Left 4 Dead Xbox360

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I love horror, it’s always been my favorite genre no matter what media it is, books, movies or games, so I was fairly excited when I first heard about Left 4 Dead the video game, it sounded like something that I would truly be happy playing. Zombies have always been around, but it wasn’t until George Romero came to my hometown of Pittsburgh and shot the movie that’s he’s really most famous for, Night of the Living Dead. Technically it’s not exactly Pittsburgh, about 30 miles north of here, but it’s close enough and most people associate it with Pittsburgh. Anyway, sure Night of the Living Dead wasn’t the first zombie movie, but it was the one that set us on the path to where we are today, the Zombie Apocalypse theme really started with that little movie Mr Romero made some 40 years ago. We’ve seen tons of movies copying the theme and many video games as well, why? because it works, it plays on our fears and most of us like to be scared, it’s fun and exciting. We could delve deeper into this and get on about the meaning behind it etc, the afterlife, and the dead rising, but that’ for another time, plain and simple is that killing zombies is good old fashioned fun.

Left 4 Dead is, in my opinion, one of the best zombie theme games to date, and look around at the reviews you’ll see I’m not the only one that thinks that either. L4D puts you in the game as one of the survivors that were Left 4 Dead after an outbreak, they call them the infected in the game but they’re zombies. L4D truly recreates what it would possibly be like to be stuck in that situation, all the way down to the players, they’re from different walks of life, people with nothing in common and no special skills but they’ve come together with a common goal, survive. These people aren’t special forces, or they aren’t these special agents, there’s nothing special about them, they’re your average everyday, ordinary people just like you and me, and that’s part of the games charm really, I think we can all relate much better to the characters this way than if they were trained military personnel.

So continue on for screenshots, videos and impressions…


The single player modes and co-op modes of L4D are divided into four campaigns that are called movies, and each movie is divided into sections as well. The movies are essentially four games, you are playing to survive through the levels to finally get to the end where you get rescued. There are cities, hospitals, buildings, airports and woods that you’ll be fighting your way through to get to the end.

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At first I thought it was all one big game that just continued on to sections, but then I realized it wasn’t and that actually made it a bit more fun.

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Gameplay is great, even using the Xbxo controller, personally I don’t care for using the controller for these types of games, but it works well with L4D, just after a few minutes I was playing fine and having tons of fun killing the zombies.

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There are only a few basic guns in L4D really, shotgun, rifle, pistol, and machine gun, which you’ll find variations of them as well later on, sort of upgraded if you will. The best gun I found was the pistols, especially when you find a second one for dual wielding action. The pistols might not seem that powerful, but two of them with unlimited ammo can make a powerful weapon against the undead hordes. Along the way though you’ll find pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails that you can use to wreak havoc on the undead. The pipe bombs are really the most useful, as zombies are attracted to the sound of the timer beeping, they’ll flock towards it, and it gives a great feeling of satisfaction seeing bunches of bodies and parts scattering about in the explosion. You’ll also find gas cans and propane tanks as well that can be used as makeshift bombs, throw them and them shoot them for some explosive fun, they make for great traps as well.

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Here’s the first in game movie for you, it’s the very beginning with menus etc, and the first mission, No Mercy:

Specifications:

Left 4 Dead

From Valve (the creators of Counter-Strike, Half-Life and more) comes Left 4 Dead, a new kind of action game for the PC and Xbox 360 that features single player, co-op and multiplayer game modes.

Set in the immediate aftermath of the zombie apocalypse, L4D offers four expansive "movie campaigns" that challenge you and your fellow survivors to battle thousands of swarming zombies as you travel across the rooftops of an abandoned metropolis, through rural ghost towns and pitch-black forests. In addition to the movie campaigns, Left 4 Dead features a Versus mode that allows you to play as the Boss Zombies.

New technology dubbed "the AI Director" is used to generate a unique gameplay experience every time you play. The Director tailors the frequency and ferocity of the zombie attacks to your performance, adjusting pacing, special effects and audio on the fly.

Features:
-Multiplayer, co-op and single player modes.
-4-on-4 Versus mode, Zombies vs. Survivors.
-AI Director ensures dynamic re-playability.
-4 deep cinematic ‘movie’ campaigns.
-Matchmaking, stats, and achievements.
-Behind-the-scenes Designer’s Commentary.
-Powered by the Source engine and Steam.


The Zombies in Left 4 Dead aren’t your typical slow moving ones either, they’re fast, and when they get together in groups is when you need to start worrying, they can easily overwhelm a character.

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There are specialized zombies as well in the game that are like bosses, there’s the Smoker who has a very long tongue that can reach out and pull you away from your teams. There’s the Hunter that can leap very long distances, jump on you, claw you then quickly jump away. Then there’s the Boomer, a really big fat, disgusting zombie that pukes on you, and will explode if shot, hence the name Boomer. If he pukes of explodes on a character that character will be ravaged by other zombies as his bile is like an aphrodisiac to them, so try and avoid being puked on by the Boomer. The next one would be the Tank, he’s got no special tricks, just brute strength and force, he’ll easily swat your characters like annoying flies. Finally there’s the Witch, she’s the only non-playable character in the multiplayer mode, but in single player she’s probably the most dangerous, she can easily kill a player in a few swipes of her claws.

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The AI in L4D works well even in single player mode, sort of, yes it will heal you if need be and help you, and even protect you, but it’s a follower, meaning you’re always on point, which isn’t always a good thing. Though the AI does do a very good job at zombie slaying, at times they’ll kill more than a human character, I’m impressed by the AI in L4D actually, it works well to make it feel like team play even if they are bots.<

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Some reviewers have complained about the dated Valve Source engine being used for L4D, I see no problems with it, it works very well for this type of game. Sure it’s been tweaked and updated to fit with the game and the times, so there’s still some life left in the Source Engine after all.

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Graphics are done very well in L4D, especially the lighting, there are times when you’ll be in a pitch black room with only your gun mounted flashlight to guide you along your way. One interesting point is that since the light is mounted to your gun, when you reload it does shine on the ceiling as you’re putting  a new clip in, a nice little bit of added realism.

The characters, scenery, zombies and everything look very nice really, the graphics are nicely done in the Xbox version. I did play the demo version on the PC and it did look a bit better a higher resolution, but that’s normally how it is with gaming, overall the game has lots of eye candy including blood and body parts.

Here’s the second movie for you, it’s a continuation of the first basically:<


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Conclusion:

Left 4 Dead has got to be one of the best games for the Xbox360 that I’ve gotten, it’s tons of fun and provides a healthy dose of zombie slaying gore.

L4D is just a great game really, the single player mode is a bit short, and I hope Valve will support it with further maps or movies. The multi-player aspect is where the game really shines though, it can be great fun with friends or just other people online. The idea of playing the bad guys or zombies is very cool, and it really promotes teamwork on both sides to survive, or kill the survivors, whichever the case may be.

Go get it, you won’t be disappointed!!

Pros:
Awesome game overall
Lots of replayability
Excellent multi-player fun
Tons of fun for one or more players

Cons:
Single player is fairly short

Grades:  
Overall score-9-10
Design score-9-10
Performance score-9-10
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