Left 4 Dead Review
Left 4 Dead features excellent cooperation in well balanced asymmetric competitive multiplayer.
Posted by Ben Thomas (nutcrackr) on Feb 19, 2009 - 6:00pm EST (Feb 19, 2009 18:00)
Great multiplayer games keep on giving even through repetition. Left 4 Dead is a game that keeps giving me enjoyment when I’m doing the same sequences over and over. One of the keys to this is how things play out differently each time. Of course nearly all good multiplayer games rely on the fact that you aren’t playing through the same situation, but L4D can ruin or highlight your day in the span of about 10 seconds. A well coordinated attack from the infected results in all survivors incapacitated and the round finishes. A good defensive move just before the safe room will ensure your entire team survives. Left 4 Dead is a pretty basic concept, four survivors work together against fast zombies to traverse a linear series of maps that form a campaign.
The multiplayer versus mode is asymmetrical, and it’s surprising how well it works at times. As a survivor your job is simple, get to the safe room alive with your team. To do this you’ll need to stay close, and help each other. Those who run ahead or lag behind are often targets for the enemy team, so you will always need to know where all of your team is. As infected you will mostly be trying to gradually reduce the survivors’ health. To do this well you’ll need heavy coordination and teamwork, using distractions, traps or the maps themselves to your advantage. Any single infected boss isn’t going to make much of an impact on their own against a good team except for the Tank. In combination, the special infected bosses can deal some massive damage, if you can split the survivors up you are halfway to victory.
Survivors move through levels and pick up audio and visual signals as to the location of the special infected. This helps them prepare or indentify where the danger is coming, sometimes it may be a good move to track them down and kill them before they attack because there is at least a 15 second spawn time before they can come back. If a horde is attacking your team you’ll be less likely to notice special infected due to the sound and visual impairment. The melee type infected class that pounces and slashes – Hunter – can blend in with the crowd and make a few slashes before he dies. He can come from high above and maul a targeted survivor with bonus pounce damage although landing big pounces on moving survivors takes skill. Boomers are fat; they vomit bile which sends a new horde of basic zombies to the vomited on victims, usually effective in open spaces so hordes can surround victims. The standard zombies aren’t particularly dangerous in themselves but for boss infected, it means time to attack. Those vomited on have greatly reduced vision which aids the attack and sets the stage for some serious survivor separation.
Along the levels two even more other special infected will appear a witch and a Tank. The witch sits alone, crying. If somebody gets close to her she growls, flashlights are also easily spotted by the witch. The witch gradually gets mad at survivors near her, once annoyed the witch will speed run to the person who set her off, instantly incapacitating them on contact. Then she will rapidly tear the guilty survivor to shreds and if the other survivors are occupied or far away it results in death. She hasn’t got much health however and can be avoided. Infected use her more as a tool, because unprepared or surprised the witch results in one survivor down at least. The Tank unlike the witch can be controlled by a random infected player. His job is to get busy bashing the survivors. He has pretty high health and can knock the humans around quite well. In close quarters he’s deadly and can knock survivors off roof tops with the right punch and angle, which is hilarious. He can lob rocks and throw cars at survivors and in some cases is better off doing just that from a distance. On fire his fate is shorter, but in combination with other infected it’s one of the best chances for survivor annihilation you get, or at least do some considerable damage. The tank can usually be defeated fairly easily by four healthy survivors so additional help from other infected is a must.