reviewed on PC
“Rook has startled the witch”….. DAMN IT!!
The game itself plays the same as every other first person shooter. You’re still running around a “map” shooting bad guys in the face. Its been like that since the beginning and that part will never change. So, what makes L4D a big deal then? Well, that is more complicated because it’s a matter of many small differences that end up resulting in a refreshing play experience that is still very much a part of the ‘shoot it in the face’ mentality.
First would be the Horde. I’m not talking about Orcs and Trolls either. The horde is that massive shadow that seems to be ever so slowly shifting around. L4D zombies are the fast aggressive type. They are passive at first; in some cases you can walk right by them and they may not even notice you. They have this thing about load noises though. Car alarms, grenades, gun fire, that sort of thing. It’s rare that the player is engaged with only one zombie at a time. Usually there will be a good dozen or so trying to get at you. The horde is far worse than just a dozen or so though. Don’t worry, you’ll know a horde when you see one. Just make sure you have a full clip loaded. You’ll need it.
Second thing to look out for are the boss zombies. These select few have mutated into a true monsters unlike the ranks of normal infected. These aren’t stage bosses either. Its not like you can beat one down and you are free and clear. These special few act as an exception to the standard “if it moves, kill it” mentality of normal shooter titles. Out of the five boss zombies, two can result in fatal consequences if a team member is careless around it. The other three serve as a reminder that “safety in numbers” is more then just a saying. Part of that is due to a function that deserves to be pointed out: the random placement engine. Each map is randomly populated with zombies when players load into it. Zombies, boss zombies, and extra equipment like grenades, gas cans and med-kits are randomly placed each and every time. This prevents players from memorizing the easiest or “best” path to the better equipment or the objective itself.
Friendly fire isn’t very friendly
As enjoyable as the single player campaign can be, the real fun comes out of the multiplayer. This isn’t really a zombie game with multiplayer; it’s more like a multiplayer zombie game with single player features. Playing with friends and peers adds a whole new dimension to the game. It’s not just you and a few AI guns. Now it takes on all the strategy and pace of a cooperative multiplayer title. Note the term cooperative – it's very important. In the available multiplayer modes, the first is that of survival. You and your team mates play as survivors through any one of the four campaigns. Friendly fire is in full affect, so remember... down in front! Friendly fire is just as dangerous as the zombies themselves. Through the campaign, team members may stray away from the group and/or get into trouble. When not in direct sight, team members will be seen with an aura. Blue means they are fine and healthy, but if something were to happen, their aura will shift to an orange or red based. To keep the story moving, incapacitated players can be revived by team members to continue on, but the rule to remember is 'three strikes and you’re out'. Third time you drop, you’re waiting to re-spawn in a “rescue closet”. Of course, incapacitated doesn’t mean dead. If you get smashed to death by a tank in one hit, you’ll be waiting in a rescue closet just the same.
No Pros and Cons at this time