Our undead impressions of Left 4 Dead’s spiritual sequel

As it is summer and life can sometimes have surprises in store, know that we had the opportunity to attend a press event to play Back 4 Blood, the next big game from Turtle Rock, which was notably behind the excellent Left 4 Dead saga. If it is a new license (the rights of Left 4 Dead no longer being in the hands of the developer) it is certainly a spiritual sequel which takes up each of its codes. For the best ?

During this event, we had the opportunity to test two distinct game modes on Back 4 Blood : the narrative campaign and the PVP mode. The narrative campaign breaks down into chapters the image of Left 4 Dead and our team of survivors must get from point A to point B trying to stay alive while making their way between the infected.

The beginning of the chapter begins in a safe room with an armored door in which you can buy ammunition, tools and some accessories for your weapons. Exactly the image of a Left 4 Dead, but obviously with some specificities like this famous toolbox for refueling. Note also that at the beginning of the chapter it is possible to choose a deck of cards that allows you to unlock certain bonuses, such as 10% more stamina, the carrying of more bandages and other subtleties of this kind. While this will not radically change the way you play, it does allow you to become more specific in a role as a doctor, for example, and thus more easily help your comrades on the ground or in a bad posture.

A gallery of interesting characters

The choice of the survivor is also quite important, since for the moment the title proposes a total of 8 people each with its own look, personality and specificities as we often say. For example, we were able to play the character of Mum, a sixty-year-old with her tongue hanging out but considering the remains of the team as her “children”. Besides her abilities to be able to heal her comrades more easily, she gives cute little nicknames to other team members like “my treasure” and other little sweet words. Because yes, even if Left 4 Dead had a quality narration, Turtle Rock seems to want to go even further with this new license. The studio really wants to offer something deep and meaningful in the script, the image of the Comics and series. The Walking Dead. The developer’s desire is to make the characters endearing and not just to offer just empty shells like one might see in a World War Z.

From the first minutes, we manage to find our marks on a Left 4 Dead and we feel the winks and the big (very big) inspiration. so much so that the very first building in the countryside looks like the first building we spawn in in the countryside No Mercy by Left 4 Dead. Sometimes zombies are in closed rooms behind doors that they can end up breaking down, blue light envelops buildings … In short, you have understood the parallel both in terms of level design and artistic direction. It’s a real treat for those who have been eagerly awaiting a Left 4 Dead 3.

Good feelings

However, for the moment, the hordes are a little less impressive and we feel a cruel lack of fluidity in the movement of the infects. Difficult to say if this comes from the difference in graphics engine, but we almost come to regret the fluidity of the engine Source by Valve. Everything still lacks a bit of finesse and fluidity in the attacks and we hope that this will be resolved by the release of the title in October. For the rest a lot of work has been done on the weapons, even if many bugs remain like bullets which sometimes come from under the barrel and not directly from it. But we feel that the studio wanted to avoid the paintball effect to provide real recoil and real firepower. Some guns like AKs still lack a bit of vertical barrel lift to make things a bit more “alive” and realistic. If each character has a favorite weapon, you will be able to change your weapons during numerous drops across the map.

A real apocalyptic world

The big plus point of the game is the lack of ammo glut, which sometimes forces us to collect body weapons to defend ourselves. A Zombie Apocalypse is not a huge Walmart Texan supermarket with ammunition and frozen food. No, in this post-apocalyptic world, ammunition is precious and has made the use of a weapon even more enjoyable and interesting.

A mixed-up PVP?

We were also able to discover a PVP arena mode in which a team of survivors must resist (time the support) as long as possible against a team of infected who are played by humans. The team that survives the longest wins the game. If it seems interesting on paper, unfortunately we were not able to take full advantage of it. Indeed we suffered very big delays because of the disposition of the teams, made up of European players and extra-European players (in this case in our case of the Brazilians). It was a real disaster in terms of latency …

On the zombie side we find several types of specimens that we meet in the campaign namely: Explosers (the equivalent of the Boomer in Left 4 Dead), Nausabonds who vomit a kind of bile to blind you, Colossi who can charge and crush the human players or the Stitcher who can spit venom from afar to cause damage. You agree with your team to create a certain group logic, knowing that monsters can only appear in hidden places from players (behind a door, behind a house, on a roof, etc.). The PVP mode is quite pleasant but it will be necessary to play it in better conditions to be made a true opinion.

Despite the cold shower of the PVP not due to the game itself, but rather the organization of the matchmaking, this first in-game experience of Back 4 Blood was excellent and already promises to be a worthy spiritual sequel to Left. 4 Dead. We will go further by saying that it is probably even the Left 4 Dead 3 that everyone expected. Back 4 Blood is scheduled for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Series X / S for October 12, 2021.