Short, but multiplayer and the gameplay gives the game it's legs that's needed for some pure entertainment.

User Rating: 9 | Left 4 Dead X360
Zombies, their living dead, they feast on other people's flesh. They've been popular for centuries, be it by a transformation via magic, or a virus, as it seems to be the case in the 20th and 21st century. Their slow and moans a lot, they used to be scary, but the more you look at them, their actually pretty easy to avoid.... when alone. The horror classic 28 Days Later changed the zombie concept, they made them run faster and getting infected was easier. This concept is what Value has gathered inspiration for Left 4 Dead, well that and the hordes of zombie mods for Counter Strike, all clambered together on the Source Engine.

The game doesn't have a story; all you need to know is this: a virus has spread across the world, turning people into zombies. You play as Bill, Francis, Louis or Zoey, and must escape in order to survive. Each character plays the same, and beyond some small dialogue each character has, there's no personality.

The game is a simple first person shooter, you and your 3 pals must make it to the next safe house, where they can get health, ammunition and weapons, and every level ends up with a desperate stand against the hordes of zombies, while you wait for transport. Your enemies are zombies, but there are also a few variants of them. There's a hunter, which can jump high and attack people and make them inactivated, Smokers can tie people up with its large tongue and make them helpless, Boomers can puke on the players, attracting large hordes of zombies, Witches is a female zombie, that can be avoid, if you manage to sneak past them, but disturb them and they'll deal a lot of damage to you, and then there's Tanks, who can run fast and throw stuff and attack people with a lot of force. The game throws a huge amount of zombies at you and there are monsters around almost every corner, and at times, it even throws a large horde of zombies against you, and I'm talking about a lot of zombies, around 10-30 at once.

To defend yourself against the zombies, you have machine guns, sniper rifles, shotguns and handguns (which have unlimited ammo), pipe bombs and Molotov Cocktails. It doesn't seem as much and frankly it's not a lot. You wish there was more weapons, but the weapons offered here are more than enough to survive, though for tanks, you really wish you had rocket launchers. Aiming with them is simple, though you'd really wish for a better crosshair (that changes color when aiming at enemies) and iron sight aiming. There's no regenerating health, so you have to rely on first aid kits and pills. The first aid kits only restore 80% of your health and there's only a few of them around the levels. Pills only restore them temporarily, so you need to be careful out there. Even worse is that the placement of monsters of health items is never the same, thanks to the A.I. director, which changes locations of monsters and supplies with each play through. It works surprisingly well, keeping the game just as scary as it is the first time, and ensuring that everyone needs to play together.

The game's difficulty isn't actually that hard, though it depends on the difficulty level. If you get incapacitated 3 times in a row, you die. If your health get's too low, you need to get aid, or you'll bleed to death. It pays to stay with your friends, if you go too far from them, you'll easily die from one swarm of zombies. Tanks are much harder though, and on expert, it's really, really hard and you needs loads of coordination, especially against Tanks and Witches, as they'll get in incapacitated in one hit.

The game also has multiplayer, which unlike Team Fortress 2, runs without any problems. You can play versus or online campaign. Online campaign is just the single player campaign, with online buddies, since co-op is really needed, it's recommended to play online and it also makes the experience much more fun. Versus mode is basically the campaign too; however instead of just 4 people, there's 8 people. 4 people controls the survivors and have to get to the safe houses, while the other 4 plays as the infected. At the end of each round, the roles are switched. Playing as the infected, the odds are against you, since you need to be close in order to attack them. As the infected, you need a lot of coordination, in order to succeed, so that means that you'll die a lot. While it does sound frustrating, it really isn't. As the infected you have more places to go and easier access to make ambushes, and when it does work, boy is it fun. Your never tied to one special infected either, as you'll switch between the different kinds of the infected.

The game does have some issues though. Other than the lack of iron sighting, the A.I is a mixed blessing. They tend to walk into your line of fire, meaning you constantly have to be in the front. You can't give those orders either, so you'll have instances where you're waiting for the AI to go into the safe room, but just stands outside shooting zombies. On the other hand, if you get incapacitated, they'll help you up, and even provide you with pills or first aid kids if you need it. Playing online, the assignments of which player controls which type of infected can be a bit unbalanced, though it only occurs as a Tank. When a player get's to be the Tank can happen as early as at the start of a round, which can end it quicker than it really began.

The game is also quite short, each level is split into 5 sub-levels and each full level takes around an hour to finish. Sounds decent, but there's only 4 levels, which is rather short. Replay value depends on how much fun you have with the game and its multiplayer and if your the kind of guy who likes achievement, which wants you to play the game in almost every way you can. Fortunately, playing the game is loads of fun. The PC version also has mod support, which extends the replay value much further.


The graphics between the PC and Xbox 360 version is a bit different. If you got a really good PC, then you'll get some good looking character models and some nice details. On Xbox 360 however, it looks like Half Life 2 in HD and that game is 4 years old now, it clearly shows on both version that it's based on the same engine that made Half Life and Counter Strike. The source engine is known for a lot of neat psychics, but their rarely used in Left 4 Dead. Besides a plane that crashes down and a gas station that explodes, there's no set pieces which us a shame. On the other hand, the environments, while not being anything special does look good and the writings on the walls (reminiscent of 28 Days Later) does a good job of pulling you into the atmosphere and the game's world, even if there's no story.


The music is actually pretty nice, while not being orchestral or ambient; it's more music for shooting, though it doesn't make the games less scary. The voice acting is actually pretty good and the dialogue (while not brilliant writing) is actually good and doesn't annoy you, though a few lines based on each character's personalities (which is stated in the manual) could have been needed. The zombies make some scary sounds sometimes, especially when they do a big scream before a swarm of zombies attacks you.


Left 4 Dead is criminally short and you wish there was more levels. Fortunately, the game is pretty fun to play, the AI director keeps levels a bit unique for every playthrough and the multiplayer is pretty fun too. The PC version is the one with most replay value and is also the good looking, but if you love having fun, blasting zombies and just playing with some buddies, working together to survive, then Left 4 Dead, is a game for you.