Product Type: Electronic Arts Xbox 360 games
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Left 4 Dead
Left 4 Dead (Xbox 360)
Member Name: Natdaprat
Left 4 Dead (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Co-op. Zombies.
It's from keen observation that I have concluded zombies are second only to ninjas, pirates and monkeys that nerds like and need to shut up about. It seems like whenever a new engine comes out one of them, or all of them, think that they have to make a zombie mod for it with nothing but a gun model and some concept art drawn when they where 4, but quickly give up when they soon realise they're only experience lies in lego. Now Valve have come along and shown us how much of a nerd they are, if that wasn't already obvious with their main game being about a scientist in outdated glasses beating up american football playing marines, by creating Left 4 Dead, a zombie game. There's been tons of games with zombies in, but they're usually just obstacles in corridors interchangeable with terrorists, aliens or traffic barriers.
The trick is to recreate the tension and emotion of the apocalypse while you and 3 other remaining sane people huddle together in a basement somewhere while the entire human population wait outside rubbing their bellies and waving knifes and forks. That is a true zombie game. If you can pull it off you could replace the zombies with giraffes and it'd still be a good game. That is what Valve have gone for, oppressive co-op fun. When I say co-op imagine it as an 80 foot concrete word. Usually in co-op games it's a single player game with an idiot following you around hoovering up all the health and ammo. But L4D is a rare co-op game where the other players are actually necessary. You need 4 guns to take on the hordes and to save you from special infected that choke you with their tongue. So if you separate from the group you might as well drizzle chocolate on your shoulders and clean your hair in BBQ sauce. Although frankly the other players are also a major threat due to friendly fire. Sometimes telling the difference between a dishevelled muddy survivor and a dishevelled muddy marathon runner can be difficult in the middle of a fight, and if you think about it for too long you might lose another two mouthfuls of brain.
On another less ethical gameplay element you can opt to play as the special zombies themselves, which transforms the game from tense survival horror to an hilarious grieifing engine. It's nice to see creative thinking rewarding when you leap on another player from a bin and start ripping his nipples off, and it's also curiously satisfying for me in ways I should tell my psychiatrist about.
If you want plot in L4D there's certainly not a lot of that. 'Here are some zombies' sums it up. Other than that you're part of the 4 most unlucky survivors ever who repeatedly get rescued only for their pilot to turn into a zombie and crash. There's the old Vietnam veteran, the tattoo'd biker guy, the hot college chick who probably sleeps with her ass to the wall and the office worker guy that never needs to shave. It's also not the game for you if you like to see games evolve to some form of closure and stays on a good difficulty curve. L4D stays halfway up the difficulty chart and stays there forever.
Playing the same 4 campaigns over and over might not seem fun, but the repetition is eased by the so called AI director. An omnipotent figure lurking in the shadows that throws health and ammo when you need it and summons a billion zombies whenever he's bored. Which is all the time. I saw somebody pray to the AI director once. That's probably how cults are started.
As a game L4D is beautifully designed but I'm not entirely convinced. It's a great social experience amongst your friends in preperation for the real apocalypse, which is coming!
To buy it now would be useless as the game doesn't hold a candle to L4D2, but check my review on that later for more.
Summary: Valve do it again.