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Score: 10 / 10
It's hard to overstate my satisfaction with
Left 4 Dead, as such you should just go and buy it. It's the best
cooperative gaming experience I've ever played and my day just doesn't
feel complete unless I've squeeze in some time with the game.
The balance between action and sheer terror, and the teamwork required
to stand any chance of survival are so expertly mixed that it's hard not
to feel exhilarated at each saferoom checkpoint between levels. This
feeling of, "We made it!" And no matter how many times I've played
through the four linear levels that make up Left
4 Dead, fighting through to the finale of
each, knowing that we'll be swamped by waves of Infected (i.e. zombies)
when we get there, with barely time to breath thanks to "The Director"
that changes up things on the fly throughout each level, then making a
run for the escape vehicle, all the while listening for the tell-tale
sounds of the "special" infected that can turn a manageable situation
into a nightmare in a
split second, the game keeps my interest and tests my nerve like nothing
The fact I can have an experience like this while human players drop in
and out of the game without me noticing -- the AI for characters not
being controlled by a player is the best I've ever seen; put your
character on idle and see what I mean -- is an achievement in and of
itself. The added bonus is that they'll never run off by themselves to
be overwhelmed by the Horde; they'll stick to you. It's a strategy that
four human-controlled Survivors must also employ if they hope to survive
because in Left 4 Dead, the "fight together or die alone" axiom has
never been more accurate.
Fire can be your friend (left); stay
away from the Boomer! (right)
Players can fight through the game in versus mode, where two teams of
four alternate between Survivors and Infected. The Survivors are trying
to cover as much ground as possible while the Infected try to inflict as
much damage as possible or stop the Survivors altogether. The two sides,
though so different, are pretty evenly matched, depending on the level
of teamwork each side musters.
While playing offline or split-screen isn't as fun as playing with a two
or three friends online -- Left 4 Dead thrives on camaraderie -- so
that's probably your only consideration when purchasing the game,
because everything else is too awesome to miss.