I bought Left 4 Dead last week, and after eagerly awaiting its arrival, I got to get my hands on it yesterday. I’ll describe my first impressions here, and once I play it a little more, I’ll write more.
I’ve never seen a menu screen quite like that one. The options were Campaign (referring to online campaign), Multiplayer, and Single Player. Normally single player and campaign are synonymous. I played through the first two levels of the game in the “Single Player” mode, on Normal difficulty. In the first level I used the shotgun. The second level I started with an Uzi, but later picked up an M16 (I think).
I love zombie movies, so I have been excited about Left 4 Dead for awhile. Honestly, the reason I hadn’t bought it yet was because I didn’t know how often I’d get to play it since I’d basically have to be alone (it’s not appropriate for children or those easily scared) to play it. And I didn’t know if my nerves were ready for that trip. However, after playing it yesterday, I was relieved that it was more fun than terrifying. A few things that stood out to me:
- The Zombies go down quickly, so even though you may have a dozen coming toward you, you feel like you can manage it. Which is less scary even.
- The Zombies are fast. And they keep momentum, so when you shoot one that’s running in the chest, it effectively clothelines him (which looks cool).
- The AI is really neat. If you play through the same level twice (because you die), you don’t see the same zombies in the same place. My first play through, a room was filled with zombies, the second play through I was expecting a fight…but there was none. Instead the game experience was completely different.
- Co-op is clever. The way they built the co-op play is awesome, even in single player, I had to depend on my teammates to save me when a hunter jumped on top of me.
- Game elements don’t get lost. You’d think with as much stuff going on the game would get disorienting and confusing, but it doesn’t.
- Gameplay is smooth. The game flows excellently, I think it’s running 60 frames per second.
- The pistol has unlimited ammo, so you never run out of your sidearm’s ammo, which caused me to use it more, especially when I got a second one.
- The pacing doesn’t allow you to dawdle. So if you’re standing around, or trying to take it slow, you get waves of zombies. I think they’ve engineered the game well to push you through at the speed it was designed for.
ED: Earlier I posted that the game must run at 26 frames per second because it was so smooth; I later realized how dumb that was and corrected the error to be 60 frames per second.