‘Left 4 Dead’. First contact.
If we must highlight a great winner as the star game of last Christmas, that is without a doubt ‘Call of Duty 4’. I loved its story mode, but it was its online mode, which has also remained the most played title in the past few months of Live, which made me think that it was the best sixty euros I had spent on a video game.
The amortization of this title was such that it was clear what the first game he would buy this Christmas would be, his new installment ‘Call of Duty 5’.
Until yesterday, the day I downloaded the game demo Left 4 Dead for Xbox 360. Valve’s new great work, based on cooperative shots and hyperactive zombies, is already at the top of my shopping list. Here I explain why.
While it is true that we are faced with a very linear and hackneyed mechanic, go from point A to B and survive, the game experience is as brutal as it is fun.
While we choose one of the four possible characters and we hope that three other Live companions decide to choose between the grandfather, the African-American, the lunatic or the girl; we start to get impatient. To make the long wait (I trust it’s a problem with the demo) before the game starts, we start to remember all the videos we’ve seen, as we were amazed with the first images and we wonder if the game will be up to the task or it will just be another zombie game.
The game finally begins, while we go ahead of our companions to choose our secondary weapon as if life depended on it (and it may be), we begin to glimpse how the level of light and shadow that surrounds us is magnificent.
As we feel like action we enter the building, we go down some stairs while we see a light at the end, we enter a room and there are our first enemies. Accustomed to the typical zombie games, and since it seems that they have not seen us, we keep our distance and aim at his leg to see if he falls and we can finish him off in some spectacular way. Big mistake.
With the sound of the shot, a herd of zombies avalanches on us, forget about what was seen in ‘Resident Evil’ or ‘Dead Rising’, games where we could pass between hundreds of them without even receiving a scratch; Here the zombies are not exactly slow, they are even faster than us and if we get distracted in a second we can be surrounded by a wave of infected drooling blood that will soon tear us apart.
Knowing the ferocity and speed that these infected enjoy, our walk around the house becomes much more leisurely, which makes us even more nervous.
It may not have the best current-gen graphics, but its setting… My friends, its setting is worth its weight in gold. Noises and laments accompanied by completely dark rooms in which, despite having a flashlight, we can only perceive twenty percent of what the screen occupies.
I can assure you that taking a turn and finding a zombie from behind will give us more than one scare in these rooms. To which you will be thinking: “if he has his back turned and has not seen you, you still have an exit margin”. wrong again.
Another of the additions to the magnificent horror film framework that ‘Lef 4 Dead’ has is the reaction of those infected to various factors, the first of which is light. An especially careful element that gives the game a large part of its setting, as you can see in the following image.
The slightest touch that the flash of our flashlight makes to some of these enemies will make them launch directly at us. No matter how far away you are, or even on a platform above them, you’ll be lucky if they just run and climb to catch up with you.
It could be worse, one of those maniacs could launch his tongue around your entire body while dragging you into his jaws. At that point you will only have to pray that the aim of one of your companions is accurate enough to free you from your prison of mucous and taste buds.
If you are the knight with a white steed who must save one of your companions, you will be able to guide yourself to help them through the silhouettes that you will see through objects and buildings, as we have seen in other games such as ‘Commandos’.
When you get there, you may find yourself with our friend with the tongue, with a fat man who will vomit on you, leaving you half blind, or with a horde of zombies that have managed to knock your friend down.
In ‘Lef 4 Dead’ we will go through two phases before we are officially dead. In the first we will find that the undead have managed to throw us to the ground and, despite not being able to get up without the help of a partner, from there we can continue shooting to make way for our savior or to try to liquidate our waiting attackers to be able to recover.
If, on the contrary, our shots are as useless as the help of the kids with whom we have decided to embark on this adventure, we will go from defending ourselves from the ground to being technically dead. A phase in which our companions will be able to revive us if they approach us.
If for whatever reason they can’t save us either, we’ll be officially dead. But don’t worry because later on we will reappear behind a hidden room from which they will have to free us.
If I had to highlight a key moment of each of the two playable scenarios in the demo, it would undoubtedly be the following:
Nearing the end of the first level, and after spending several minutes exploring the stage to make the demo longer, one of my classmates came up with the brilliant idea of getting too close to a parked car, so he started to sound the alarm.
The noise, another of the key elements in the gameplay of ‘Left 4 Dead’, which, after being announced on the first line of the screen with the phrase “User X has alerted a horde of zombies”, turned the street into which we were at the banquet table of a crowd thirsty for brains.
They began to go out everywhere, doors, alleys, behind, in front… The feeling of being overwhelmed was tremendously overwhelming. The only option that comes to mind at that moment is to run!
It will be when you take cover in a corner and turn the camera towards your attackers that you will have to switch to your secondary weapon that you took in the first scene and make your way between shots and recoil.
Of the second, where we find ourselves in a subway stop besieged by the apocalypse sown by these monsters, I would highlight the first fight against one of the giant zombies that we have been able to see in videos and images. Enemies that will not hesitate to launch themselves directly at you after ripping up a piece of the ground and throwing it at you from a distance of twenty meters. Simply amazing.
This is ‘Left 4 Dead’, a title that is going to be one of the big stars in the coming months, especially for its online modes and its cooperative campaign for four players. We will have to wait for its launch to see what aces the Valve guys have up their sleeves but, for now, and despite not having tried what it feels like after becoming a zombie, the game promises to rise to the occasion.
Technical Sheet: ‘Left 4 Dead’
- platforms: Xbox360 (reviewed version), PC
- Distributor: AE
- Study: Valve
- Launch: November 20
- Price: 69.95 euros
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