Turtle Rock Studios’ Back 4 Blood is a big nostalgia trip for a lot of people. Back 4 Blood is a first-person shooter during a zombie-esque apocalypse that is played co-operatively to grab your friends and defend what is left of humanity. With the game drawing several similarities to the Left 4 Dead franchise since its announcement in December of last year, many fans of Left 4 Dead are incredibly hyped for its release later this year. Many have dubbed it Left 4 Dead three with how close it resembles the franchises’ two games. Having played the campaign of Left 4 Dead one and two as well as the beta of Back 4 Blood, I am excited about its release, but I do have some reservations.
What I am most excited about for the game is the addition of extra weapons, weapon attachments as well the card system that allows for more diversity in gameplay. These cards granting players extra hp, hp regen on melee, and many more potentially allow for diversity in how players want to play and experience the game. The added weapons and their attachments also mean that you are not just stuck using the same weapons over and over again. So far it seems like the weapons and attachments you can get are not always the same. This means that if you repeat levels, there is a potential it may be tougher or even easier than the time before due to the varying strength of your loadout. My experience thus far makes it impossible to say if these changes will impact the diversity in gameplay. This diversity is something that I felt the Left 4 Dead games were missing. The lack of loadout options was an issue for me because it often felt that you were playing the story on repeat with no way of making changes to how you approach it.
Something that struck home with me while playing Back 4 Blood was the way ammo is acquired. In the Left 4 Dead franchise ammo being both the same for most weapons as well as not being used up after the first use made conserving ammo not a fundamental part as it should be in a game like this. However, in Back 4 Blood there are different types of ammo for the various weapons meaning that you may get lucky or unlucky with your weapon choice based on what you find. On top of that, only allowing one player to pick up a stack means it is risky for everyone to take the same weapon type. This element brings a lot more strategy and planning into playing Back 4 Blood and anyone who knows me will know that strategy is one of my favourite parts of any game.
The most important part of a game for me is the story. Now I will not go into any details regarding exactly what happens as I feel everyone should experience it for themselves however, my biggest concern is that the story is going to be similar to Left 4 Dead where there is not much of it. There is no way to tell how big of a story it will be. It is promising with the first act that they have given us being a decent amount to start. I always felt that the Left 4 Dead story was short and lackluster. As a result, I do hope that Back 4 Blood offers a lot more in this regard.
Lastly, the PvP element is far better already than what it was in Left 4 Dead. The added mutations for the “ridden” are just another aspect of diversity to Back 4 Blood that allows players to have a different experience each time they open the game. Giving the player the ability to choose from a selection of ridden types and how to evolve them brings various ways to approach the PvP game mode in Back 4 Blood.
Ultimately I am excited for the release of Back 4 Blood later this year. I implore all of you who enjoyed the Left 4 Dead franchise to give this game a try. I am sure most of you will enjoy it and find that while there are a few similarities between Back 4 Blood and Left 4 Dead the differences will make the experience a lot better.