Back 4 Blood Review – Reanimated

Let’s not beat around the bush: Back 4 Blood is Left 4 Dead 3 in all but name, and even then it isn’t exactly trying to be subtle. Obviously, developer Turtle Rock Studios doesn’t need to be considering it consists of many of the same developers who created Left 4 Dead. It’s also not surprising to see the studio return to the cooperative zombie slaying that initially put it on the map. The similarities between the original game and this spiritual successor are endless, even after a 12-year gap, yet it’s their overt differences that prove to be the most interesting part of Back 4 Blood. It still maintains all of the familiar hallmarks of Left 4 Dead, only now these foundations are interspersed with contemporary ideas befitting of the modern era, resulting in a game that captures what you might expect from a reanimated Left 4 Dead in the year 2021.

Back 4 Blood’s chaotic template might be the most overt similarity between the two games, as you and up to three friends are tasked with surviving the ravenous zombie hordes as you desperately fight from one safe room to the next. The campaign is split into four acts, with each one containing a variable number of chapters. The first act is the longest, for instance, coming in at 13 chapters, while the final act consists of a single boss fight. Finishing the entire campaign on the game’s regular (and easiest) difficulty will probably take you around six to seven hours, but Back 4 Blood offers plenty of replayability when you factor in the other two punishing difficulty levels and the game’s inherent variety. The AI Game Director, which makes on-the-fly decisions on where and what enemies spawn, returns from Left 4 Dead and ensures that each chapter is noticeably different on repeat visits, as hazard placement, weapon availability, and zombie frequency differ with every playthrough.

You’re also faced with the same kinds of objectives throughout the campaign, whether that means simply making it to the next safe room alive, alerting the horde in order to remove an obstacle and progress forward, or defending a location until you’re able to escape. It’s familiar territory if you’ve ever played Left 4 Dead, and this works in Back 4 Blood’s favor when it begins to veer from that exact formula. During one chapter you find the safe room almost immediately, but instead of escaping, you have to locate and rescue a group of other survivors first. There are more interesting examples, too, including a chapter that sees you stumble upon a decimated police station where the only way out is locked by a hand scanner. Not only do you have to find a dead guy’s severed arm to unlock it, but whoever picks it up is forced to wield the limb as a morbid weapon while you mash your way back to the door.

Continue Reading at GameSpot

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