Yeah I know, lack of posting. I got a lot of bad shit going on right now. I'll still try and get more up here.
Anywho. A few months back I promised a good friend of mine that if he got a Xbox Live Gold subscription, I'd pick up Left 4 Dead within 24 hours of me being notified. He was enjoying Left 4 Dead offline quite a bit. A little less than 2 weeks ago he told me he had gotten a subscription, and was calling me to task. I'm not sure if I made the time limit, but nobody seemed to care.
I'm getting picky about my games these days. They really have to interest me or excel at something to make me spend my precious money and time on them. I followed Left 4 Dead's development, merely because it was in the news so often. That said, I didn't see what the fuss was about. I thought it was just another FPS. Now, I'm here to tell you that I was right, but that's not necessarily a bad thing in this case.
To make my first point, I'll reference the online play of other FPS games like Halo 3 and Gears of War 2. I love team combat, and I love a team that REALLY works together. I believe I've made that clear on many occasions in past posts. It adds an undefinable and precious quality that can't really be simulated. A bond. In Left 4 Dead, the primary mode of gameplay is team-based, and teamwork isn't just an advantage, it's mandatory. You either work as a team, or epic fail is in your future. The computer is pretty smart as well, which helps if you don't have people to play with.
The second point is an intuitive program called "The Director". Basically it's an A.I. program that monitors your stress levels, field of view and a few other factors to randomly generate events. Sounds simple, but the end result is a wild and unpredictable experience that really separates this game from its ilk.
The different kinds of rabid zombies with their specific audio queues, their massive numbers and the random nature of play that FORCES you to work and work well with your team. Achievements are also tuned to promote teamwork.
The story is more an homage to the zombie movie than anything else. You have four characters (a war vet, a black I.T. guy, a tattooed biker and a hottie college student who looks a lot like my fiance) going through four different familiar scenarios (an abandoned subway, an airport, a farm and the streets). They push the homage theme to the limit by running ending credits which display level stats at the end of each campaign.
If you haven't given it a shot, give the free demo a try. If you're looking for a good FPS to play with friends, this is certainly a great choice.