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Games Thirst Review: Left 4 Dead (Xbox 360)

by Colton West on December 29th, 2009, under Written Reviews, Xbox 360

Publisher: Valve Corporation
Developer: Certain Affinity
Player(s): Offline 1-2, Online 2-8/Co-op 2-4
Genre: Survival Horror, First-Person Shooter
Release Date: (NA) November 18, 2008 (EU) November 21, 2008
Platform(s): Xbox 360 (also on PC)
Rated: Mature

What couldn’t be perfect about a game featuring not only zombies, but also the ability to fight off the hordes of infected with your best pals? Well Valve came pretty close to perfection but sadly didn’t quite reach it.

Left 4 Dead’s biggest appeal is in it’s replayability and that is also what Valve was working on the most. Because of this, L4D doesn’t really have a story, narration or cutscenes of any kind and as soon as you start a stage, you get thrown right into the middle of the action.

One of the most disappointing things in L4D was the lack of variety in the weapons. From the start you can use a shotgun, uzi, or a handgun but you can also find strongest versions of these weapons at random places in the levels but really, there is only six in total. Where is my flamethrower or rocket launcher? That would have been awesome.

There is also a very small variety in levels. 4 main stages, each with 5 sub-levels is all you are going to get and it only takes around 30-40 minutes to get through each one meaning the game is going to be over quickly and with a lack of DLC, that is extremely disappointing.

L4D is so full of gore and it couldn’t be more glorious. Every time you take out an infected, gallons of blood and chunks cover the screen and since there is never a shortage of infected on-screen at one time just trust me, you’ll be bathing in the blood shed. Also, since the graphics are actually really quite good, all of the destroyed flesh and brain matter are shown in great detail.

Aside from the zombies (which all seem to look the same after a while) you also have to face off against “special infected” like a big fat guy known as a “Boomer” that pukes his bile on you which attracts the infected and a steroid-abusing behemoth known as the “Tank” that puts the Incredible Hulk to shame and it will take all your teammates to successfully take him down on the harder difficulties.

Yes I said teammates. Most online games will allow you to go all “Rambo” and run off on your own but not this one. If you try to pull that hero nonsense, you will die. You will get overwhelmed by everything you could possibly imagine which makes teamwork imperative in this game.

Aside from the co-op, L4D also features a competitive multiplayer mode where one team acts as the survivors and tries to make it to the safe room at the end of the stage and the other team acts as the “special infected” which you think would be cooler then it really is. When you’re any infected other then the Tank, the game just basically laughs in your face.

Left 4 Dead is one of those examples of a game where if you don’t have friends to play with, only give it a rent. The single player campaign is over before you know it and since there are only 4 stages in the game, it will get old pretty fast, but if you have an Xbox Live account or internet access, definitely give the game a shot because it’s some of the best co-operative gameplay you are going to find anywhere.

- Very intense gameplay
- Every playthrough is different thanks to the A.I. Director
- Gritty graphics and environments
- Tons of replay value if played online
- One of the best co-op experiences on any console

- Little replay value if playing alone
- Very small weapon selection
- Not a lot of stages

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