The Update

Keeping you constant on all things gaming.

Posts Tagged ‘Left 4 Dead’

Left 4 Dead, Survival Pack Review

Posted by haunt506e on April 28, 2009

Left 4 Dead Survival Mode

Wow its been a while… Feels kind of weird posting here since the last time I did so was way back in January (I think).

Anyways, I’m here with a quick review of Left 4 Dead’s latest DLC, the Survival Pack.  First off, you should know that this pack is free, so if you don’t have it yet, you probably haven’t played Left 4 Dead in weeks or just don’t have access to the internet on your gaming console.  The pack adds three main features to the game: Survival Mode, Last Stand, and new Versus Mode Capabilities and Restructuring.  I’ll go over each in a paragraph or so, and will be keeping this review fairly short and low-key, if that’s the correct phrase.

Ok, so, Survival Mode.  If you’ve played Gears of War 2 (if you own an Xbox 360, you probably have), then you’ll be familiar with its Horde mode.  While not an entirely unique concept, Horde mode pits a team of players against wave after wave of bad guys, with various leaderboards for completing the gauntlet.  Survival mode works in the same way, except it is much more intense, much more difficult, and much more rewarding (not really though).  In Survival mode you find yourself in a small area, usually a small segment of one of the larger campaigns, and are given tons upon tons of items with which to fend off a never-ending horde of infected.  Once you start the timer, you’re given three goals: at 4 minutes you will win the Bronze medal, at 7 the Silver, and at 10 the Gold.  Taking the Gold Medal isn’t an easy feat by a long shot, and in most cases you’ll be lucky to survive to get Silver.  For the first few minutes, a Tank appears about every minute and a half or so, and several special infected come and go in between, in addition to the normal infected.  After about 6 minutes or so, however, you’ll notice things tend to get a bit more chaotic.  You’ll sometimes face up to four smokers at once, and even have to fend off against two tanks simultaneously.

Survival Mode works pretty well and has a surprisingly high replay value, but what other new content has Valve added besides a new game mode?  To complement the Survival Mode game type, Valve has created a map especially built for the mode: Last Stand.  This map, just the perfect size for Survival Mode games, consists of a coastal lighthouse and a few surrounding woods and roads.  The lighthouse is loaded with Propane and Petroleum Canisters, Molotovs, Pipe Bombs, and every other kind of weapon imaginable.  The areas and rooms in the lighthouse are very well done and are just as detailed as any other location you would find in Left 4 Dead’s four original campaigns.  While Last Stand’s efficiency in the Survival Mode game type is arguable, it fits right in with the rest of all that is Left 4 Dead.

Finally, we have the new Versus mode feature.  Valve has finally updated the remaining two campaigns, Death Toll and Dead Air, to be available for online adversarial game play.  The two maps play just as well as the original two versus-capable campaigns, and new tweaks have allowed for even fewer bugs and hacks to be exploited.  I don’t have a whole lot to say regarding the two new versus maps, except that it extends the game’s replay value tremendously.  I spent hours upon hours playing just two campaigns in versus, and now I’ve got two more.  Joy.

Left 4 Dead’s newest DLC is without a doubt a Great Buy, if you can even call it that (it’s free of charge).  If you own the game, are connected to the internet, and have the time, I suggest you go out, download it now and try it out tonight.

So that’s the new Left 4 Dead Survival Pack in a nut-shell.  If you’ve got your own comments to add, feel free to leave a reply.  As always, don’t forget to bookmark us and subscribe to me on Twitter.

Advertisements

Posted in Playstation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360 | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Left 4 Dead Survival Guide

Posted by haunt506e on January 11, 2009

Left 4 Dead Survival Guide

Left 4 Dead Survival GuideLeft 4 Dead took the world of multiplayer gaming by storm earlier in the fourth quarter of 2008 when it released the amazingly addictive cooperative and adversarial multiplayer model that defines the core of its game play.  While a first play through in normal mode or possibly even easy mode will leave you aching for more, the game doesn’t really pick up the pace until Advanced or Expert mode, where teams must really come together if they hope to survive the zombie apocalypse.

That’s not to say that the game isn’t fun if it isn’t played in Expert mode.  On the contrary, the following strategies won’t really be necessary unless you and your teammates are playing on at least Advanced mode, or in Versus mode.

The following “Survival Guide” will teach you just that: how to survive in Left 4 Dead’s zombie-infested universe.  I’ll be covering a few general tactics, as well as a vast multitude of tactics specific to dealing with the game’s infected “classes.”  I will be detailing how to survive in Left 4 Dead, so you’ll have to wait for a little while until I can upload an “infected” guide.

This guide will assist any players who are playing either the cooperative, splitscreen, or solo Campaign mode, or when these players are on the survivors side during a Versus match.

In addition, I’d also like to note that all block quotes used in this guide are taken directly from Left 4 Dead’s user manual, specifically the Xbox 360 version’s.

And now, the Left 4 Dead “Survival Guide.”

Tactics:

  • Teamwork: If you’ve played even just one campaign in Left 4 Dead all the way through, you’ll have already noticed the huge emphasis on teamwork in the game.  That being said, if you are playing online, even with people you don’t know, you should always, always use your microphone.  By use I don’t mean have it plugged in.  You should be talking to your teammates, telling them where to go next, or who needs to be healed, or to alert them of a nearby boomer.  Without this important element, your team won’t get very far.  In addition to the “communication” part of teamwork, you should also be ready to make sacrifices in order to save your teammates.  Don’t be afraid to give up your medkit to help out a guy in red, even if you’re already in yellow.  The team only functions at 100% if all members are there helping, and, when one guy goes down, a respective 25% of the team’s efficiency is dropped as well.
  • Variety: Use a bit of variety when selecting your weapons.  Don’t let everybody just grab the shotgun.  Stick with the weapons you’re good at, but don’t limit yourself to just one.  You’ll need close ranged weapons and long ranged ones in almost every single circumstance, so its good to diversify your team’s loadout.
  • Melee: Whether you’re fighting common infected or specials, the melee button is a very important one to remember.  Sure, you can kill infected in one shot simply pulling the trigger, but by only relying on the trigger button, you’ll be subject to a continuous stream of damage from the infected that you haven’t shot yet.  Meleeing will knock infected back long enough for you to take a few out and melee more back again.  When done correctly, you will take significantly less damage if you remember the melee button than if you only stick with the trigger button.
  • Listen: Each infected type is signaled by a unique sound cue.  Listen for these sounds attentively, and it will be difficult to be caught off guard.  Playing loud music while simultaneously playing Left 4 Dead is not recommended.

Common Infected Tactics:Common Infected

  • Listen: Common infected will make weird noises when milling about on the roads and in houses, but what will signal a horde rush is a noticeable change in the background music.  The music will become much more fast-paced, and, when the horde picks up, the music will become frantic, with a quick steady beat in the background.
  • Kill from Afar: When milling about, commons are easy to pick off with either the Assault Rifle, Hunting Rifle, or the Pistol.  Using the Uzi, Shotgun, or Auto-Shotgun will work, but will be significantly less effective.  It should be noted that the commons that are milling about are very easy to take out, but if you miss a few, be prepared to lose a few health points, because they can sneak up on you before you know it.  This rule applies to horde rushes as well, as a horde rush can be easily dealt with if all team members concentrate their fire on the horde as it rushes.  However, not all hordes will come from a long distance, and, more often than not, they’ll rush through a room right next to your group and this advice will go out the window.
  • Cornered: Being cornered is not in any way shape or form, a bad thing.  Being cornered (literally, being forced into the intersection of two perpendicular walls) will help you in more ways than one.  First, you won’t have to worry about infected coming from behind.  Second, there’s a good chance that you can escape without taking any damage, as long as you constantly melee the horde.  Third, you won’t be a drain on your teammates because you are almost self-sufficient for a small amount of time.  However, hiding in a corner alone isn’t a game winning tactic, and you’ll have to move some time.  Using this strategy will only help during rushes.

Meet the zombie horde: eerily fast, sensitive to loud noises and movement, and able to attack in ravenous waves.  Luckily, you’ll be given helpful warnings throughout the game to avoid horde attacks.

Hunter Tactics: Hunter

  • Listen: Hunters don’t change the background music, but they can easily be identified by a low growling noise, as well as a high-pitched screeching noise when they pounce.  Hunters will only emit the growl when they are crouched, and will only screech when they have pounced.  When you hear either, alert your teammates.
  • Kill from Afar: While difficult to do, killing Hunters from afar is not impossible.  It will save you a lot of time and trouble by simply shooting a Hunter from a distance rather than wait for it to get up close.
  • Melee: While killing Hunters with your gun is enjoyable and easy, it is sometimes more beneficial for your teammates’ (and your own) health if you melee the Hunter first, and then gun it down.  This applies to Hunters who are jumping at you, and to Hunters who are already pinning one of your teammates.  Meleeing will instantly knock them backwards or off of your friends, and will stun them for a few seconds, alllowing you to pop them quickly before moving onwards.
  • Pinned: In the event that a Hunter successfully pins you, don’t scream at your teammates.  They are more likely to help you if you calmly alert them that there is, in fact, a Hunter ripping your guts out at the moment.  If said Hunter kills you, its alright to get a little heated, but don’t take it out on your teammates (unless they sat there and literally watched you die).  Whether you’re on a ledge and they don’t have Line of Sight, or they’re getting rushed at the time, or are possibly even blinded by Boomer Bile, sometimes it’s just really difficult for your teammates to give up their own well-being long enough to save your ass.

Boomer Tactics:Boomer

  • Listen: Like Hunters, Boomers will not change the background music.  They will, however, emit disgusting gurgling noises wherever they go, and are really easy to hear if you pay attention.
  • Kill from Afar: This is a must for Boomers.  If you see a Boomer, or maybe just the Boomer’s enormous gut, take a shot at it, even if you don’t have a big chance of hitting it.  Boomers have very little health, and shooting the Boomer from afar will kill it faster than you realize.  Taking these Boomers out will save you from at least one or more horde rushes.
  • Dodge: When Boomers get close enough to you to vomit, you can try to hide behind a wall, door, or really any object big enough to shield you.  This will block the vomit and will give you a chance to beat back the Boomer and take him out.  I’ve dodged many a Boomer’s Bile attacks by simply closing the door in his face.
  • Melee: If a Boomer winds up directly in front of you, don’t panic and unload on him with your gun.  This will cause him to explode and will cover you and any nearby teammates with Boomer Bile, blinding you and summoning the horde.  Instead, take your time to melee the Boomer, who will be stunned and will be pushed several feet backwards.  After you melee him, take a few steps backwards yourself, and, when no teammates are near it, blow the monster to pieces.
  • Slimed: If you are unfortunate enough to get covered in bile, again, don’t panic.  Take time to find a corner and dig in there, spamming melee if you have to.  This is another time when teamwork is important.  When you are blinded, you can’t see where your teammates are by using the little blue, orange, or red outlines.  You’ll have to rely on communication to find out where your friends are, and whether they’re being eaten by a Hunter or not.

Smoker Tactics: Smoker

  • Listen: Smokers will change the background music and will also emit their own characteristic sounds.  A Smoker will be “announced” to players by a quick out of place piano note.  While its difficult to pick out of the background music, this subtle note will alert survivors of the Smoker’s presence, and looking for this sound will without doubt increase your chances of survival.  In addition, Smoker’s emit coughing noises, as well as strange slurping sounds whenever they attack.
  • Kill from Afar: This is perhaps the most difficult class to kill from afar, but knowing how to find a Smoker and take it out is a necessary skill.  If a teammate gets dragged and is too far away to save, trace the tongue that is dragging him, crouch down when you’ve spotted the Smoker, and take several burst shots until the Smoker dies in a cloud of smoke.  Don’t try this with a shotgun…  You can also shoot the tongue if you can’t find the Smoker, although the tongue is harder to hit than the actual Smoker.
  • Melee: Meleeing the Smoker, or his victim, is the easiest and quickest way to get rid of him.  When he grabs an ally, all you have to do is walk up to that ally and melee him or her, which will break the Smoker’s hold.  If the Smoker is closer to you than the ally is, you can alternatively walk up to the Smoker and smack him in the face, which will not only release his hold, but will also stun him, allowing you a few seconds to take him out.
  • Dragged: Like the Hunter, if you find yourself being dragged by a Smoker, don’t panic.  Take time to alert your teammates calmly, and give them time to find you and either melee you or take out the Smoker.  If they don’t know that meleeing the Smoker’s victim will free said victim, it helps to let them know, but don’t be a jerk about it.  Smokers do less damage than a Hunter, so if a team has to prioritize, let them kill any pouncing Hunters first.

Tank Tactics: Tank

  • Listen: Tanks will change the background music drastically.  It will become even more frantic than when the horde is upon you, and the Tank’s unique music will override any other cues, making it difficult to pick out a Smoker or a Boomer when you’re getting attacked by a Tank.  Tanks can also be found if you hear a strange growling noise.  It’s difficult to describe, but, if you enter a room, hear the noise, and then the Tank’s music starts, you’ll know what it sounds like.  Unfortunately, it seems that whenever you hear the Tank’s growling, you are already too close, and the music will start even if you backtrack.
  • Kill from Afar: This is without doubt the most important advice for killing a Tank.  Don’t let a Tank get close to you, and you’ll be fine.  Survivors in green health will be able to outrun any Tank except a Tank in Expert mode, which will run as fast as the green survivors.  If you’re in red or yellow, you aren’t screwed, but you do have to be more careful.  Use the environment to cut corners and run in small windows or doors that may slow down the Tank.  Tanks will generally pick a target and chase it until it either gets too far away or it dies.  It’s run-and-gun when dealing with a Tank, and if you’re not its target, you should be crouching and shooting, so you can get more shots in.
  • Molotovs: Molotovs are very effective on Tanks, but should really only be used when playing in either Advanced or Expert Campaign mode.  When a Tank is on fire, the fire doesn’t deal any additional damage, but instead sets the Tank on a “timer.”  After the timer runs out, the Tank will die, regardless of how much damage it took.  Shooting a Tank while it’s on fire will kill it just as fast as shooting a Tank that isn’t on fire.  On Expert mode, its often easiest to just light the Tank and run, as Expert Tanks have a ton of health.
  • Cornered: Getting cornered by a Tank isn’t something you want to shoot for, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re dead.  Alert your teammates, and have them stand behind the Tank while they unload on it.  If they respond quick enough, you may just survive.  In Versus mode, if you’re downed, the Tank player will generally leave you and go attack your other teammates.  It’s a good idea to revive any downed teammates whenever you get the chance during a fight with a Tank, because if you all get downed, you’ll lose.

Witch Tactics:Witch

  • Listen: Witches can be distinguished by their crying.  It will intensify and the music will get creepier as you get closer.  Using these music changes will help you avoid the Witch, even if you never set eyes upon her.  When she has been startled, she’ll start making a strange scream, and the music will become frantic.
  • Avoid: If you’re able to, just bypass the Witch.  She isn’t worth the trouble.
  • Kill from Afar: If you can’t walk past her, you might have to gun her down.  Under certain circumstances your team can simultaneously open fire on the Witch and she will die before she reaches your group.  However, these circumstances are few and far between, so don’t count on having the advantage of distance all the time.  Alternatively, one player can startle the Witch and run, and, provided the Witch doesn’t reach the runner, you’ll come out of the encounter unscathed.  This method is a bit too chaotic, however, and isn’t recommended.
  • Crown’d: The Crown’d method is the best way to take a Witch out if sneaking isn’t an option.  To do this, you’ll need a Shotgun.  One-shotting the Witch is easiest with the pump-action Shotgun, but is possible with both.  What you’ll need to do is sneak up behind the Witch, wait for her to look around at you and stand up, and then pump a few rounds into her head.  Don’t stop to see if you got her in one shot, because the moment she turns around, you’re downed.
  • Molotovs: The only reason you should be using a Molotov on the Witch is to get the achievement.  Other than that, don’t be an idiot and try to light her on fire…

Witches only want to be left alone so they can enjoy a good cry. They hate fl ashlights and loud noises, but what they hate more than anything is being shot at. If you hear the Witch’s tell tale sobs, turn off your flashlights and try to sneak around her. If she starts to get angry, her growl will let you know she’s close to attacking.

Tips N4G

Posted in Game Guides, PC, Xbox 360 | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Left 4 Dead DLC Officially Announced

Posted by haunt506e on December 29, 2008

Left 4 Dead

Yes, it’s true,  DLC (Down-loadeable? Content) has been announced for my favorite game of 2008, Left 4 Dead.  The hit post-apocalyptic zombie shooter isn’t yet 2 months old and some new content has been announced for it.  A video podcast from Kotaku reveals an interview with Chet Faliszek, one of Valve’s writers.  In the interview, Faliszek hints at the announcement of specific DLC for both the 360 and PC versions, possibly the ability to play the other additional 2 campaigns (Dead Air and Death Toll) in versus mode.  If we’re lucky, we might even see a new campaign.

On an earlier post by 1UP (I’m sorry, don’t have the link), another Valve member hinted at a new weapon, the flame thrower, to be included soon in DLC.  This DLC was to be free on the PC version, but apparently Valve has had some difficulties with Microsoft’s allowing them to do the same on the Xbox 360.

There’s not a whole lot of information yet, but we’ve been told that the new DLC will be revealed “really soon,” so we’ll just have to wait until Valve unveals exactly what’s going to be made available to its customers.  Expect more news and blog posts on any future Left 4 Dead news and reports right here at The Update.

Posted in News, PC, Xbox 360 | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Beat the “No Mercy” Finale on Expert Mode!

Posted by haunt506e on November 27, 2008

Left 4 DeadJust found this video earlier today when me and my buds were stuck on the No Mercy Finale.  Yeah, it’s a cheap way of “winning,” but we had been fighting for hours and two of us had to leave because it was getting late.  So if you’re stuck and really want that Zombicidal Maniac achievement, check out this video and it’s a sure fire way of beating No Mercy’s finale.  Of course, you’ll have to get to the finale first, which isn’t easily achieved either.  For the actual chapters of No Mercy, just stay close together, avoid friendly fire, don’t use medi-kits until absolutely necessary, and remember the melee button!  This video is not mine, I’ll be posting its notes, authors, etc. in a quote box directly after the video.

Found by – XxGaMeRJUNKIExX
Others In Video – Louis, Derka506, sharpfire122.
Comment, Rate, Subscribe.
Band – Rob Zombie
Song – White Zombie
*CONTACT INFORMATION*
Aim: ZeroGreaterThan
Gamertag: XxGaMeRJUNKIExX
– Disclaimer –
All the following material is being used with permission from Valve and Powered by Source. ©2008.

Posted in Game Guides, News, PC, Xbox 360 | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Left 4 Dead Full Review

Posted by haunt506e on November 24, 2008

Left 4 Dead Full ReviewI’m getting kinda sick of first person shooters, but that hasn’t stopped me from picking up one of the best games of this year, Left 4 Dead. The first-person shooter sets you up in a post-apocalyptic world filled to the brim with blood thirsty zombies. These zombies aren’t the slow, stupid Resident Evil type. These zombies run at you and swarm around you, pulling you down and attacking you with the most primitive of weapons: their own hands. So yeah, we’ve all seen games from the horror survival series, but what makes Left 4 Dead so unique? Keep reading to find out.

Welcome to the zombie apocalypse.

Welcome to the zombie apocalypse.

Graphics/Audio:

Left 4 Dead is one of the best looking games that I’ve seen so far. It might not look all that great on the first play through, partly because you’re running through each level incredibly fast and nerve-racked, but also because the detail in this game is very subtle. Zombies are animated extremely well, and as long as you haven’t alerted them of your presence yet, you can sit and watch them stumble around, puke, or even fight amongst themselves. Up close the zombies look very well, as do the survivor character models, their clothes being detailed down to the zipper chain. In addition to the character models, the environments are incredibly detailed and realistic. You will see sleeping bags, cooking pots, graffiti (fun to read), coffee cups, newspapers, televisions, and all kinds of other everyday objects that have been left behind in the ensuing madness of the zombie plague. Thanks to the Source engine, most of these objects will fly about and can be knocked over by bullet fire and melee, and rooms will be disfigured after an abrupt battle.

On the audio side of things, the game sounds great too. Zombies sound disgusting, especially special zombies, like the Boomer, who will make nasty puking noises to alert you of his presence. These sounds are eerie and will help you become a more informed player if you listen to various cues within the game, and overall make the game a much more immersive experience. Your survivor teammates will also shout and yell when various things are happening, and their conversation is usually pretty varied, as each character has something like over 1,000 different recordings, each one for use in different situations.

Single Player:

Single player is a blast while it lasts, but the multiplayer component is where the game really shines.

Single player is a blast while it lasts, but the multiplayer component is where the game really shines.

This is a unique game in that it’s single player will be very short. Single player is fun, but if this game was a single player only title, it’d only be a rent most likely. As for the details, those will all be in the multiplayer section, because the single player and multiplayer both are essentially the same game, the key difference being that in single player, you have bots controlling your three teammates, and in multiplayer, those teammates are controlled by humans… And now the multiplayer section. While this next section is the multiplayer, I’m using it to go into all the details of the game, as the game is, in and of itself, a multiplayer title.

Multiplayer:

Briefly, I’d like to go over the four types of “special” zombies that you will see in this game.

Sure, you can play the game a couple times through on single player, but you may be asking, what will keep the game’s replayability up? Vault’s new concept, the AI Director, does just that. In Left 4 Dead, you might breeze through an apartment building one time without encountering any zombies. The next play through maybe there’s a few zombies milling about. Yet the next time, you could be rushed by swarms of zombies, fighting a desperate close quarters fight for survival. The AI Director ensures everything is random and different, zombies will come at different times from different directions in larger or smaller groups, depending on how well the group is doing. Weapons, ammo, and health will be set up in different locations, and the game rewards you for checking and searching rooms often, as health will never be in the same location twice (with the exception of safe houses).

The Director will also control the sounds and lighting of Left 4 Dead’s various campaigns, ensuring that each play through gives you a different horror experience each time, and the unique audio cues fit in very well with the game’s atmosphere. While the audio changes are somewhat tough to pick up on, they are there and they do make a difference, often at the subconscious level. This isn’t an essential feature, but it’s noteworthy, seeing how most games will just put in set tracks to play at set times, creating a linear sequence of events. Sounds will also change depending on the level, and while some sounds are the same throughout the game, certain cues will be unique to a specific environment.

Speaking of levels, the game’s got four total campaigns, all four of which are playable in single player and multiplayer campaign modes, and two of the maps are playable in multiplayer versus mode (more on that later). Left 4 Dead features rural, urban, and forested areas, as well as several unique locations, all horrifying in their own right and littered with debris and graffiti that hint at past events relating to the zombie apocalypse. It doesn’t seem like a big variety at first, but because each map takes anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes or more to complete in campaign mode (depending on difficulty), and almost double that amount in versus mode, you’ll come to enjoy the enormous size of each level and the linear-yet-non-linear feel to the game’s various stages. Each map is set up with four safe houses and five areas in between each safe house, ending with a “finale,” or a huge battle between the survivors and the infected whilst the survivors wait for their evacuation vehicle to come pick them up.

No matter which mode you are playing, team work is essential to success.

No matter which mode you are playing, team work is essential to success.

No matter which mode you’re playing, the game pretty much revolves around you and your team and their movement from one safe house to another. Along the way you’ll kill zombies, find items, and revive teammates, as I’ve said before. However, thanks to the AI Director and the game’s steep difficulty settings (easy is easy, anything else gets real tough real fast), Left 4 Dead can keep you entertained for hours on end. Personally, I like the Campaign mode, and enjoy getting a full party of four players and going through the campaign, preferably on advanced mode, the second highest difficulty. We generally don’t have any problems until the finale, at which advanced soon becomes impossible, and after a few failures (I blame my incompetent team members), we vote (yeah that’s right, you can vote to change the difficulty, kick a player, or to restart the chapter) to switch the game back to normal. Left 4 Dead has a pretty steep learning curve when played on the top difficulty levels, and I’m sure it’ll be a while before teams are assembled who are good enough to regularly go through a campaign on expert.

Cooperative mode defines the game play experience for Left 4 Dead, but if you don’t stay hooked on the cooperative campaign portion of this game, you’ll probably find the game’s versus mode very enjoyable. While versus mode is only playable on two out of the four campaigns, it effectively doubles the length of each campaign, giving each team a chance to progress through a chapter. In versus mode, one team controls the “special” zombies (Boomer, Smoker, Hunter, or Tank) while the other controls the survivors. The four survivors must try and make their way through the selected level, killing the AI-controlled zombie hordes in addition to the human-controlled special zombies. When the survivors either reach the safe house or die, the teams switch sides and the survivors become the zombies, trying to take out the new survivors as they try to beat their opponent’s score. Scores are set by the survivor team, who can increase their points by moving farther along on the map, making it to the safe house, and by keeping their health up and their buddies alive. While players control the infected, they gain no points, but instead try to prevent the survivors from gaining points.

Left 4 Dead is some of the most fun I’ve had in a video game in a long time. It’s not revolutionary (although in a way, it kinda is), it doesn’t have the best graphics (but they are pretty sweet), and while the game play is awesome, it’s not the most expansive FPS in terms of maps, weapons, and equipment. However, where Left 4 Dead really shines is its fun factor and the immersive, replayable, unique experience that it offers. It’s a one of a kind game and I’m really looking forward to further expansions and DLC that will come out for the game in the future, further expanding the game’s value.

Left 4 Dead is hectic and chaotic, yet is still one of the deepest cooperative experiences that I've seen in a while.

Left 4 Dead is hectic and chaotic, yet still maintains a deep, unique cooperative experience.

Verdict:

One of the most addicting and fun games that I’ve played in a long time, Left 4 Dead, thanks in part to its revolutionary “AI Director” and its incredible cooperative experience, is a Great Buy for any PC or Xbox 360 owner. However, it’s worth a mention that if you don’t have access to the internet or are otherwise unable to play this game online with multiple players, I would limit the rating to a Good Rental.

Posted in PC, Reviews, Xbox 360 | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

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.

Posted in PC, Previews, Xbox 360 | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Left 4 Dead Demo Review

Posted by haunt506e on November 11, 2008

Left 4 Dead, Demo Review

If you haven’t downloaded the Left 4 Dead demo yet, this is your final warning.  Seriously.  The game will be coming out for the PS3, Xbox 360, and the PC in just a matter of days, and if the demo is any clue as to what the rest of the game is like, I’ll be buying this one for sure (not sure about when though).  The demo gives you two segments of the game to play in, meaning two safe houses that your characters have to make their way to, fighting against hordes of zombies along the way.

The demo runs very smoothly, and is extremely entertaining.  While it only takes about 20 minutes to complete the two provided segments, that time is basically one big adrenaline rush, especially on the first run through.  As I’ve said before, the game works by pitting a group of 4 survivors (hence the name) against huge groups of blood thirsty zombies.  You pick up ammo and different weapons along the way, in addition to med kits, pain pills, and either molotov cocktails or pipe bombs.  Once on the way, you’re confronted, in addition to the ravenous groups of mindless horde zombies, by several special zombies.  These include: The Hunter, a quick agile hunter that pins down group members and slashes the hell out of them; The Smoker, a zombie that will use its huge tongue to strangle allies; The Boomer, a fat zombie that will explode when shot and puke on you when still alive, not only blinding you but also attracting the horde to your bile covered body; The Tank, a giant badass that will pummel you to a bloody pulp if you don’t work as a team to take him down quick; and finally, The Witch, who will pretty much kill you instantly if you piss her off.

While this is all fun and good in the first play through, what has Valve added in to boost up the replay value?  Well, not only does the game give you the option to play online scenarios where players control the zombies as well as the characters, the game’s AI Zombie Controller (this is what is used during the campaign mode) is programmed to randomly spawn zombies in different areas, at different times.  You may clear through a building quite easily one game, but the next you get swarmed in that very same building.  The AI Controller sets up different ambushes in different areas, and, at least with my experience of the game, it seems to do a great job of keeping the game play varied.

So if you’re looking for another game to pass away the time this holiday season, I strongly (strongly) recommend checking out Left 4 Dead.  It comes out November 18th in the United States and November 21st in Europe, I know I’ll be getting it soon after the release, and look forward to playing it with my buds online.

Posted in PC, Previews, Xbox 360 | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

November Previews

Posted by haunt506e on November 4, 2008

Now comes a little segment in The Update in which I like to preview a few of the big hits of the month.  Don’t feel obliged to read all of them, but rather, just pick out the ones you like, and if you feel the need to comment, let me know which section you’re talking about.  Thanks and enjoy!

This month’s update will preview…

-Gears of War 2

-Little Big Planet

-Left 4 Dead

-Call of Duty: World at War

Gears of War 2

If you’re gonna call yourself an Xbox 360 gamer, then no doubt you’ve heard of the Xbox 360 exclusive title, Gears of War.  It created quite a following for itself back when it was released in 2006 for the Xbox 360, shortly after the console’s launch.  It’s time now for the next installment in the rumored trilogy, Gears of War (yes, you guessed it) 2.

Boasting a few new weapons, characters, enemies, vehicles, maps, locations, buttons, bugs, chainsaws, and more, Gears of War 2 is shaping up to be one of the biggest blockbuster hits of this year.  It’s got everything any serious gamer could ask for, killer weapons, gritty warzones, gruesome enemies, and a pretty well thought out campaign.  To differentiate the title from the original Gears of War, EPIC has added in a few new features.  In addition to the new campaign and singleplayer levels, the game introduces several new game modes, seamless cooperative drop-in support, 5 training missions for players new to the game, and offline bots for offline skirmishes or practice.  This game’s release date, set exactly two years after the first game’s, will reach us in just 3 days.  While it won’t be as hectic as Halo 3’s launch, Gears of War 2 will hopefully live up to its predecessors, and, judging by the reviews already out there, it already has.

Noteworthy Features:

-Most of the original GoW game mechanics return.  If you enjoyed the first title, chances are that you’ll enjoy this one as well.

-A few new game mechanics and weapons, such as the ability to grab enemies as human shields.

-New multiplayers modes and maps.  As far as the modes go, you’ll see modes like horde, a 5-player cooperative fight to the death against waves of AI-controlled Locusts.

-More singleplayer levels to play and an enhanced coop mode, allowing players to drop into their buddy’s game seamlessly.

If you’re interested, pick up Gears of War 2 this Friday (Nov. 7th) for the Xbox 360.  I will be reviewing it shortly thereafter, so stay tuned for my first impressions (minor update) and my full review (major update).

Little Big Planet

I’m not a PS3 guy so I’m not gonna try and act like one, but I’ve come across some news (relatively old news actually) relating to the game.  For those that don’t know, Little Big Planet was recently pulled from store shelves due to some music that it contained in one of its levels.  The music was apparently offensive to the Islamic religion because it contained certain lines from the Qur’an.  The game was expected to ship out again no later than I think this week (that’s the week of Nov. 3rd), and as far as I know, most stores have been selling the game for a few days now.  Just a few comments on this action, I think Sony made a pretty good move, I mean, they lost a ton of money by having the CDs re-stamped, but putting a kids’ game out with disrespectful song lyrics wouldn’t have looked all that great on their part.  A “day one” patch might have worked, but it wouldn’t have fixed the game for those players without Sony’s online service.  Whatever the case may be, it was a controversial deal and Sony did a good job of righting itself, disrespecting any religion is not something that should be taken lightly, even if accidental.

Just a note, I’m currently looking for a writer to help out with PS3 news and reviews, as I don’t own a PS3 and won’t be able to cover anything more than PS3 news.  Check out the Opportunities page for more information.

Noteworthy Features:

-Puzzle Platformer, doesn’t redefine the genre, but rather refines it.

-The Sackboy, who doesn’t love ’em?  (Extensive opportunities for customization).

-Incredible graphics and physics engines, as well as great audio.

Left 4 Dead

Alright, Left 4 Dead time.  I wasn’t really looking into this game a whole lot until quite recently, after watching some videos and reading some news reports on the games, I got hooked to it.  It is expected to ship and be in stores by mid-November, I apologize for not having the exact date, and it is looking to be a killer title for the Xbox 360 and PC.  For any of you all that play CounterStrike or CounterStrike Source, Left 4 Dead runs on the Source engine, and pits up to 4 “survivors” against hordes of the living dead.  Each match takes place on a scenario type map, where the survivors start at one point, make it to point B, then C, and finally D, where they have to hold out for several minutes until an EVAC Chopper arrives to rescue them.  Sounds simple enough, but when you combine this with the hectic action resulting from wave after wave of swarming brain-eating zombies, things start to get pretty intense.

A random AI Computer will control the zombies in cooperative mode, and it has been made so that each encounter will be randomized and different, so that even though you may play the same scenarios multiple times, no single game will be the same.  Zombies will come from different areas, ambushes will be set in different choke points, and bigger, badder zombies might come at different times under different circumstances.  I think (not 100% sure here) that in online play, up to 4 other players may also control the zombies, but I can’t confirm this for you, as I’ve only heard this from a few friends.  Regardless, the AI itself ‘ought to make for some entertaining coop experiences, and should increase the longevity of this title by a long shot.  I’m looking forward to its release later this November, and am definitely gonna have to pick it up.

Noteworthy Features:

-It’s a zombie survival game, you’re basically playing out a movie.

-Random encounters create re-playability.

-Focus on cooperative play allows for more relaxed play sessions, while at the same time creating a hectic situation in which players have to rely on each others’ strengths to proceed.

Call of Duty: World at War

Call of Duty: World at War, more commonly known as Call of Duty 5, is perhaps one of the more well-known non-exclusive games that will be hitting the market this holiday season.  Running on the same engine as the smash hit Call of Duty 4, we’re told that World at War will deliver the same stellar performance at its big brother.  By making only a few changes to the original formula, Treyarch hopes to bring the same chaos and exhilarating battlefield combat from Call of Duty 4 to the World War II era in Call of Duty 5.  I actually got into both the Xbox 360 Beta and the PC Beta, so I can talk with a small amount of experience on the matter.

*I didn’t have enough room to keep all the box arts on one line, so I omitted the PS3 box art.

Let me just go ahead and say that I’m not really all that intrigued by the Call of Duty 5 beta.  Why?  Because no matter what I’m doing in that game, no matter my weapon, kit, map or game mode, I feel like I’ve done it before.  Not only that, but because I’ve played Call of Duty 4 to such a great extent, Call of Duty 5 just seems stale to me.  It’s the same game with different weapons, but even the weapons feel the same.  The light machine guns in Call of Duty 5 shoot like the sub machine guns in Call of Duty 4, the sniper rifles fire the same way, and even the rocket launcher seems to fire similarly to Call of Duty 4’s RPG.  On the positive side, because Call of Duty 5 has already been done before, there aren’t really a whole lot of balance issues, which is pretty good.  You’ll still get the whiney little kid complaining about the Juggernaught perk or Martyrdom, but that’s why they made the mute button right?  In short, it’ll be an undeserving big hit, just because all of the Call of Duty 4 fanboys will migrate to Call of Duty 5, and will whine there a bit before moving onwards to the next mainstream title.

Noteworthy Features:

-Play Call of Duty 4 and you’ll have played Call of Duty 5.

-WWII setting, meaning instead of modern maps, now you’ll be playing on WWII-themed maps.

-If you like WWII better than modern, it’s definitely worth looking into.  If not, just stick with Call of Duty 4, I suspect there’ll be people playing that game for a long time to come.

And so ends the first monthly preview segment, this has been Haunt, please comment and spread the word, and thanks for reading!

Posted in PC, Playstation 3, Previews, Xbox 360 | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »