Left 4 Dead Hands-On Update

Zombies! We had to fight off hordes of them in our latest hands-on time with this intense cooperative shooter.

Turtle Rock Studios and Valve are here at EA's Summer Showcase to let fortunate press members try Left 4 Dead. In this game, Turtle Rock's Source Engine-based shooter, you and three other human survivors are pitted against a town full of "infected," which so far are mostly the fast-running, vicious type of zombie à la 28 Days Later. Turtle Rock reps might be getting tired of that comparison by now, but no matter: After 30 minutes with the game, we're confident in saying the ferocity and speed of the enemies make this the most intense zombie-based game we can remember playing in a long time, if ever.

The scenario we tried had us fighting through an apartment building, through some overrun city streets, and then up into an infested hospital. There will be four scenarios in the game with five maps each; you'll have to load that many sublevels within each scenario and play each one in one-off single- or multiplayer sessions. That is, they'll be short enough to finish easily in one sitting. Turtle Rock plans to keep each scenario replayable with the "director," a system that monitors your performance in each level, as well as the frequency and density of enemies. It also tailors subsequent enemy spawns accordingly. So you might head down an alleyway on one play-through and encounter no resistance, which would be eerie enough in itself. But then the next time, you could run into 30 of the evil bastards coming at you at once. The game is just that intense.

We got to see how cooperatively focused the game design will be in Left 4 Dead. One of the more powerful enemies called the hunter can leap on to you or a teammate and thrash you on the ground. Then the trapped character will be powerless to get up until another player comes over and physically removes the hunter from him or her. In another instance, an enemy called the smoker--so named because it can surround itself with a cloud of camouflaging smoke--used its freakishly long tongue to ensnare and hang up a teammate. We had to run over and perform a lengthy "use" animation to get him down. That might not sound like a big deal, but sticking with your teammates and staying on guard is paramount in Left 4 Dead, so every wasted second really counts against you.

In fact, we were impressed by how intense the one-second-to-the-next gameplay is in this game. Thanks to the aforementioned director, you never know when a horde of zombies is about to come around a corner to rip you and your friends to shreds. That's doesn't even mention the smoker, the hunter, the boomer--which explodes into a foul cloud of methane gas when you shoot it--or the beefy, almost indestructible tank. All of these more advanced monsters can be controlled by up to four human players in a multiplayer match, though the infected in our demo were all controlled by the computer.

Regardless, we had to be extra careful because friendly fire was turned on, so we could easily waste our teammates if we were too loose with our bullets. A Valve rep recommended that we leave our flashlight on all the time, not only because it has unlimited battery power and helps illuminate the game's many dark nooks, but because it would help identify us as humans to our teammates. Another interesting gameplay mechanic we noted was that you can not only close doors, but you can also lock them. This will keep the frenzied undead from opening them up and proceeding right through, although they'll still be able to tear through the door, given enough time.

Frankly, we had a blast playing through most of the demo we got to try in Left 4 Dead. We say "most" because we didn't quite make it to the end; we were cut down to two then quickly to none, early in the fifth and last segment of the scenario. And that was just on the "easy" setting. Valve says that even in its office, few teams (or even individual players) can manage to finish a scenario on the normal setting. So we figure if there aren't a lot of individual scenarios on offer when released, you'll be playing those scenarios for quite some time before you master them. Better yet, Turtle Rock and Valve are committed to supporting the game after release with additional content. So you may well see additional nightmarish levels surfacing sometime after Left 4 Dead's release date in the first quarter of 2008.

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Discussion

109 comments
nevereathim
nevereathim

Holy crap, this is on my list right next to fallout 3

Master_Alistair
Master_Alistair

Looks so good cant wait it will be awsome! And its great that they keep giving it updates after the release just like Team fortress two

DeadlyDisciple
DeadlyDisciple

Looks awesome, check out youtube for cool game play videos, oh yeah and watch out. Some idiots keep making fake resi vids naming them left 4 dead game play etc Cant wait...

Davideko
Davideko

can't wait! Looks awsome, gonna be better! Hell yeah!

some_guy_ss
some_guy_ss

Can't wait for this game, looks really good. Only if it was cross-platform though, it would have been almost perfect.

Baloth2025
Baloth2025

I myself can't wait for this game. It is tiring to see it pushed back, but hell, so long as it's worth it in the end I'll be happy.

Gwarpup
Gwarpup

Damn these greedy bastards. First this was supposed to be a small free multiplayer like Counterstrike, but of course once Valve realized how great the game was they hired the team and made the game far more commercial and pushed back releasing it about 8/9 months. Which is OK.. Fine.. But now of course its going to be XBOX only at first. and delayed again for PC til the end of the year!? Ive wanted this game more than any other for over a year now, thinking it was right around the corner and its really frustrating to see it constantly pushed back. This is a PC game. No reason not to release it with XBOX, Ive seen the game played on PCs. So thats done.

Fractur3d
Fractur3d

This sounds a lot like Resident Evil in terms of setting and creatures. Which is a good thing in my book. Sounds like a darn good time.

halo2fanatic94
halo2fanatic94

WOO-HOO!!! COMMENT 100!!! AND I CAN'T WAIT 4 THIS GAME!!! DUZ ANY1 KNOW WHEN IT COMES OUT?! I HOPE PC AND XBOX 260 WILL BE ABLE 2 PLAY 2GETHER CUZ I'M AN XBOX 360 GUY AND I REALLY WANNA PLAY WITH PEOPLE THAT HAV PC CUZ THEY CAN DO MODS!

spar_hawk
spar_hawk

I'm usually not excited by horror games but in this case, I'll make an exception.

Gwarpup
Gwarpup

The most amazing aspect to this game will be allowing up to 4 players to be special Zombies during the match. You wont know whos a live player or the AI. I hope they allow for zombies to "Play Dead" and for some types to climb on walls like say "Alien Vs. Predator" which playing an Alien was the coolest feeling ever in an FPS, being able to move fluidly over floor walls and ceilings with super speed and then pounce down on your victims ripping them to shreds while they tried to fire at you, often shooting their own teamates in the process. That gameplay style has never been matched. I hope to see some of that in Left 4 Dead, cant wait!

McAndrew_basic
McAndrew_basic

Another zombie game to add to collection. Anyone ever play Thief 1? I hated/loved those zombies.

erkin6666
erkin6666

sounds sweet something like 28 days later is always welcomed and i am glad that it has single player option i thought that it will be multi only

Craft2299
Craft2299

WOWSERS i realy want it, looking threw the gameplay is just so awesome! I think itl be mutch more fun in pc than xbox 360, but xbox 360 will lead you to achivements... ;/ what should i choose?

chico129
chico129

Looks nice, will almost definatly have some good mods, only problem is that I probably won't have enough RAM to run this, so I will probably have to go for the 360 version.

beckoflight
beckoflight

What do you expect from VALVe .... bad games yeah ..right :)! I'm so in to TEAm Fortrres 2 in the rest of the black box :) ... when i boughthe 2900 XT i tought that i will have all of them but for now only Day of Defeat source :) !

linkyshinks
linkyshinks

awesome looking game, frantic gameplay and speedy zombies is what the genre needs. I will be getting this for my PC for sure.

n3ck
n3ck

OMG this is coming to 360 too! :D

gamelover81_06
gamelover81_06

looking really a cool game... m dying 2 play it...

BR0M
BR0M

Sounds really good...haven't even heard of it 'til now.

BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

this game is going to be so much fun!! def a sleeper hit!!!

pyire
pyire

Indeed this sound even more interesting now than the first time I heard of it. It's going to be great for LAN parties and I bet there will be a lot of other online gaming fun it. However, chances are as always that some sniveling brat or just real immature person would come and mess things up if played on open servers... Anyways, I'm surely looking forward to this game !

Wezker619
Wezker619

Awesome game can't wait till it comes out!

aka1986
aka1986

aswell as online co-op i hope it has split screen - cuz would like to play in living room with friends instead of having to be at separate houses.

L1nk4L1f3
L1nk4L1f3

sounds pretty good, dead rising sucked so i think this will be a good game for the 360, maybe not as good as RE4 for wii/gc or RE5 for 360

SrankedNinja
SrankedNinja

will this be online co-op if so this game will so fracking pwn

Questlove711
Questlove711

Sounds like an awesome and challenging game. Co-op's the best place to have those hard as hell games. That way you actually have to work with each other.

troness
troness

The force is strong in this one. This sounds like a great idea, it makes you wonder; why'd it take so long to come up with an idea like this?

darkinjun
darkinjun

This looks good, hoepfully the zombies are quick.

markkilness
markkilness

Most played Lan party game award for the next five years!

Pivotto
Pivotto

Finally, a good zombie game since Dead Rising (apart from some Resident Evils and what not). Looks amazing.

king_bobo
king_bobo

It would be good if this game is co-op split screen, because game-developers just haven't made enough of those face-to-face co-ops that we all cherrish and love.

BigDaddy973
BigDaddy973

Cannot wait for this and Army of Two they should be so fun with your buddies ya know. This one will be scary I think for sure!

mach-stem
mach-stem

co-op all the way. As all games should allow! :)

gta11
gta11

Lol, I Agree:P

Routerreandy4
Routerreandy4

This game has awsomefullness written all over it.

perfect_chao
perfect_chao

bring the game out already, it sucks it got delayed until next year.. -.-

rose_please
rose_please

the guy looks like cletus from dead rising

grafkhun
grafkhun

looks so much fun, think RE but with zombies on roids and in FPS, then you kinda have this game... kinda :P

Craft2299
Craft2299

URGH! ive been waiting a long time for this game to come out and i hear it coming out in time of september, and now in first day of september i hear it comes in Q1 2008, crap! i so want to try this game out. i have to put this in my wish list.

fionndruinne
fionndruinne

Oh man! Forgetting for a moment that according to our authority in the field (ref. the Zombie Survival Guide), zombies are not capable of superhuman speed or abilities... this looks pretty sweet.

RorshachV
RorshachV

At first I was skeptical, but now I'm sold

burnupblade
burnupblade

Zombie maniac right here...so gonna buy it...gonna smash my piggy bank now