The legacy of Left 4 Dead lasted longer than the pot flash that the series was under Valve’s control. The original was a big hit in 2008 and the sequel was controversial a year later, but since then? Well, there were countless patches, some additional campaigns (made by some communities), but most importantly, there was no direct sequel.
Undoubtedly, it’s still the king of adaptive co-op shooters of that particular style, but it hasn’t stopped the emergence of some disguiser to the crown in the last few years, Warhammer: Birmintide. And World War II Z is probably the best known of these. Now there is a new challenger, the true heir to the throne following the naming of “something 4 something else”. Back 4 Blood is probably the closest thing to Left 4 Dead 3 in quite some time.
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Of course, there are good reasons for that. Back4Blood is from the creator of Left 4 Dead. The short time of turtle lock as part of the valve gave birth to this collaborative shooter. Regaining their independence in 2010 now seems to be the secret to the death of the series, but leaves behind them the game title and rights to the world. Back 4 Blood has a lot of Left 4 Dead traps and feels, but it’s something else.
The basics of the co-op shooter remain. There are up to 4 human players (AI characters sub-in to back you up as needed), go through levels, move from safe to safe home, and hordes of fast-moving zombies. I will try to dodge. Oh, I’m sorry … not a zombie, not an “infection”, but a “ride”.
It’s not just normal zo … A special enemy that appears as well as riding. Left 4 Dead fans will almost immediately recognize the silhouettes of the game’s Boomber, Charger, Hunter, etc., but that’s all a trick. These are not the special things you remember and behave quite differently. Retch has most of the boomer, but like the L4D spitter, it can also vomit projectiles. The hocker flies a bit like a hunter, but fires a binding web from a distance to lock one of you in place. Bruiser may have a single giant club arm for the Chargers, but it’s about its devastating melee attack and you won’t be tempted by unlucky accusations. All of them highlight the weaknesses and try to get rid of them, pushing you to more sophisticated play.
Next is Oji, a giant monster that is literally the size of a house. It dominates every level or area it spawns, and it has a health bar, but your only real option is to run and escape to a small island of safety. You can virtually guarantee that the battle of the campaign is actually going to face and fight this tank.2..
All of this can be dynamically thrown by the game, causing hordes of enemy waves to overwhelm you in different areas each time you play. The auger never gets out of the ground in one play and can face the auger and be forced into a completely different play in the next play. One thing that feels very clear is that Back 4 Blood is much happier to throw more special Ridden at you in a horde that feels a bit thicker than it saw 10 years ago. .. You can pop one Retch into a damp, acidic explosion and watch another Retch turn a corner and occupy that place.
It’s at least partly due to the card system woven into Back4Blood. The AI will be dealt damaged cards at the beginning of the game and at each safe home, adding enemies and specials to the mix, making ammo hard to find and fog around the world.
To counter this, you have your own player card that gives you a specific bonus. These can be incorporated into the deck to guide the selected character to a particular playstyle over time. Perhaps it provides fire resistance, life expectancy at the expense of health, amplifies melee damage, and modifies the team’s viability. The speed increases a little with each melee kill. They are summarized a bit more often in percentage statistics boosts, but could be a really interesting system here, especially as the game aims to have the same kind of replay values as Left 4 Dead at the time.
We were keenly aware of the lack of ammunition and weapons as we ran through the closed alpha campaign, the battle to reach the bridge and blow up the riverboats that connect both sides of the river. There was a weapon type specific ammo pickup instead of a universal ammo pile, and finding a sniper bullet all the time in one play became a running joke, but I’ve never seen a sniper rifle using it. The Safehouse is no longer a place to fully wear new weapons, but has a store where you can spend coins earned throughout the level. You can buy grenades, partial ammo refills, scopes, and attachments, but due to pricing, some of these are out of reach.
Without a doubt, the balance was just right. Playing with the basic difficulties, we overcame some awkward situations – the appearance of one Ogre almost wiped out both retries – possible ammo shortages at various times. I have, but I have either arrived at the next safe house or stumbled. Pick up one of the rare weapons and exchange it for another ammo type.
There’s a clear way to move the game from closed alpha to full release in June 2021, and Turtle Rock will gradually rebalance all of these factors, but Back 4 Blood will soon be the wonder of Left. I feel like a successor. 4 dead.
Tanks are dead and demons live longer!
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