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Staying Alive: Left 4 Dead Review

Posted 11-19-2012 at 08:23 PM by darkengy
Updated 11-28-2012 at 08:34 PM by darkengy

Left 4 Dead
Developer: Valve
Genre: Co-operative first-person shooter, survival horror, action
Game play Rating: [4/5]
Graphics Rating: [4/5]
Game Sound Rating: [5/5]
Performance Rating: [4/5]
Left 4 Dead is a horror co-op first-person shooter game developed by Valve Corporation. The game composes of 4 playable or AI-controlled characters labeled as "Survivors" whose main objective is to escape the city from hordes of the "Infected". Players can also play as the "Special Infected" whose purpose is to thwart or delay the Survivors' escape. Since this is a co-op genre, teamwork is extremely necessary in this game.

Game play: [4/5]

As stated earlier, the Survivors are playable or AI-controlled human characters namely Francis, a biker; Bill, a Vietnam war veteran; Zoey, a university student and Louis, a junior system analyst. They are immune to the "Green Flu" aka "The Infection" a virus that turned humans into zombie-like beings.

The Infected are the Survivors' enemies. They are fast & agile, but can be killed easily, although they are overwhelming in numbers. Aside from these common Infected, there are 5 types Special Infected, which only 4 of them are playable in the versus mode. These Special Infected have special attacks that makes them more dangerous compared to the Infected hordes.

The 5 Special Infected are:

1. Boomer - a bloated-looking Infected that spits bile that affects the Survivor's vision, which also attracts hordes of Infected when hit.

2. Hunter - a more agile Infected that can pounce on a Survivor, then incapacitate him.

3. Smoker- an Infected covered in boils which uses its tongue to capture & drag Survivors back to him. While ensnared, the Survivor is either attacked by the horde or leave him hanging to a ledge or cliff.

4. Tank - an enormous muscular Infected, that can strike the Survivors & incapacitate them, or throw cars, boulders & debris at them. It's the hardest Special Infected to kill.

5. Witch - the only female Infected that cries in some secluded spots. When startled by light & loud noises, she becomes lethally aggressive & attacks the one who "startled" her. One strike from her can either incapacitate or even kill a Survivor.

Left 4 Dead has 4 game modes:campaign, versus, survival & single-player. A total of 5 for the Campaign mode, wherein players take up the roles of the 4 Survivors. Players will have to reach safe houses & eventually to rescue. Safe house is the place where players can reload, revive fellow dead Survivors & replenish their health. The main goal is to escape the place alive. Awards are also given to players who did well all throughout the game.

The versus mode of the game allows the players to control the Special Infected with the exception of the Witch once they re-spawn.

Survival mode is a time challenge wherein players have to survive endless attacks of hordes.

Single player mode is similar to the Campaign mode however, played offline with 3 AI-controlled Survivors.

Survivors are armed with various weapons. Pistols are the first firearms used by the Survivors & the only weapon available when incapacitated since its ammo is unlimited. Firearms have flashlights attached that can be switched on & off when needed. Improvised bombs, first aid kits & painkillers are the additional items that players can carry as they make their way to escape. Players can also shove away the Infected. Gas tanks, oxygen tanks & gas cans can be picked up, used as a melee weapon, thrown & will explode when shot.

The controls for this game is very similar with Counter-Strike, making it pretty easy to learn. The maps are never changed, so it's also easy to get to places without getting lost.

Graphics Rating: [4/5]

The graphics of Left 4 Dead really adds up the thrill while playing the game. The setting itself uses creepy fogs, blood splatters & dirtiness to add the horror & the post-apocalyptic ambiance in the contemporary places in USA.

Game Sound: [5/5]

In terms of sounds and music, the sound effects corresponds well to the environment and to the characters, making it more realistic.

Another thing is that the Survivors dialogues are so realistic as if they're talking directly to the player & the lines are almost not repeated. The sound effects makes the game's more suspense & thrilling, at the same time, terrifying; It can startle unaware players especially when it comes to the Special Infected's presence. Good thing they were able to add up some themes & sound effects dedicated to the Special Infected making it easier for the players to stay more cautious & alert at all times.

Performance Rating: [4/5]

The performance so far is okay, although there are still flaws. For instance, glitches like tossed out of the building's rooftop & the scene is forever on a third-person view with no exit appear in the campaign mode. Or whenever cheats are used glitches appear more often. Latency issues is barely a problem. The technical problems are easily resolved. The game itself, surprisingly requires little disk space, despite the graphics quality.


If you enjoy survival horror games like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Fatal Frame etc. with your friends, I highly recommend this game for horror & thrill seeking players who wish to test out their wits, bravery, coordination & most of all, teamwork.


→ Credit goes to the respective owners of the images used in this review.

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