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Posted 17 May 2007 - 07:27 PM
Left 4 Dead is absolute chaos. It is intense, fast-paced, thrilling, exhilarating, and exhausting. It is everything you could ever hope for a game to be and more - every single expectation I had for the game was blown away entirely. I was literally in awe over how fun and unique of an experience it offered and I have to say that it was honestly the best gaming experience I've had in my life.
We as gamers seem to hear this kind of sensationalism for unreleased games far too often, and believe me that I too have been the victim of such unwarranted hype - but I promise you that these are not empty words. This game is truly original and it offers up a pure gaming experience. Everything in Left 4 Dead is geared towards reaching that mindset of pure gaming bliss. It is challenging, and you will fail. You will scream, curse, laugh and cry, and love every single second of it.
The goal of Left 4 Dead is simple: survive. You are one of the lucky few survivors of a new and highly virulent strain of the rabies virus that has spread throughout the human population, turning the unfortunate masses into rabid, bloodthirsty zombies. You must work together as a team if you want to have any chance of making it out alive. For those of you who don't already know, Left 4 Dead is a first person multiplayer co-op survival horror shooter built on the Source engine. Left 4 Dead pits 4 human Survivors against 4 human or AI controlled boss infected, which with the help of dozens upon dozens of the AI-controlled infected horde, try their hardest to make the Survivors fail. The four campaigns that will be released at launch are all of the "Survive and Escape" variety, where the group of survivors will have to battle their way through large, varying environments filled with boss infected and zombie hordes in the goal of escaping.
I have to point out a very important detail - THIS IS A CO-OP GAME. It is not Counter-Strike, it is not Unreal Tournament, it is not Doom, it is not Half-Life. I will repeat, it is a co-op game. Everything about it is catered to you and your three friends working together and trying to stay alive - you really don't have much time to worry about anything else! As I will explain in this preview, Turtle Rock Studios has taken a concept that seems so perfect for a game (co-op and zombies), and just about every imaginable feature you could think of and has turned it into an amazing, fluid, immersive co-op experience that has shaped up to be a truly unique and awesome game.
<H1 class=one>HOSPITAL RUNTHROUGH</H1>The hospital mission starts on the roof of an apartment building. We grabbed our guns (I took a pump shotgun), health packs and grenades and headed out. We opened the door and headed in. Right at the bottom of the stairs a zombie was waiting for us. Bam. I immediately noticed the amazing blood and gibs effects, and a smile came to my face.. oh was it beautiful. We continued on, killing many zombies in the apartment building, finally making it out. Everything was going great so far, a pretty normal experience..
.. and then we made it outside. A large open area awaited us right after the alleyway, and what happened next will remain imprinted in my brain forever. To our right were a couple dozen zombies, all walking around like zombies do, some up close and others far away, and then one turned and looked our way. And then another. The music started to build and get more intense. In what has to be the most amazing scene in gaming I've ever laid my eyes upon, this mass of rabid zombies all turned and dashed right towards us, with incredible fluidity. Not only that, but on our left was a chain-link fence that another dozen or so started to climb over, hell-bent on killing us. This mass of zombies climbed over cars, fences, and came around buildings and it was so amazingly realistic and blindingly fast that I was quite literally stunned. My instincts took over and my shotgun started shooting, mowing down zombie after zombie, but they were far more in number and speed than I would have ever prepared for. With only 8 shells in the shotgun, they ran out fast.. fortunately for me, my teammates were right there beside me and we successfully defended ourselves against the zombie horde.
I need to stop my story here to really emphasize exactly how the horde moves. The zombies in Left 4 Dead are amazingly fast. I can assure you that whatever you have imagined, and certainly what you've been accustomed to in games past, doesn't come close to what the reality of the situation is. If you've ever seen 28 Days Later and the way the zombies sprint and attack like it's their only reason for existence, which really is the case in L4D, you might have a better understanding. They don't just run straight at you, either - they're very good at dodging one way or the other right when you want to shoot. I was really shocked with how great they looked running around corners, over cars and fences, and through doors and windows. The view and the sound and the environment really come together brilliantly to create a feeling of real fear and awe.
Anyways, back to the hospital mission. I wish I could tell you that we valiantly fought our way through the entire scenario, through the subway, office building, another long street, a pawnshop and convenience store, outside and into a warehouse, down through the sewers, up into the hospital, onto the roof, battled our way through the finale and escaped happily ever after. I wish I could tell you that. The truth of it is though, shortly after the first outside area, we died. When all of the survivors die, you start all the way back at the beginning of the scenario no matter how far you have gotten. I also wish I could tell you that we learned from our mistakes and then survived. We didn't. A combination of the infected horde, Boomer and Hunter didn't let us go past the sewers - back to the starting for us. Third times a charm, right? Well, sort of.. we did make it to the finale, where we successfully dealt with wave after wave of infected attacks, but in the end, only one out of the four survivors made it out on the helicopter alive.
And that was on Normal.
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