My review on Valve's game on cooperative action and fun!
The game takes place in an infected city where four known survivors of an "infection" outrun hordes of zombies. Two weeks after the initial spread, the zombies start to "change", as verbalized by one of the human characters and it's evident, too because the zombies start to exhibit enhanced senses and the smarts of efficient hunters. The opening movie features the four characters and all the enemy types, which include the Smoker, the Hunter, the Boomer, the Tank, and the slightly spooky "witch". Game levels are divided into four and they are formed to resemble a full-length motion picture, with matching posters and sub-credits for the developers. The scenarios are different in terms of the environment, scale and game play but the thought remains the same in all of them: survive while supporting each other.
The character animation is superb, because one could really see the tension and the sense of urgency in each of the characters' faces when a player looks into their faces. The zombies themselves look different due to their more aggressive looks and flaring eyes (they are extremely mad creatures), though one cant help but notice the repetitive zombie models and stuff; it's really forgivable. The "special" evolved zombies have their own signature looks, being the fat figure of the Boomer, and the hooded Hunter. 'Death' graphics also have its taste of goodness; it's one gory game, filled with castration and blood, which are very essential to a survival-horror game. The environments are individually unique and large in scale, so be prepared to explore the different maps in many angles.
It's 'eerie', that's what this game is. The music is such a misty composition of winds and strings; environmental sounds have their feel of the 'cold' and the 'slivery' sense of foreboding and doom; the character voices of support and encouragement bring a small flicker of confidence sometimes; and the best part in hearing this game is the monstrous sounds of incoming zombie-hordes, the wailing of the "witch", the gurgling of the approaching Boomer and all those creepy creature-sounds that make up the genetic uniqueness of disgust in this game.
The single player poses no difference from the multiplayer, save from the fact that the other three characters are controlled by the computer, so it's really vital that one play this game with friends. The multiplayer is essentially the reason why this game is played; the cooperative parts of humans against the bot-zombie-hordes are really sweet but the fun really starts when players get to be a part of the zombie group themselves! Be any of the special zombie types and wreck havoc on the opposing team, the survivors! Being a zombie warrior really is fun because there isn't any other game that makes being a zombie feel so comfortable and easy-to-do. It's really different from the Resident Evil Outbreak experience because, for me, that game was so complicated and too slow, even when playing with friends, and there's the trouble with the camera, whereas in Left 4 Dead, playing can wonderfully be in par with the adrenaline flow when expecting to be colliding with a zombie wave. The only downside is that, aside from all the cooperative acts featured in the game, like healing, reviving, assisting, planning and attacking, the game really is not that diverse as there are no other game types to heighten the experience.
It's certified fun and exciting, I just hope that if this game is going to have a sequel, game play diversity and "more-things-to-do" be integrated. It's still addictive, the way Valve made Counter-Strike and Half-Life very addictive.