Ideas are unrealized for spans of time, leaving some people in desolation and utter bewilderment of the unfounded realms of something so beautiful and unique. Zombie films have been around forever, along with the concept of horror and the concept of survival in video games that have long seen their effects through various games. Some worthy of recognition, others ill-founded and sadly not of the same caliber. Left 4 Dead is finally that game that dares to realize the unfound potential of an idea. While the idea has been in movies for so long, the premise of Left 4 Dead is something truly unique and extraordinary. Michael Booth had gained influence from the best horror films to come out fairly recently: 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead, etc. —and this very influence created an insuperable definition of something new for the words “horror” and “survival” together. Finally, these two words become realized as one entity in the harmonious and blood splattering realms of Left 4 Dead and will never be forgotten again.
The interface for Left 4 Dead is simply exquisite. Right on start, the players are greeted with the launch of a cinematic depicting four unlikely heroes trudging along a dark alleyway in a world where the former living become the living dead and nowhere is safe. Louis the witty joker of the group, Bill the old veteran, Zoey the underestimated female and bad boy Francis need to stick together and learn what makes a team to survive the zombie apocalypse that has befallen the world by a mysterious infection. While the storyline is something simple, the effect that it has is simple blithe – providing energy unfounded in games that measure online co-op as a supplement rather than a fundamental part of gameplay. The cohesiveness of the actual gameplay is affected by the storyline directly. Left 4 Dead takes a story plot that has been around forever in the best zombie horror films and realizes it. The only problem is that there are no real threads in every different story, nothing to aid in the visualization of the different campaigns, only text that describe a scenario which is contumacious given the embroidery presented with the unforgettable opening sequence. Even though the missing effect of cinematic may seem like a small issue, it does slightly end up disappointing. It really makes us think that Valve should have not spent $10 million dollars on advertising this game but on the production of these assets.
While storyline is simple and elegant, the loss of cinematic is a slight contusion when it comes to the level of gameplay. Single player comes with various weapon check points as the game begins. Playing as one of the four survivors, players make their way across an extensive map that highlights various different terrains to deliver horrifying scares with suspense and thrill. If a team mate goes down, the action button brings him back up with a small level boost as points are assigned to the person who assists. Various medkit boxes are around the map if anyone seems fit to explore every inch and weapons such as pipe bombs and molotovs lie around the map. This is kind of an odd choice to have pipe bombs (that are actually very expensive with their audible beeping and what not) and moltovs just lay across various maps. If 28 Days Later was the inspiration for Left 4 Dead, then Turtle Rock Studios should have realized that notwithstanding these elements provide gameplay opportunity, they are not exactly realistic to expectations. You would not see pipe bombs lain every 2 blocks from Manchester, UK.
Single player is further enhanced by something epicurean called the AI Director. The Director creates various dynamic situations based on health, ammo count, item counts of all kind, and finally player count. So many enjoyable sessions come out of the AI Director, which is simply worth mention. The Director helps to create so much action, that for us who scrutinize the tinniest details to the fullest, we found ourselves ignoring the very linear gameplay action of load up-escape-escape-helicopter out.
Co-op in Left 4 Dead is vital not only to the single player but also to the multiplayer. Imagine the single-player but exactly online. So, with that complicated definition aside, let’s move on to the real mode: Versus. Simple story short: one team plays as the “Survivors” another team as “Infected.” The main objective is to see how long the other team can last as the Survivors without miserably failing. At the end of each round, there are various multipliers that determine a score. After every round, the amazing interface that goes over each team’s overviews is a wonderful addition. It’s great seeing your name on top every time and knowing you were the best of the worst in Infected as the Hunter.
The Xbox 360 version comes with a changed interface that aims to streamline everything for console players not accustomed to the typical keyboard and mouse solution. While the interface looks sleek, at times it is difficult to control with the analogue. The Xbox 360 version is also, for obvious reasons, downgraded in graphics but gameplay is what eventually makes Left 4 Dead a great buy for Xbox 360 players, minus the potential for absolutely no mods and little to no downloadable content/updates.
Left 4 Dead has one notable feature missing: allies turning into zombies. Every zombie film has this element of dramatic irony, and literally it would have been obvious to include something like this for some dramatic effect in the game itself. Actual co-op gameplay, Versus mode, or a single mode altogether would have sufficed at the very least. We can just smell a mod coming out for this one way or another.
Left 4 Dead does a lot of things right and manages to break the barriers of imperturbable thought. With intense online cooperative action, an imaginative experience that uses elements of suspense and dynamic progress, Left 4 Dead creates a realized vision with the words “horror,” “survival,” and “suspense.” Even though there are various factors that might not play out the way we want them to, it all works out in the end. Blood splattering, mind gripping, player jumping, panic reeking, havoc entailing, grip clenching, erection inducing, luridly entertaining, apocalypse dooming, horrifically obviating, brain splattering, arm blowing, leg removing, outlandish thrilling, precipitant blood-dripping, eye gouging, zombie clawing, tirelessly running, ammo wasting, pleasant injury giving Left 4 Dead is an experience.