Plain and simple, this is the best zombie game to date!
The AI "Director" as it's called creates a different play experience each and every time. Doesn't matter if it's the same level, they'll throw different amounts of the "infected" (zombies) at you, from different directions, at different times, which completely changes the games replay value. And it not only controls the zombies, it also controls music, weapon placement (so certain weapons aren't in the same place each and every time you play), and so on.
And you never know how deformable the terrain is until the Director throws a Tank at you (a really HUGE musclebound zombie that will rip you to shreds). For example I had a Tank come bombing at me, rip a whole in a subway car and just destroy everything around me, including myself...
Now one of the main reasons you should buy the game, the split screen and system link play. You can play split screen with a friend, then hookup online with another friend. Then to take it to a whole-nother-level, 8 player versus mode. Up to four players take control of the Survivors and up to four players take control of the unique zombies (such as Tanks and Smokers) along side of the AI controlled zombies.
The other unique feature the game has are voice commands between the survivors, some are even automatic like when you are reloading, so that the other survivors don't reload at the same time just in case zombies start coming at you. A nice feature that really prevents everyone from reloading at once and getting swarmed.
I would consider this the "must have game of the season" bar none!
A completely different gaming experience every time you play.
Play with friends on the same system via split screen, online, or both!
Very tense and suspenseful music and spooky sounds give you the creeps.
TONS of replay value.
Amazing zombie death animations (physics based).
AI survivors will actually heal themselves, heal eachother, heal you, and exchange items!
Never knowing when something really bad is about to come down on you.
AI survivors sometimes just stand in the way or don't help you when you are in trouble.
on November 20, 2008
One of my largest criticisms of the video game industry is the real lack of offline co-op and multiplayer games in the next-generation consoles. Pure would've been a great party game had there been an offline multiplayer. Concurrently Battlefield: Bad Company and Far Cry 2, which were awesome single-player games, would have been even better if the game allowed a second player to join in on co-op. There is online co-op with a few games but nothing serious.
Offline co-op is not as popular as it was with the XBox since every video game developer thinks because World of Warcraft has over 10 million subscribers that the vast majority of gamers play online. This couldn't be any further from the truth as the many developers are learning that casual gamers have become the dominating class, which has led to Nintendo's domination in video game sales for the past two years. Most gamers just do not wish to play some random kid in Europe or some 13-year-old kid from Wyoming dropping f-bombs like the Allies in WWII.
And let's face it here! How many times did we wish Resident Evil games were co-op? Especially Resident Evil 4 or the Outbreak series? Zombies are fun to kill (again) and maim but doing it with a friend can be such a (non-gay) bonding moment for us guys.
Enter Left for Dead.
"LFD" was primarily advertised, and hyped at the latest E3 summit, as the great zombie co-op game not just online but offline as well. Based almost primarily on this (that and I love playing as Vietnam veterans), my little brother and I saved up for this one so we could finally kill mass hordes together rather than one at a time while the other sits there patiently twiddling his thumbs. We brought it to our home, put it in and were immediately taken in by the mass sound interacting with our Yamaha home theater. It was, for a lack of a better term, really loud.
We loved the introduction screen, which pretty much summed up the entire game: run, shoot a lot, help others, heal, run some more, shoot a lot more some at special bad guys, revive fallen team member, heal, run a short distance and get to "safe" point and prepare for round 2-4. Simplistic, yet incredibly entertaining. The levels are equally simplistic as the linear environments make the path to follow as easy as the aiming system, which is dead-on accurate. There were many times when zombies would spill through a doorway and were quickly stopped because I took the Microsoft approach of "point, click, and hold" and their advance halted as quickly as it started.
To me, this was a little disappointing as I was hoping for a more Resident Evil experience where you hoarde ammo and supplies in a true survival horror environment. Instead, generic piles of ammo will refill your entire stock as many times as you wish (at least in easy and normal difficulty). Medical kits are a little more sparse and healing requires you to spend about ten seconds without being interupted.
However, this is not to say I did not enjoy it. The gratuitous level of violence, which would make Terrintino retire since he cannot possibly achieve that level of awesomeness, was entertaining. It was also great to see who got the most head-shots and did the most damage to the special villains. The sounds and asthetics also stayed true to survival horror as you could hear the groaning of nearby zombies and the crying of special villains known as witches. Be weary of them as they are NASTY.
LFD's greatest plus is the promotion of team work over one-man-army super soldiers. More often than not, first-person shooters promote the one-man-army mentality by having one person go up against legions of bad guys and emerge victoriously without so much as a scratch. There have been very few (Brothers in Arms, Full-Spectrum Warrior, Conflict: Desert Storm, etc) that promote team work over solo runs but LFD makes, what I see, at the largest leap forward. There are monsters that will lunge one allies and another person must "save" them by fighting off the monsters either on top of them or dragging them off. Other times an ally is required to either revive or pull another ally from dangling over a ledge. Unless the player is unprecedently good, a player cannot survive without help from his/her allies.
The teamwork AI is balanced very well as allies will call enemies as they appear, provide fairly overlapping fields of fire, and assist you when possible. There are some glitches where they will not help you but the majority of the time they will. Co-Op wise, this really promotes teamwork and communication. While playing with my little brother, I would make sure our fields of fire would overlap and we'd cover each other as we'd move. He'd be on point with his shotgun on the left while I provided automatic fire one step behind on the right.
Now, this game does have one or two flaws.
1: The co-op was, initially, a pain to set up. Took us five minutes to set up but after that, no biggie.
2: There are some glitches pertaining to jumping. There were some times, when we were supposed to jump over obstacles but could not due to getting stuck in the environment. We have, so far, managed to get out of every one of them but when you're being swarmed by literally over three dozen zombies it becomes a matter of life and death.
3: There are some serious glitches pertaining to saving your allies. While fighting on the roof of the hospital my character was thrown by a "tank" character and left hanging over the ledge, awaiting for an ally to rescue me. HOWEVER, it was at the very beginning of the level where you are to jump off and not get back up so you could not retreat further into the level. Unfortunately for me, my friends had already jumped down leaving me stranded and waiting to die. Fortunately, a spwan point for survivors was nearby so they could instantly respawn me. This happened one more time to another ally. Such glitches should be avoided.
All in all, LFD is a great offline co-op. I always thought blowing up zombies would be a great way to promote family values such as friendship, loyalty, togetherness, and love of infinite ammo. :)
A solid 95%. 5% docked for glitches, lack of a backstory, lack of a Resident Evil experience, and lacking weapons. They needed way more weapons.
If you think about it, the zombie survival genre has a lot in common with first-person shooters (FPS). Granted, it didn't start out that way - Night of the Living Dead was more focused on the survival than the zombies, and with slow-moving zombies our protagonists could run right past the hordes of undead. With fast zombies all the rage, most prominently on display in the remake of Dawn of the Dead, the distinction between zombies and hordes of mooks is even less apparent. Its surprising it took this long for someone to finally make a FPS that's just about killing zombies.
"I'll see peace back on Earth if I gotta murder every one of these bastards with my bare g-ddamn hands!"--Bill
Left 4 Dead takes the FPS genre one step further and makes it a four-player team (the "4" in the title is no accident) that can be played co-op, online, or even multiplayer teams of four survivors vs. four player-controlled zombies. Divided into chapters and presented like a movie, the action starts immediately with four zombie survival stereotypes: the combat-weary war veteran (Bill, voiced by Jim French), the white collar black guy (Louis, voiced by Earl Alexander), the tough-as-nails biker dude (Francis, voiced by Vince Valensuela), and the hot chick (Zoey, voiced by Jen Taylor). Their goal is simply to survive by fighting their way through wave after wave of zombies, with the occasional super-zombie thrown in to spice things up.
That's it. That's all there is to Left 4 Dead.
And yet that simple summary doesn't do the game justice. Just as Gears of War revolutionized how cover and reloading was handled in FPS, Left 4 Dead is first and foremost a perfected multiplayer experience.
"Look on the bright side; even if you guys die, I'll still be really handsome!"--Francis
Friends can take over one of the four characters at any time, and if they're idle too long, the computer takes over. Players vote on everything, including when to skip boring sequences like summaries. And yet combat summaries are there if the group is so inclined, ranging from headshots to number of zombies killed to the amount of damage taken.
For the players who are fond of running off and being a hero, Left 4 Dead forces group teamwork: Smoker and Hunter zombies pick off loners and are a death sentence for the victim unless comrades come to his aid. Idiots who run off by themselves are dead meat. Witch zombies, which attack whomever disturbs them, forces the team to stop and think about what they shoot. Even death isn't permanent - players reappear in safe houses as survivors (who just happen to be exact copies of the original cast) so that everyone can get back to doing what they love most: killing the killed.
Left 4 Dead is light on back-story, but that's not important to the multiplayer genre either. There's enough graffiti on the walls to figure out what happened, which in case you didn't guess already, involves people getting infected and becoming zombies. What makes Left 4 Dead even sweeter is how it embraces all its zombie tropes, from the levels (escape from a hospital, from a cabin in the woods, from the top of a skyscraper) to the characters (are all reminiscent of zombie movie tropes), to little touches like how the perspective shifts to black and white when a character is about to die - shades of Night of the Living Dead!
"Mister, if one of us gets killed out here, I'm gonna shoot my way in there and beat you to death with my gun!"--Louis
Even the zombies themselves behave like bad actors. Although they can move fast when they sense prey, they die in all kinds of glorious and inglorious ways, stumbling as they lose unlife and limb. They can't even open doors, instead tearing at it with their bare hands.
The voice acting is superb, including the refreshingly confident yet feminine voice of Cortana from Halo 3, Jen Taylor. The dialogue is hilarious - Zoey's rant about "fast-moving zombies" is priceless. And there's even a Game Master-like AI Director who determines when and how to ramp up the tension against the players, precipitated by the appropriate horror-style music.
Left 4 Dead is so good that it's replaced my weekly Gears of War 2 games as the co-op game of choice. Look for Talien if you want some help surviving the zombie apocalypse.
"I just can't get over how FAST they all are, it's not even fair. I'm calling zombie bull$#!+ on that, you know? They're not...ALLOWED to be so fast." --Zoey
on December 2, 2009
Sure this game is decent, who wouldn't like going around blasting zombies into dust? The action is there, the fun multiplayer is there, the graphics are alright, but where's the campaign? I guess I'm trying to save people from making the same mistake I made purchasing this game thinking that there was a campaign mode involved which is the reason I play video games. There are basically 4 levels you play over and over as you wish alone or with friends, you cannot save your game, and besides knowing that everybody in the world is now a zombie except for you and your fellow survivors there is no plot either. This is strictly a game I play if I have buddies over, it's pretty pointless playing by yourself. I'm not trying to bash this game but I think it's important to know what it is before you buy it, it is what it is, a multiplayer game. This is not what I look for in games however so at least I'll know not to buy L4D2.
on September 10, 2015
I got this game back in 2014 of April. It's a pretty cool game. I'm really not hip on zombies games lol. But decided to try it out even though it scared me at first until I got the hang of it and don't freak out lol. My 10 year old niece loves this games also.
Left 4 Dead is probably the best original game to come out in a while. At first when I played through it I didn't really appreciate how smartly designed this game was. I also didn't realize what Valve had created as far as an infinitely replayable FPS.
Shooting zombies is almost guaranteed fun, just look at World at War's 'zombie' variant and its popularity. But unlike Dead Rising, Resident Evil or World at War, this game's premise is truly fast gameplay against a clever "director" that can alter enemy placement, musical cues, item placement and your bot allies actions. A formidable accomplishment on its own.
This game, unlike most FPS, truly rewards teamwork. You cannot beat this game without your teammates. And you'll be hard pressed to succeed unless you actually talk to your teammates about your status or what you see/know. And the great thing is that this incentive for cooperative play is a natural byproduct of the tense "survival" style of the game.
I would recommend anyone who plays this game (and likes it) to try the developer commentary option (click on "extras" on the main menu). You get to walk through the No Mercy level and hear the developers explain how and why they made Left 4 Dead like they did. A great bonus that I hope other developers include in their games.
on November 24, 2008
Yeah, if you like zombie movies or zombie anything, this is what you're looking for. You won't be disappointed. Very nice job to the makers of this one. When is Left 4 Dead 2?
-Literally like watching Dawn of the Dead except you are in the movie
-If you liked Dead Rising way back when you'll love this even more
-AI is superb, different every time you play
-Multiplayer is the BEST! You MUST work as a team or you die. That simple.
-Never felt my adrenaline flow like in this game.
-I'd like to see more maps.
-Could use a little more variety in infected. Only one tank.
on August 12, 2015
So much fun for an old game. Multiplayer (2 player co-op) is what makes this game a classic. Killing zombies with friends could never be any more entertaining. Should note that the game overall is very short (campaign is like 8 hours at most) and online multiplayer is almost non existent, which is expected in an old game like this.
on October 11, 2009
It took me a while to get my paws on this game. For one thing, I don't have Xbox Live, so I didn't immediately see the appeal of a game that was being billed as an "online shooter." For another, I usually wait until games have been out a little while to see if the hype is true (and also for the price to drop.)
I picked up Left 4 Dead for 19.99, started up a campaign, and found I should have purchased this title a long time ago.
It's not really your *ideal* zombie shooter--I have yet to see one that meets my unusually high expectations for this genre--but it IS very fun.
I'll start with my few negatives, and move on to the positive.
Here's what annoyed me:
-Limited weapon selection. This is maybe the biggest disappointment, but even so, it's hardly noticeable once the action ramps up. Still, it's worth a mention. Besides pistols, there are only five weapons to choose from in the entire game: generic submachinegun, generic pump shotgun, generic assault rifle, generic hunting rifle, and a pretty spiffy lookin' auto-shotgun. And since the game tends to be either slow moments of skulking about where the pistols are most useful or frenetic rushes of undead where the assault rifle/submachinegun's hail of bullets are most useful, the hunting rifle and shotguns are of limited appeal to me, meaning that there are really only three weapons I can choose from.
-Stupid AI teammates. I know this game is meant to be played with four human players, but still! It's really frustrating when you're near the end of a campaign on Expert and your teammates run in front of your assault rifle and get shot in the back of the head, or refuse to move when you throw a pipe bomb and it unfortunately lands right beside them. Worse is when you have to sneak past a Witch. They just love to run up right next to her and fire off a shotgun blast at a distant zombie, thus dooming themselves.
Okay, that's all for the negatives!
-I really liked the presentation of the campaigns. They're fun to play through multiple times, especially since the content varies itself. While the levels remain static, enemies and items do not, and appear in random places on every play-through. This means you'll actually take the time to look around in every play-through as opposed to breezing through the levels confidently. You don't want to leave a bottle of medication or a closet-full of zombies behind you.
-It's really satisfying getting a headshot in this game.
-I love the dual pistols for every situation except those frantic rushes or special infected. There's nothing like coming around a corner, seeing a hallway full of zombies, and emptying a pair of .45s into them, and seeing them all crumple to the floor as the smoke clears. And I get a thrill every time I spin around to see one running up on me, only to double-tap them in the chest at close range and see them skid to a halt at my feet.
-The Witches are nerve-wracking little wenches. The distant crying is a little creepy, but the closer you get, the faster your heart will go...the crying gets louder and louder and then that music picks up, letting you know you're right on top of her...if you're lucky, you'll spot her from a good distance away, but many's the time I heard that crying change to a low growl and came around a corner to see her standing right in front of me, ready to attack. You back off very fast in those situations, trust me.
-I liked the inclusion of the special infected. They not only added variety, but a degree of danger that kept you focused. The regular infected were predictable, but the special infected can come at you any time, and from anywhere--even the rooms you just cleared minutes earlier.
-I've noticed that either a Witch or a Tank will spawn in certain areas. This leads to some trepidation on my part as I approach those areas, wondering whether I'll hear crying or suddenly get ambushed by a hulking brute. I like that.
-The "finales" of each campaign are awesome. I love fortifying those little outposts and getting everything ready--finding the nearest source of pipe bombs is often a priority. Nothing's more thrilling or frustrating than being overwhelmed right as the rescue vehicle pulls up--it really can feel like a movie climax.
All in all, even if you don't pay for Xbox Live, I can recommend this game. The two-player mode isn't too bad, and you'll still enjoy playing with three AI teammates, too.
Give it a shot. You won't be disappointed.
I've played quite a few first-person shooters over the years and have experienced few games that revitalize the genre as 'Left 4 Dead' has.
I'll try to be concise: L4D is fun. It's entertaining to play alone, but to get the full experience, you really need to play with friends.
This isn't a game like Gears of War or Halo -- as good as you get, you still won't make it without your comrades backing you up, as you can easily be overhwhelmed by zombies at any moment... especially the 'special' zombie varieties (of which there are 6) capable of incapacitating your character (pinning or constricting you and draining your health) until a teammate comes to revive you.
The best feature of the game is definitely the 'Versus' mode, where up to 8 players can face off in two teams of four, alternating between Survivors and Zombies. As survivors, you find yourself beset not only by the zombie hordes, but the players on the enemy team who constantly spawn as 'special' zombies.
The tension of playing through each round in Versus as the survivors is offset by the opportunity for your team to play the zombies and work strategically to distract / disorient / disable your opponents.
As survivors, you work your way through the map, aiming for the safe house that marks the end of each round (there are 4 safe houses in each campaign) -- you're constantly blasting away zombies and using the landscape to your defensive advantage.
As zombies, you're suddenly given new abilities to lasso and strangle the survivors, mark them as targets for hordes of normal zombies, or tackle them and claw their faces to shreds -- but as a lone zombie, you'll be easy prey for the survivors' team. You'll be challenged to work with your zombie teammates to break down the survivors' formation and mutual support, leaving them vulnerable to an ambush that'll hopefully incapacitate or kill all the survivors.
While there are only 4 campaigns -- only two of which are playable in 'Versus', though that's going to be remedied in a forthcoming free-of-charge content download -- the gameplay is dynamic and the challenge is never the same, as each play-through boasts randomly generated encounters and power-ups / weapon locations. While it's not the same as having a dozen different maps to explore, the random enemies and items, combined with the thrill of working with your friends as either survivors or zombies will keep you entertained for a long time.
If you're a fan of Horror or FPS games and have friends to play with, get this game!