Sunday, August 29, 2010

Left 4 Dead Freaky Free Friday - Have you killed your share?

Yesterday on the 1st of May, Steam activated the “Freaky Free Friday” Left 4 Dead promotion, where every steam user recieved a free 1 day trial of the zombie infested mayhem on the steam network. I myself, having only ever played Left 4 Dead once before, took this opportunity to join in on the madness and shoot my share of infected.
The game its self is based on the aging but still briliant Source engine, which was used for the Half-life 2 series of games as well as Team Fortress 2, Portal and Counterstrike: Source. The Modeling is certainly a few levels above that of Half-life 2, with the character detail being stepped up, the shaders improved, much better fire effects, as well as a much thicker level of immersion into the game.
Left 4 Dead is based around 4 outbreak survivors who fight their way through 4 different storylines. All 4 story lines are based in different settings. As the last remaining 4 uninfected humans, you fight your way through either the city, train yards, an airport or a small rural town. The 4 characters of the game are Zoey, a girl who seems a little out of place when it comes to shooting guns at horrifying monsters. Bill, a war veteran who throughout the game treats the others like they were part a military squad. Louis, oddly enough the only African-American in the game, who would probably have been seen in an office before the outbreak due to his clothes being a red tie, a white shirt and dark pants. And last but not least, Francis, the biker who hates almost everything except vests… (a video has been made in regards to this and has been embedded below).

The gameplay of this zombie horror movie look-alike is rather thrilling, although, in my case, the games thrill wore off rather quickly after about the 3rd zombie horde. Throughout the game you blast your way through the “common” infected, who most the time just stand there headbutting the wall or slowly scurrying towards you. Their damage is not very remarkable and it takes quite a few of them to become a bother. What you really need to look out for are the “special” zombies, and when i mean “special” i dont mean “dumber than your average zombie” but more like the fact that they’re gonna kill you if your friends dont come to help. These “special” zombies that you gotta keep and eye, and ear out for are Boomers, Witches, Hunters, Smokers and the byfar most dreaded of all, Tanks.
boomerThe Boomers -
The most ugliest zombie in the game, is also by far the most useless. the Boomer is fat, slow and explodes when you shoot it. Sure, the exploding part may seem harmful, but the only real time the Boomer is damaging to either you or your team is when you may happen to be within its explosive / vomiting radius, which, is probably only 3 meters. If you get vomited on, or caught in its explosion, you become covered in “Boomer bile” which attracts zombie hordes to those covered.  This can become problematic whilst already beating off a horde, or it could just be a day brightener as it brings more stuff to shoot at. Overall, i have never seen the Boomer be used effectivly online in the “Versus” game mode or in the “Survival” mode, wit hthe exception of occasional luck, and idiocy of the other team, for example, shooting a Boomer at point blank with the others of the group standing right next to them.
witchThe Witches -
One of the coolest zombies you’l ever meet. This barely clothed twig is commonly heard but not seen. She spends most of her time crying loudly in a dark corner or alleyway just waiting for someone to stroll by and piss her off. You may think, “pfft, this is just a silly twig thing that i could probably shoot to hell in two shots”, but don’t be fooled, this zombie takes around 1000 damage to kill, moves as fast as a Hunter and will rip you to bits in seconds. So when you find yourself in a room with a Witch, its the better idea to stay away from it, turn off your flashlight and do not shoot at it! If playing online in Survival mode, be sure to inform the rest of your gang, and be sure they’re all ready, before fighting a Witch. Accidental triggering of a Witch can easilly kill your entire team, if they already had their hands full. One thing i was dissapointed with, was that you cannot play as the Witch in a Versus mode match.
hunterThe Hunters -
Quite probably the most blood pumping zombie encounter, is that of a Hunter. This cloaked menace is the spiderman wannabe of the game, leaping from building to building, and then onto your face, this zombie is highly agile and jumps quickly from point to point. If you’re not careful enough, this zombie could probably scare the hell out of you, he is silent, hard to spot and does lots of damage. If you’re a good shot, then killing a Hunter is a walk in the park, but the the inexperienced shooter, a Hunter could be simply too fast for you to track and could be ripping your face off before you know it. In “Versus” mode, this class is particularly my favourite. With the ability to shred people into being incapacitated, it is rather effective against stragglers who fall behind the group, as you can spawn behind them and take them out one by one.
smokerThe Smokers -
The only long ranged attack zombie is the Smoker. The Smoker can be quite the bother in an already tense fight, as they shoot their tongue at you and lasso you, from that point you only have a few seconds to find where its coming from and shoot it, if not, you get dragged away by it and you will then rely souly on your team mates to take it out, before it takes you. When a Smoker is killed, its name becomes understandable. Somehow the Smoker burstes out smoke, which inhibits vision. If caught in a Smoker cloud, be sure to move away from it as soon as possible, because who knows what could be infront of you, if you cannot see it. Online, in versus mode rounds, the Smoker can be tactically used with a Hunter, to take out two of the survivors at the same time. To do this, all the Smoker has to do is lasso the further enemy whilst the Hunter tackles the closest, thus incapacitating both survivors, stopping them from easily taking the two of you out. Once the Hunter has finished ripping one survivor apart, he can then move to the other. An interesting fact about the Smoker, is that it has the odd ability to bite off its own tongue, and then suddenly grow another 10 meter long tongue in less than 7 seconds.
The Tanks -
The Tank is by far the most devastating zombie of them all. This grey incredible hulk, pretty much has the same capabilities as the green one. This massive zombie can lob big pieces of concrete at you as well as bash you metres away to then get pounded into the floor. The Tank takes an incredible amount of damage to kill, generally you’l find yourself spraying your assault rifle into it. The Tank commonly appears just before saferooms and evac points, and during Versus mode games, being the Tank can be fun, and also be a chore. the Tank’s slow speed means that the survivors could just run away from you and shoot you at the same time. when this happens you need to take a chance and try throwing a rock at them, or punch moveable objects like cars or cargo boxes into the survivors paths, or into the surivors themselves.
All in all, Left 4 Dead is a fun game, even more so when played with a bunch of friends. This game is plain and simply made to be an online game, with tournaments already being played on the game, as well as a competitive nature amoungst the online players.
In summary, i enjoyed this game, but just like the movie “300″, once you’ve killed one thing, its pretty damned much the same with the next million more.
If you are interested in Left4Dead, or any other game avaliable on steam. you can look for more information here.
if you liked this review, feel free to leave a comment in regards to the content, or any spelling and grammar mistakes. thankyou.