Left 4 Dead
If you are in the market for a new zombie game, Left 4 Dead is very much for you. My initial thoughts about Left 4 Dead flew back to Silent Hill, however Left 4 Dead is much more interesting and entertaining then any previous zombie themes game I have ever played. I have so far put in about 36 hours of gameplay into my new purchase of Left 4 Dead, and I must say I enjoyed every bit of it. There are a few keys in Left 4 Dead which make it a successful game. One is the co-op play. The game does have a single player, offline mode, and also does support AI controlled team members on online play. However the online co-op play with other human controlled team members makes things interesting. While yes, sometimes you get matched up with people who don't know what they are doing (I was one of those such people for the first few hours), generally the game experience is enjoyable. I often find myself bursting out in laughter, sometimes uncontrollably, at various predicaments and events which happen in the game. Another key factor is the fact that the game is completely random. Mobs (enemy monsters, or zombies) will spawn in any random location, based on how well you are playing, and the speed at which you are traveling among a number of other factors. This aspect can really stick a team into some very sticky situations. You will at least once in any game, be pinned down by a horde of zombies. The basic concept of the game is that you have a group of survivors who are immune to the zombie virus. They need to leave the infected city (or area) before the government bombs it. To do this, they need to work together to survive. While they ARE immune to the zombie virus, they are not immune to injuries suffered during zombies attacks. Therefore care must be taken to keep everyone alive. Impairing their advance to safety, you will find a few easily recognizable mobs. The Common Zombie, which will look like everyday people, wearing uniforms and clothes, however turned into zombies. These Common Zombies are not a threat alone, however in large hordes or swarms of them, you will run into problems. And Common Zombies do swarm frequently, specifically at choke points or times when it may impair the teams movement forward. Hunters are the most common 'mini boss' in the game. Hunters are quick jumpers who have a distinctive growl. They can leap great distances and pin survivors to the ground and do a decent amount of damage to them. During this time the survivor who is pinned is unable to do anything unless a team member helps them. Hunters are useful to target people who stray too far from the group. Smokers are the 2nd most common 'mini boss' in the game. They are tall creatures with large tongues, which they can lash out and use to pull survivors towards them. During this time the survivor who is pinned is unable to do anything unless a team member helps them. Smokers are useful in pulling survivors away from objectives or in such a way as to delay their advancement. Boomers are likely the most powerful 'mini boss' in the game. However they are also the most fragile, having only 50 health. The Boomers primary weapon is a 'projectile vomit' ability, which, if it lands on survivors, will attract a great number of common zombies to that person, and likely pin the group down. Tanks are the main bosses in the Game. A Tank is a large mass of flesh which moves fairly quick, can throw large objects, and can almost one shot any survivor in melee range. Like all other mobs in the game, Tanks can spawn randomly and their spawn times and counts can vary greatly. In one run you might get 2 or 3 Tanks during the whole run, in another run of the same map at the same difficulty you may only get one spawn. It very much depends on what happens and how well the group is progressing. Witches are another type of boss in the game. However Witches are usually avoidable bosses. The Witch has a cry which can be heard from far away, the Witch is content to sit where she is as long as she isn't disturbed. Flashlights, noises, or contact with the Witch will anger her. The Witch can easily take out one person (the person she goes after is the person who annoyed her), and may heavily damage others in the group before she dies. There are a few modes of play in Left 4 Dead. One is the Solo single player mode, which takes you through the story with the help of AI team mates, who actually are fairly good about covering your back. Another mode is the Versus mode, where the player may play either Human or the Infected. Playing as the Infected, you will spawn as one of the 3 'mini bosses' listed above. You will usually be able to pick your spawn point, on the fly. Also, as an Infected player, you are able to see where the Human players are at all times, even through walls. This helps you form a strategy and plan ambushes more effectivly. While Infected players usually wont last very long, when face to face with gunfire, ambushes and targeting players who stray from the team is the most effective way to kill people. There is also the Campaign mode in which you play with other players, against the AI controlling the enemy mobs. This however is more difficult then the Solo game. All in all, I say that Left 4 Dead is a great buy, especially now that it is selling for $37 on Steam. I am having a ton of fun with it, and am always entertained, even if my team is failing horribly.