The Update

Keeping you constant on all things gaming.

Left 4 Dead Prerelease Preview

Posted by haunt506e on November 17, 2008

Left 4 Dead Prerelease PreviewZombie RushAre you a fan of post-apocalyptic zombie survival games? Do you enjoy first person cooperative shooters? Do you enjoy the though of combining these two questions into one? If you have answered yes to any of the above questions, and you’re a gamer, you will have no doubt heard of Left 4 Dead, Valve’s next big release.

The game revolves around 4 characters – Francis, Bill, Louis, and Zoey – who are stranded in either one of four locales. Your job as one of these characters is to make it to safety, with or without your team (trying to attempt the latter will result in almost immediate failure). At its core, Left 4 Dead emphasizes teamwork. If you get left behind, you will quickly get picked off by one of the game’s 5 zombie bosses, each requiring a team member’s help to defeat. On the way, in addition to fighting off hordes of fast, intelligent zombies, you’ll pick up health, ammunition, and various explosive items, as well as additional weapons. Each locale, also called a campaign, features 5 unique stages, or maps. These maps are loaded separately but are meant to be played one after the other.

Sounds cool right? Well, it gets even cooler. You might think that after beating the game’s 4 campaigns, which each take from 45-90 minutes to complete, depending on difficulty settings, the game is over. Well, thanks to Valve’s AI “Director,” each game is guaranteed to be different. Not only do zombies spawn at different places and attack at different times from different directions, each round features different weapon and health locations, and the Director will even change the sounds and lighting to fit the mood. Every game play experience is different. I’ve played the demo’s 2 maps (2/5 of a campaign) well over 10 different times, and I could still go back and play them some more. The point is, the AI “Director” ensures that no game is the same, and gives this game a ton of replay value.

Zombies in the Woods!Maybe that’s still not enough for you. Maybe you’re a multiplayer fan? Left 4 Dead’s got that too. In the Multiplayer Versus mode, 4 human survivor players face off against 4 human-controlled zombie characters in addition to the AI-controlled horde, diversifying the experience even more. It’s the same game as before, only this time the zombies will communicate and act together, setting up ambushes and traps in order to defeat the survivors. For those without live, split screen modes are available as well, with AI bots taking the place of the otherwise human survivors.

Valve also plans on releasing downloadable content packs in the form of new campaigns, characters, weapons, items, and boss zombies to its customers. The Left 4 Dead DLC will be, as far as I know, available for free for PC owners as soon as the DLC is released, but Valve has had some difficulty with Microsoft over releasing this same content free of charge on the Xbox 360. Whatever the case, I won’t mind paying $5.00-$10.00 on additional content for Left 4 Dead, especially when the game has such an incredibly high replay value.

Left 4 Dead comes out tomorrow, November 18th, in the United States and on Friday, November 21st, in Europe for the Xbox 360, PS3, and the PC. If you haven’t already preordered or reserved your copy, hit the stores quickly for your copy, this one’ll be big.


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