I bought Left 4 Dead recently at a friend’s suggestion, and played through the single player campaign to get a feel for it. It’s a lot of fun, even with the AI party members occasionally doing dumb stuff like ‘disturbing the witch’ (I’m looking at you, Louis).
I play a lot of on-line multiplayer games, but usually I don’t know any one else I’m playing with more than having seen them around on the public servers. I don’t go for the whole being part of a clan thing, and most of my real-life and on-line friends either don’t play the same games that I do or play on consoles…or so I thought. Tonight we played with 3 of us (1 whom I know from on-line) which was lots of fun. We’re going to try to make Wednesday night our L4D night.
Left 4 Dead is a survival horror first person shooter in the vein of 28 Days Later. You play one of 4 ‘survivors’ working your way from safe room to safe room whilst a virus has mutated most of the population, ‘the infected’, turning them into crazed zombies, who rush you at full tilt, screaming. There are also 4 ‘special’ class zombies, the Boomer (spits goo at you that attracts a horde of zombies), the Smoker (can fire a long tongue tentacle pulling a survivor towards him), the Hunter (with an incapacitating leap attack) and the Tank (big, heavy hitter, takes lots of damage). Every now and again a spontaneous horde attacks (or someone shoots a Boomer blowing goo over everyone) and you have to fend off a rush of 100’s of zombies. The end of each campaign is also a staged rush of enemies.
The thing that makes this game so good is the way that it adapts to the player’s level of skill. It uses an ‘AI Director’ to manage the suspense/attacks to be just enough to push you, but not completely overwhelm you, unless you panic. If you work well as a team the AI Director will hit you harder and faster, and it backs off when you are obviously struggling. Audio cues through music and sound effects really adds to the atmosphere, along with dark maps and weapon torches, to really keep you on your toes.
Team work is essential to survive, going off alone is a recipe for getting targetted by the ‘special’ infected where your friends can’t help you fight them off.
All in all, a lot of fun. I’m really looking forward to next week 🙂