Sunday, June 6, 2010
You're Never Too Late for Zombies
Zombie video games have never really been my thing. I typically find them too scary to play and I just don't do anything scary very well. But almost every single game-playing friends has lovingly devoted numerous hours to the Left 4 Dead franchise. How can I consider myself a savvy gamer and turn my back on such a phenomenon ? Well I have finally bathed in the light of L4D and it is glorious.
Story: 4/10 If you want a dramatic, suspenseful story, this is not your game. There almost is no story. I don't want to give anything away, but there are zombies and you are trying to get away. .... That's about it. Its not even aligned with Resident Evil where you have the concept of how it started, finding a source, getting to a cure, or dealing with the Umbrella Corporation. Its a lot of zombies and you need to reach safe points until you are rescued. Don't get me wrong, I'm not hating. The game is good. It stands alone very well without a great story. It falls under the Tetris category. Its just plain fun. No complex plot, no integrated menus, just go out the door and gun down some zombies. Good ol' fashioned fun.
Graphics: 8/10 This game is great at visually keeping up with itself. With zombies sprinting by, leaping through the air, and dragging you onto rooftops, there is a lot to keep you stimulated. The way they slowly lumber through the woods then come at a terrifying dead-run is almost shocking. The actual detail in the environment and on the characters themselves is definitely lacking. But the speed of the movement in the game is super fun.
Sound: 7/10 Its pretty good. This is probably the first game that I've played where I wish there was more music. There are times when you are plowing through rows and rows of zombies. So for several minutes on end all you hear is loud gunfire and zombie groans. It definitely made me realize how hard it must be for developers to find a good balance between having no music and having way too much. It just so happens that in this case, I wish there had been more or maybe a little louder. Something to break up the wailing and guns.
Gameplay: 8/10 This game has a lot of different things going for it. The solo campaign and co-op are a lot of fun. I really enjoyed how user friendly they made the co-op. So many times in a co-op game, the players have to stay in really close proximity to each other. But this really allows you to spread apart and do a little exploring. The game has this system of highlighting the other players once they are outside your line of sight. Not only are they now easy to find, but you can also see if they are in any kind of danger by the color of their aura. I really like how each player can keep going at their own pace and maintain at least a little independence. Plus with the mulitplayer, there is even more to do. The online capability really helps to keep the game from getting old.
Overall: 9/10 Even though its an older game, its a lot of fun. I can see how this game was at the top when it first came out. Years later and it is still better than a lot of the brand new games out there. The servers for the multiplayer had a limited time, but the co-op alone is totally worth it. I wish there had been a few more gun options, but the rest of the game was well paced and exciting.
Buy/Rent: Left 4 Dead should absolutely be in your collection. I confidently deem this title a buy. And because it is a couple years old, you can get it super cheap ! I found it used for $18 but be aware that I totally would have paid more. I know the the latest and greatest games are always a lot of fun. But you just can't beat buying three amazingly fun games for the price of one.