It’s been more than 10 years now that the Left 4 Dead license disappeared from our radar, leaving a boulevard to competition. Many productions have therefore tried the exercise of the cooperative shooter to try in turn to conquer a large audience, but in vain. None of these creations come close to Left 4 Dead 2, a title that was released at the end of 2009 … Well aware of this problem, Turtle Rock Studios, the creators of the first opus of the successful franchise, decided to resume their own torch with Back 4 Blood. Is this spiritual sequel the Left 4 Dead 3 we’ve all been waiting for? This is what we will see.
Left 4 Dead gets a makeover
If you’ve ever played Left 4 Dead, the first of its name, or even its sequel, you’ll quickly be on familiar ground. Back 4 Blood’s ambition is not to reinvent the wheel, but to please the early fans who have been waiting for a sequel to Left 4 Dead 2 for years now. The title therefore includes everything that made the glory of the popular saga: it offers four players to take up arms to face hordes of particularly hungry zombies. Along the way, the participants, here called Cleaners, must of course complete various objectives to complete the many chapters that make up the adventure. In total, more than thirty missions await the budding survivors. Suffice to say that you will get your money’s worth, especially since the hideous monsters never appear in the same place, which constantly renews the pleasure of the game, and that the objectives are varied. If the introduction looks like the one of the very first Left 4 Dead by making you evolve in apartments, quickly, the new creation of Turtle Rock Studios will surprise you. It takes you to visit underground tunnels, explore a forest, an abandoned farm, protect a library, escort civilians, deliver goods or even hold a position in a bar punctuated by the music of a jukebox. A particularly excellent mission which brought us adrenaline and cold sweat.
But it is not because Back 4 Blood leans heavily on the broad shoulders of its mentor, that the title arrives without any new idea … quite the contrary. First of all, and fortunately, this successor arrives with updated gameplay. Controller in hand, the sensations are simply excellent. The viscera explode under the impact of our bullets, heads drop, arms fly and the overall sound design of the guns reinforces the intensity of the experience. Our arsenal hurts, and it shows. Better, now, players can look into the sights of their rifles to improve the accuracy of their shots, which greatly enhances the immersion. A novelty that goes hand in hand with another, since now, it is possible to recover here and there multiple accessories for your fireworks, such as large capacity magazines, flash hiders, silencers and of course glasses and other sights. holographic. All this arsenal will come in handy to deal with the many undead who want to harm you, especially as the special zombies are back. If the Witch and its howls will no longer come to haunt you – the latter gives way to much less effective Sleepers – many iconic Left 4 Dead 2 monsters return in this Back 4 Blood to the delight of fans. Indeed, the players will recognize in the Nauséabond or the Exploser, the Boomer for example; in the Giant, the Tank; and in the Chaser, the Hunter. However, even if we are happy to find these deformed beings who have already proven themselves in the past, we can still regret a lack of renewal on this side. Only the Ogre, a gigantic monster several hundred meters high, comes to enlarge the ranks of this bestiary seen and reviewed.
But ultimately, the big news is not this brand new gameplay, but the arrival of this card system which is gaining in importance in the long term. This new feature increases the already long lifespan of the software by regularly changing the way you play. How does it work ? It’s simple. Before starting a game, players can build a deck by selecting a total of 15 cards from a small hundred. The latter, like skills in a role-playing game for example, grant various bonuses. They allow for example to obtain a more efficient sprint, a knife at the beginning of the game or even to increase the damage of critical hits or melee attacks. On the other hand, to activate these cards, you have to survive and complete the chapters one by one, and that is not an easy task.
Difficulty blowing your head
While players can equip themselves with skills to increase their strength and abilities, the virtual game master deals random Corruption Cards. These can also take the form of challenges to complete, which is not very serious, or a penalty, which is already much more problematic. It is these penalties that define whether the short chapter that you will go through will be buried under a thick fog or whether special zombies will come in excess or not. If so, death is guaranteed … well, it all depends on the difficulty chosen.
The first difficulty of Back 4 Blood is a real health course, which may even lack a little spice, but the second, called Veteran, already offers many more challenges. Maybe even a little too much … and that is the biggest problem with the game. Either the title is too easy, or it is too difficult. In other words, the FPS lacks balance. To give you two concrete examples: in Recruit (the easy mode of the game), we encountered in all and for all two zombies during a mission, one normal and one special. As a Veteran, during our first attempt, we couldn’t even get through the door of our shelter as already three special zombies were hitting us in the face. Suffice to say that we immediately lost the game. To this are therefore added the random Corruption Cards which never do to half-measure – when the card drawn indicates that the enemies will be in excess, this is no joke – and an extremely punitive Continuous system. Back 4 Blood saves your progress at crucial moments of the adventure. To reach the first save, for example, you have to complete four more or less short, but very difficult missions. And to achieve this, you only have the right to two attempts. If your team dies twice, you have to start all over again, even if you have reached Mission 3.
To hope to survive as a Veteran, you must therefore prepare yourself. First, forget about Quick Matches with strangers or all-in-one bots. To succeed, here you have to team up with three other trusted players. Second, communicate all the time. Partly of course, but also during the construction of your decks and the selection of your characters since they each have their own specialty. Mom heals the fallen survivors very quickly and Jim does heavy damage … And finally, be patient, count on luck, and never give up.
Back 4 Blood: We’re infiltrating a Zombie Party!
A PvP mode that lacks a little something:
In addition to the Campaign mode which allows you to go through about thirty missions, Back 4 Blood also offers a Versus mode called Swarm. It offers two teams of four players to compete. The first plays the survivors, and the second, the zombies. This idea taken directly from Left 4 Dead 2, however, remains quite anecdotal and ultimately looks like a simple Team Deathmatch on which you will come back to it only two or three times.
To finish, let’s stop for a few moments on the visual aspect of the game. On this side, it is a faultless one. If some will regret the colorful bias of the software, everything remains very solid and offers varied and detailed environments. The characters, on the other hand, are charismatic and all benefit from a unique design. Finally, zombies are loathsome, and frankly, that’s all we ask of them.
- Nervous and efficient gameplay
- Charismatic characters with unique skills
- A successful deck system that makes sense in the long run
- Various objectives
- The sound design of the weapons
- Corruption Cards which provide high replayability …
- … But who never take half measures
- A flagrant lack of balance
- Bots completely collected
- The PvP mode that lacks interest
Back 4 Blood is indeed the worthy heir of the first two Left 4 Dead! There is no doubt about that. The title of Turtle Rock Studios offers a nervous and impacting gameplay that knows how to reinvent itself as the players progress thanks to this successful deck system and these varied objectives that take place in many different places. Unfortunately, the production still lacks balancing. The game is either too simple or too punitive. We hope that a future update will correct all this.
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