Left 4 Dead
Xbox 360/ PC
Zombies, Zombies, As Far As The Eye Can See!! Just Donít Look For Anything Too Earth-shattering HereÖ
Graphics and sound are top-notch.
The entire experience is painfully boring and redundant. Variety is scarce.
Why would you take a film-inspired concept and supply it with absolutely no plot? Does not compute.
Left 4 Dead is a zombie holocaust shooter designed primarily around the 2-4 person online experience. You and your team of four survivors (see the Ď4í in the game title) find yourselves immune to a strain of rabies that has mutated the human race into a swarming abomination, hungry for the flesh of the uninfected. Your only hope of staying alive is to empty enough lead into these sacks that youíre able to clear a path to safe evacuation. This is easier said than done, of course, as Left 4 Deadís zombies not only travel in huge packs but are the fastest and most nimble youíre ever going to run into.
People love zombie games, and none have ever taken on the frenzied, high-energy FPS approach that Left 4 Dead employs. The game starts out with one of the best cinematic openings that Iíve ever seen, really. The visuals are sharp and the dread is palpable. Itís a Hollywood-quality setup for what you expect to be a genuinely engrossing and terrifying experience. Unfortunately, however, this opening turns out to be almost the best part of the gameÖand the only real Ďstoryí element youíre going to see throughout
Itís ironic because the loading screens for each of the 4 available campaign scenarios feature your characters on movie posters. So, you expect the game to take on a little bit of the character of a real movie. Seems logical right? Nope. Itís from these very launch points that Left 4 Dead goes on to deliver one of the most generic, run-and-gun, bore-fests Iíve put myself through in a long time. It really is just wave after wave of the very same thing.
Another problem is that the focus on online co-op play usually leads to some serious frustration. Part of what makes the single-player experience so boring is that the game is designed to be at its best during co-op, where each player has an equal ability to contribute. The idea is simple - stay with the team and revive/ save people when they get taken down by the unceasing zombie hoard, which happens often.
What I discovered, though, is that while the co-op elements of the game do run smoothly, they tragically complicate the experience if youíre not playing with the right people. I was constantly finding myself in teams full of nubs, who specialized in sacrificing smart strategy (i.e. running blindly through friendly fire) in order to get in front of each other and poach kills from the rest of the group. It was rare that players would notice when my character was overwhelmed or incapacitated, leading to a quick death for me and, usually, for the rest of the team as well. Iím sure itís great if you have 3 competent friends who all have a copy of the game and want to play at the exact same time, but thatís not likely to happen on any regular basis.
Left 4 Dead is better off left alone. I didnít even comment on the additional multiplayer modes, as theyíre certainly nothing special. Another criticism I left out is that there is a serious lack of weapon variety here. There are like 5 guns and 2 types of grenadesÖboring. The only redeeming qualities in this game are the visuals and audio.
If killing zombies is your thing, Iíd go with Dead Space or Resident Evil 5. Left 4 Dead stinks like a rotting corpse.
"I wish I had 4 hands so I could give it 4 severed thumbs down." - Rick James