It boggles us how Valve can’t count to three. We’re not likely to see a Portal 3 anytime soon; don’t even get us started on what’s going on with Half-Life; and, surprisingly enough, it doesn’t appear that a new Left 4 Dead is on the horizon. That last franchise is really shocking, if only because the second game followed so soon after the first, and became an equally colossal hit.
So why wouldn’t Valve want to continue its success?
Don’t fret, though. The developers behind that fine series have set up shop with Warner Bros. and are bringing the next best thing to Left 4 Dead 3 to consoles and PC this year. Back 4 Blood, which was announced quite a ways back and given a new trailer last month at The Game Awards (which you can see below), will once again bring the frantic co-op zombie action we’ve come to expect, along with some new twists and turns to make it feel like its own beast. Better grab your assault rifles, because you are going to need them.
A Different Kind Of Zombie Threat
There’s actually a bit of a story with Back 4 Blood, dealing with both the Ridden and the Cleaners. The Ridden are infected people rising up from a deadly parasitic organism that has pretty much wiped out the world’s population. However, there are survivors, and they’re the Cleaners. You can choose from eight characters, each with their own personality traits and specialties, and then take on the horde until there’s only one of you left standing. And, to be honest, we do not want it to be the zombies.
Like the Left 4 Dead games, Back 4 Blood starts you and up to three of your friends – classic four-player co-op style – in a safehouse where you can build up supplies. From there, you’ll make your way through four different parts in each act, reloading at safe spots before taking on the new zombie horde that comes your way.
But, also like Left 4 Dead, there are special undead characters which require a greater deal of firepower, along with a little bit of strategy. For instance, the Retch spits out bile that can attract its undead kin. For that matter, the Bruisers are a handful, coming at you with club-like arms and taking more of a beating due to their size. You’ll want to strategize with your friends in order to take these guys down.
So What’s New?
Not everything is copied over from Left 4 Dead here. Turtle Rock Studios has put together some new elements to keep Back 4 Blood quite interesting.
First up is the new card system. With this, you can create a deck of up to 15 cards, each one capable of buffing one of your character’s particular skills. You’ll need to play these out carefully, though you always have a chance of attaining more cards as each chapter comes to a close. Mix and match and see what improves with their performance.
As we mentioned above, each Cleaner also has specialty traits and skills, each different from each other. You can try them out and see what they do for you, and perhaps find a favorite as you plow your way through the opposition. We have yet to see a few of them in action, but the ones introduced in the trailer are rather cool, to say the least.
The Game Director also makes a return with a few tweaks, with adaptive AI that changes depending how you play. Find the game to be a bit too much of a pushover? It’ll switch things up for you and send even more zombies after you. Prepare for a fight.
And, finally, you’ll be able to use currency in the game. This enables you to purchase all kinds of goods, including additional ammo, attachments and other cool items that you don’t have in your card deck. There’s no word on how you can get this currency just yet, but bringing down the “big boy” zombies might be a step in the right direction.
A Strong Campaign, With More To Come
Back 4 Blood looks loaded with stunning next-gen visuals and fast gameplay, as well as a campaign that’ll last a good while for you and your friends alike. But there’s more where that came from, as Turtle Rock is planning to add even more via downloadable content.
When players purchase the Deluxe Edition or Ultimate Edition of the game, they’ll have access to a brand new story, akin to what the previous Left 4 Dead titles offered, as well as additional characters, more mutated Ridden types and more. These should be available for separate purchase as well, in case you just start with the standard version of the game.
Considering Left 4 Dead’s vast mod community, don’t be surprised if Turtle Rock also opens up this option in Back 4 Blood. After all, that would attract more players; and the mods could be rather cool, depending what die-hard fans come up with.
It’s Almost Zombie Snack Time!
Back 4 Blood has something to offer for everyone. Along with being fully playable on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC, it’ll also be available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. There’s no word yet on Crossplay support, but considering its popularity, it could happen somewhere around launch time. We’ll check back in on this one as it makes progress. However, if you’re a Left 4 Dead fan – or you just want a mesmerizing experience alongside your cohorts – then this is one worth sinking your teeth into.
Need a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X to play the game on? We’ve got you covered with our giveaway!