"Left 4 Dead"
I paid $40 to buy it last week, and that price point has worked
out to perfection: like that hot girl you dated for three
months in-between your second and third jobs who you never saw
again, "Left 4 Dead" is about as perfect a casual pleasure as you
can get your hands on without being considered a classic.
That's because all you do in "L4D" is shoot zombies. And
because "L4D" has tight controls, beautiful graphics and lighting
effects, a simple premise produced very well, fantastic sound
effects and a reload button that gets a TON of work.
Playing as one of four human survivors in a town where nearly
everyone else has been zombified, you are tasked with picking up
weapons and shooting at zombies while running to the end of a map
designed to eventually let you escape from harm. You've got a
pistol with unlimited ammo, access to first aid kits and pills
(temporary health boost), and access to shotguns, sniper rifles,
machine guns and a second pistol. Because there are so many
baddies out there, you need to hang tight with the group and move
like a squad from place to place. Online support allows for
three friends to play with you on dedicated servers, so lag is never
The biggest problem with the game is maybe its best asset--you
really can't play it for more than about five hours without starting
over again from the beginning. There are only four maps,
broken into five chapters each. The maps take anywhere from
45-75 minutes to get through (10-15 minutes per chapter), and you
have to start chapters over again if your entire team dies, which is
pretty rare unless you play the top difficulty levels. The
online versus mode, where four humans take on four people who can
spawn as zombies, is so bad that I played for less than five minutes
last night and immediately swore to never play that mode again.
So, "L4D" is great as a "what do I do for the next hour until the
football game comes on?" game. It's loud, violent,
straightforward and--like the zombies in the game--essentially
brain-dead entertainment produced well. Hopefully, a sequel
will have a little more to do...but, not too much.
Feedback? Comments? Salma Hayek's digits?
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": Buy
this game right away, and don't ask me any questions as to why
that's a good move. A game experience that will almost
guarantee repeated controller abuse, lots of ManScreaming and high
resale value, you will assuredly play this bad boy for months on end.
after games have been out for a while, they drop in price slightly,
or can be bought for slightly cheaper in combination with other new
games. Usually, that's about $40. You'll feel good
getting the game for this price, since it isn't quite
run-out-and-get-it-right-now good, but it has enough game in the box
for a few weeks' worth of enjoyment.
game is not too bad, but you'd be better off buying it used from
either half.com or eBay. You also might let a friend buy this
game, let s/he beat it, and then try to buy it from them to make
them feel better. Yes, this does tend to feel like "Sloppy
"Rental": Like my
cousin Ron, you should always rent games that you aren't sure about
first, to make sure that your $50 is going towards something
worthwhile. For games in this category, this is the maximum
amount of money ($5) and/or time (3-5 days) you'll need to either
gain satisfaction from the game, or beat the game in its entirety.
Rental-rated games are also sometimes perfect for a weekend when you
are going to be at home on your ass, with some time to kill.
Games like this should have never been released. If you play
this game for any reason, you will regret every second of the
experience. Further, if you can get this game for free, don't
do it, because even for FREE, it will still be a negative experience