hordes of brain-hungry walking dead? PLAYING AS THE ZOMBIES!

Fuckin’ a, dude. Left 4 Dead’s versus mode lets your team take on the role of the “boss” zombies. Your mission? Tear the living shit out of your human foes. Each “boss” zombie has their own wicked ability, like strangling people with your 50-foot long tongue and puking on them.

Awesome as the game is, it’s not without flaws. The AI of the zombies is noticeably imperfect (they often run into walls and climb over objects instead of running around them), and the graphics are neither spectacular nor terrible. But who cares about all that when your screen is constantly filled with hundreds of dead people clawing at your face?

If you’re looking for bloody, coordinated, mass-zombie-murder, Left 4 Dead is for you. If you’re looking for an engaging, emotional storyline, you’ll be sorely disappointed (pussy).

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