Left 4 Dead was an iconic game that was synonymous with zombie video games. It’s the same folks behind that legendary franchise and even now the original formula seems to be undead…
For newcomers, this zombie mashing game is not like the Resident Evil series. One stroll around the Back 4 Blood website and it’ll tell you that this is a cooperative first-person shooter. Co-operation is the key to moving forward with your zombie-smashing joy!
Our hands-on session with the Open and Closed Beta was in the first act of the game. There were no cut-scenes and any type of story building aspect, which I assume is because it’s the Beta version. But if that carries to the final game as well, then it could be a little dead in the storytelling department. Visually, though, the game speaks volumes. The zombies do look pretty. In an undead-and-half-eaten-by-your-mates way! It’s a level-based progression game, and each section of the map looks great and varied! Weapons are detailed and look quite realistic on the highest settings. We played it on 2K with settings turned all the way up. Initially, the game was scraping through with 45 to 55FPS but then the FPS literally doubled with DLSS set to Quality! Even on entry-level gaming laptops like the Dell G3, the game pushes a stable frame rate, albeit you won’t see DLSS benefits on non-RTX cards. If you’re looking to jump in with your buds, make sure to keep the game on an SSD or NVMe to cut down on load times between checkpoints.
There’s a base of operation with all sorts of sections. You can get the feel of all the weapons in the shooting range meanwhile the other zones were blocked until the final version of the game. There’s also a section to organise cards and decks that offer various boosts to your character and squad. It’s not bad but it’s a very tedious way to assign temporary boosts. There’s are separate decks for the campaign and the PVP mode. Once you organise your decks, the cards will either be randomly assigned to your team or you’ll have to select a few from a sub-set of five. Thankfully, the game’s not as boring when you’re trying to feed bullets to the starving munchers.
You have a primary and a secondary weapon that can be swapped for better weapons from the randomized loot crates scattered around the map or the store at each safe house. They also have attachments that can be added or swapped for better ones. Essentially, each act is divided into sections in the campaign mode. At the end of each section, you enter a safe house which is a rest point for you and your friends to resupply, recover and continue till the next safe house. Repeat this until you reach the end of the act. Obviously, each section is different from the other. They offer randomized weapon drops, cash, utilities, ammo, health and the number of enemies depending on your difficulty level.
Zombies are relentless! They’re called Ridden in the game lore and they come in all shapes and sizes. Standard affair though, with of big zombies which blow in your face to tall bullet sponges that come close to biting distance and then smack you with a hammer-like arm! More enemy types will come when the full game launches. Surprisingly, there’s no dismemberment when killing zombies. Unlike Gears 5 where you can literally shoot away parts of the body, Back 4 Blood doesn’t offer the same satisfaction.
You can also pilot zombies in PvP mode. The game lets you attack and puke questionable sticky fluids on other players in PvP when you take control of zombies. It’s a lot of fun and if you coordinate with your buds, there’s a delightful sense of achievement in smashing the mindless (that being your opponent!).
Monitor: LG 27GN850
PC storage used for review: WD Black SN750 NVMe M.2 Internal SSD
Back 4 Blood is made to be played with friends. Solo fun is rather half-hearted and coordinating attacks, card decks and balancing the squad has a heavy impact on how you enjoy this game. We went in solo and didn’t enjoy half as much as we did with a proper squad chatting on Discord! That said, there are still aspects of the game that are hidden until the final release so stay tuned for the full review.