PAX 2008: Left 4 Dead: Hands-On Xbox 360

We check out Valve's zombie shootfest on the Xbox 360.


If you're a fan of killing the undead (and yes, we're aware of the irony), odds are you're looking forward to Valve's upcoming Left 4 Dead. The first-person action game from Valve's Seattle-based Turtle Rock studio drops you in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and tasks you with getting out alive. Unlike most games in the same "safe yourself from the zombies" vein, Left 4 Dead doesn't load you up with an arsenal of weapons and send you off on your own. In order to survive in the game, you'll become fast friends with three other strangers who you'll need to stay alive. While we've seen the game quite a bit in the past months, we haven't had the chance to check out the upcoming Xbox 360 version until now. The console version of the game was playable in Valve's booth on the PAX show floor where attendees did their best to survive (and kill) together.

The playable demo let us run through a chunk of the No Mercy scenario set inside a zombie-infested hospital that we've seen before. We have to say that were relieved to see how the game moved on the 360. The action seemed to zip along as fast as we've seen it go on the PC. The visuals were also along the same lines as the PC although obviously not quite at the resolutions we've seen on some of the high-end machines it's been demoed on previously.

Control in the game is obviously the biggest departure from the PC version. From what we played, the controls map out pretty well to the 360 controller. Shooting is on the triggers, while item selection is on the D pad. The face buttons let you interact and jump easily. While the game handling isn't quite as precise as the PC, the setup gets the job done well.

Based on what we saw, Left 4 Dead is shaping up really well on the 360. The game visuals look good and the handling seems to be meeting all our zombie-killing needs. Left 4 Dead is set to hit the PC and Xbox 360 this November. Look for more on the game in the coming months.

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