Left 4 Dead

By on December 9, 2008

Get ready for your Resident Evil\’esque journey!

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First Impressions
My reaction is

Zombies are the paragon of fear in the heart of a horror-movie fan. Frankly speaking, we’ve all envisioned the outbreak of a zombie apocalypse and even make a mental plan for survival and escape. Problem is, the world seems pretty OK (for now) and the chances of people being turned into mindless, and flesh eating cannibals is slim (sadly). But, if you’re like us and would love to have the privilege of being the sole survivor in a world filled with zombies, your best bet is to grab a copy of Left 4 Dead and call it a day.

When Valve first announced Left 4 Dead, it sounded like the silenced cry of joy and excitement. Given the quality we’ve come to expect from Valve, it cannot be emphasized enough that Left 4 Dead is the best co-op experience we’ve ever had in a game so far and if we were to be stranded in an uninhabited island with nothing but coconuts and one video-game, it would be Left 4 Dead hands down! So, what makes this shy, slim contender a winner? Read on to find out…

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The game starts off with a gorgeous cut-scene featuring 4 survivors in a zombie packed town, fighting tooth and nail to escape with their lives intact. What happens then on is similar to this movie experience. The first campaign in the game is called “No Mercy” and it finds you and three other survivors on a rooftop filling up on ammo and med supplies. And before you dive into the madness, get a deep breath of air and enjoy the silence, for it might be the last time you’re given the opportunity.

Left 4 Dead fulfills on every category from our checklist we’ve come to expect from a survival-horror title – Plenty of guts, raging zombies, tense music, and bone-chilling drama. While you might find some of your infected residents standing still in solitude, its pure disaster most of the time when a horde of angry, infected zombies run at you to rip you limb from limb. What’s more exhilarating is that the game plays out differently every time in a row. The AI Director as how Valve refer to it, places zombies “strategically”, so the action is always gripping and there’s hardly a dull moment. From the time you step outside your safe haven, things gets very nasty and scary till you are able to successfully find a safe room. Best of all, the single played campaign can be played individually or with three other friends in co-op for added orgasm (literally). To make things more exciting, you will also be tackling the Boss Infected apart from the normal carnivorous locals.

Hunter: The most common boss infected in the game that loves to pounce on an unsuspecting victim. This bad boy can rip through his victim within second and can only be stopped by another team mate.

Smoker: The “sniper” of the infected world, this rotting mass of flesh has a long tongue and can lumber above buildings reeling in his victim from a distance like a helpless fish.

Boomer: The fatty that likes to barf on your face. If you thought that was gross enough, wait till every infected creature on the block is on your ass, attracted by the bile. Warning also goes to not fight this bully at close range unless you want him to explode, covering you with the similar green puke.

Tank: The behemoth that makes the earth tremble under his feet and can wreck havoc upon anyone that stands in his way. Be ready to empty all your bullets on him.

Witch: The innocent and haphazard girl that sits crying like as if she lost something precious. Don’t get too close though, as this innocent being can nearly kill its victim when provoked.

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One of the most fun packed things is to play as the infected in multiplayer. There no more delight than seeing your opponents sweat and run at eerie, dramatic sounds. While excess firepower and ammo are on the side of your opponents, you have the advantage for respawn. At one point while playing as the infected, we noticed that zombies, when on their own, do all sorts of…ya know.. zombie’ish activities. From puking on each other to even clawing and killing themselves, you will witness the living dead world at your leisure while waiting for the survivors to emerge from their safe house.

Graphically, it amazes us to see the Source Engine still has the potential to drive a modern day game and yet be at par to put it alongside competing titles rich in graphics and vivid in contrast. Valve has done those chilly, nerve-racking moments like getting puked on by a Boomer with absolutely perfection. It never fails to put a smile on our faces to muster a hot belly of bile on your victims and seeing them torn to shred by every zombie in the neighborhood. Blood and gore is given a facelift with an extra touch of violence to it. Moreover, the infected have been modeled brilliantly to freak the living hell out of you.

But, what makes L4D stand out is the tense and gripping audio this game implements. The distant cry of a Witch could make even a brave Spartan piss in his pants (or undies) for that matter. The game makes it a different spook level for different players with the music. While one player might be hearing nothing in a particular area, the other will be confronted with scary, dramatic music. All of which adds to the overall realism that Valve has mastered over the decade.

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With that said, the major downfall for L4D is its surprisingly short SP campaign. You can do a complete run of the game in less than 4 hours after which you’d switch your focus entirely on multiplayer. It’s hard to not recommend this game to anyone just because of its measly campaign. But, instead…for those that enjoy MP won’t regret their purchase.

L4D is extremely fun and adrenaline inducing. There has been no game so far that kept us so sprung on our wheels like a cat on caffeine and not once did the action ever go stale. You’d be lucky if you got a 2 minutes breathing space for yourself!


The Scorecard
GAMEPLAY
9.8
One of the most fun and delicious games we’ve played in a long time.
GRAPHICS
9.2
The Source Engine that drives this game still has its oomph. Gorgeous graphics conceal a thick drama.
SOUND
9.3
We could not help but panic every time we heard a distant but, distinct sorrowful cry of the Witch!
VALUE
7
It makes us angry that the game is so short. It’s like getting hit in the head just when you’re about to have an orgasm.
FUN FACTOR
9.7
Think of this as the “Holy Shit” button in the fun factor department.
OVERALL
9.7
L4D is the next best thing to a real-life zombie apocalypse with fun and excitement in abundance.

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