Left 4 Dead
Left 4 Dead: Updated Hands On: Dead Air
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It’s been a while since Left 4 Dead and I have crossed paths and it had definitely been too long for my liking. For all those unfamiliar, let me get you up to speed but rather quickly. Left 4 Dead is a team, co-operative first person shooter where you and like-minded survivors must fight off wave after wave of infected zombie-esque beings on the way to safety. We’ve seen plenty of Left 4 Dead up until now, but this was the first time we got to see a new chapter, aptly titled Dead Air.

Dead Air is the third of four story chapters that Left 4 Dead offers its users; having seen the hospital and the desolate wood cabin environments, it was now time to look at a pretty diverse set of locations. In Dead Air, you and the other survivors kick off proceedings in a greenhouse of all places. From there you will have to battle your way through the subsequent infected beings up to the roof, across the rooftops, down to the street, with the chapter finally culminating in an epic battle at the airport.

You’ll be quick to notice that I have avoided referring to them as standalone zombies up to now. This is simply because, the speed and ferocity that some of them move at is reminiscent of the infected in 28 Days Later, rather than the relatively slow paced zombies you’ll see in Dawn of the Dead. Some of them move incredibly fast and it must be warned now, this game is not for the jumpy. Watching a wave of zombies move at this incredible pace from roof to roof towards you is incredibly unnerving and adds to the whole tension of the atmosphere.

The speed and frequency of the zombies is directly tied to the AI Director code which responds to your playthrough, assessing numerous factors in to its equations. We were pretty strong when we were playing through and of course, the director responds accordingly with more and quicker moving zombies. The thrill of surviving a wave and wall of the rampant infected is unmatched by even the best games.

The game runs on the classic Source engine which roots trace all the way back to Valve’s hugely popular Counter Strike. The controls are quick and responsive, although sometimes they maybe a little bit too sensitive, but that should be fixed by adjusting your joysticks sensitivity. The gameplay seemed very manic at times, and you got that sense that you never knew where to look and what was coming next. I suppose it’s the sign of a great survival-horror game.

As far as the guns and such go, they’re pretty basic; with shotguns, uzis, rifles and even allows you to dual wield the pistols. At the beginning of the mission, there will be a big stash of weapons, ammo, explosives and health kits and pain pills, so stock up before you move out. You’ll have to make good use of your trusty torch because light is not all that frequent in Left 4 Dead. It almost felt a bit like Doom 3 in places with the dark corridors and reliance on the torch, but it doesn’t go as far to make you holster the torch to fire. I mean, who’d do that in their right mind? Oh sorry id Software.

Visually, the game is very ordinary and suffers from the same graphical glitches that Counter Strike suffered from, with characters passing through each other when healing and what not. It’s safe to say though, that the focus isn’t on visuals and is most definitely on the gameplay. It’s a shame as well because after seeing Left 4 Dead running on a high end PC, you can’t help but feel like there is so much us console gamers are missing out on.

Left 4 Dead on so many levels will require 4 human controlled AI players if you’re going to get the most out of it. Playing with computer controlled AI was a frustrating state of affairs and too many times will you rely on your survivor team mates to help out and you’ll be severely disappointed. Whether they are running in your firing line or dragging their feet, Left 4 Dead is best tackled with a group of friends or you may as well go in alone ... I suppose they make good decoys.

Left 4 Dead is an adrenaline fuelled rollercoaster ride of emotions where you must have your wits about you if you’re going to survive. This newest level captured that mood perfectly and seeing the sheer speed of the wave of infected flying towards you is a frightening experience but when you decapitate the lot of them with your pack of survivors, it’s a good feeling. My only concern at this present time is going to be longevity of the title; with its 4 main campaign chapters lasting just over an hour, each we’re worried that if the AI Director doesn’t offer the different-play-every-time aspect we’ve been promised, then gamers will be left a little short on value for money. However, at this present moment, this should be on everyone’s radar and then when the demo drops, you can make your own mind up.

Left 4 Dead will be available on PC and Xbox 360 on November 18th in North America and the 21st in Europe.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 1685
Comment #1 by narcolepticshee
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 06:46:11 PM
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Forum Posts: 260
Comment #2 by phatRizzo
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 06:46:41 PM
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This is looking to be a good game... hoping it lives up to its hype

Forum Posts: 7
Comment #3 by naked rampage
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 06:50:29 PM
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yeah this game should be best of 2008. Although...

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #4 by Krueger1428
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 06:54:18 PM
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I can't wait for this fucking game, my Gears of War team are all getting Left 4 Dead, so again we shall be unstoppable. Then, when we want to switch it up go back to Gears 2.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #5 by callofdutyachievements
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 07:10:10 PM
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This game is balls!!

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #6 by callofdutyachievements
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 07:10:27 PM
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Is this an FPS?

Forum Posts: 138
Comment #7 by BigRog69
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 07:14:55 PM
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Forum Posts: 14795
Comment #8 by Webb [STAFF]
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 07:15:04 PM
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I hate to quote myself, BUT ...

"let me get you up to speed but rather quickly. Left 4 Dead is a team, co-operative first person shooter"

Forum Posts: 95
Comment #9 by RadioactiveT
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 07:22:06 PM
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out of everything i saw at pax, L4D stole the cake, the game was fucking amazing and definately worth my hours wait to play, even if it was for just like 5 minutes

Forum Posts: 148
Comment #10 by Medaking
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 07:31:00 PM
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Sorry to insult your 'zom-smarts' Webb but in the remake of Dawn of the Dead the zombies ran, not too unsimilar from 28 Days/Weeks and the new E4 show, Dead Set which is awesome. Sorry but I

Forum Posts: 148
Comment #11 by Medaking
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 07:39:03 PM
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Sorry, seems it cut me off in my prime x_x

Forum Posts: 513
Comment #12 by Edable Giraffe
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 08:49:03 PM
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@10, where did he say 'remake'? in the original they were slow...

Anyway, this game looks immense, too bad i'm going to have to pass because of shortage of funds because i really want it... Ah well, maybe as a christmas present.

Forum Posts: 231
Comment #13 by Infomouse
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 08:55:26 PM
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Awesome, pure awesome

Forum Posts: 11812
Comment #14 by Tussell
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 09:33:04 PM
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FIRST! lololololol
Anyways, this is awesome, I can't wait.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #15 by UFC NoScope
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 09:39:18 PM
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Forum Posts: 15
Comment #16 by XI M4SS4CRE IX
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 09:43:36 PM
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that game looks sweeeeeeet

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #17 by IIx ShooTeR xII
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 10:04:56 PM
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i can't wait for this game!!!!

Forum Posts: 14795
Comment #18 by Webb [STAFF]
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 10:18:36 PM
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@ 12 - Exactly *inserts angel smiley* :P

Forum Posts: 7
Comment #19 by jond
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 10:33:27 PM
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i hope they end up remaking the Resident Evil : Outbreak series. those where tight. this game looks tight >.< XD

Forum Posts: 26
Comment #20 by sixty9carpileup
Thursday, October 30, 2008 @ 11:05:20 PM
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i can't wait!!

Forum Posts: 4
Comment #21 by pyrow14
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 12:06:01 AM
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dude i already own this game pretty much

Forum Posts: 602
Comment #22 by odysseus123
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 12:57:22 AM
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interesting, may become a rent if there isn't much of it to play, but it is coming along very well.

Forum Posts: 983
Comment #23 by Don Manolo
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 02:49:31 AM
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looks awesome

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #24 by Alex933
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 03:06:55 AM
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i want it so bad :p

Forum Posts: 148
Comment #25 by Medaking
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 05:15:23 AM
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Heh saw that one coming 12 ;P waiting for someone to say it

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #26 by Badlandz
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 05:17:57 AM
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Is it online?

Forum Posts: 541
Comment #27 by Shipley0110
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 05:30:26 AM
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How long does a chapter last? Seems a bit of a short game if there is only 4 chapters.

Forum Posts: 40
Comment #28 by GeneralIzor
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 05:53:26 AM
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Yup it's a must buy !

Forum Posts: 155
Comment #29 by Akatsuki Sw1tch
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 05:56:27 AM
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Can't wait for this game the only thing is why have the character models changed i much preferred the old models :(

Forum Posts: 14
Comment #30 by Invader Skooj
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 06:27:10 AM
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I've seen some billboards advertising this. This is going to it for all the zombie fans. Can't wait.

Forum Posts: 194
Comment #31 by The Lone Ginger
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 07:58:08 AM
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Yey me and my friends have been waiting for this game since it was announced i am super jumpy with games but i would get over it like i did with bioshock and its out on my birthday =D ill have many sleepless nights ...... because ill be playing it =D

Forum Posts: 74
Comment #32 by Vince
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 11:37:39 AM
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may have to give it a try after gears and call of duty

Forum Posts: 67
Comment #33 by oneANGELofDECAY
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 12:55:19 PM
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This is a for sure on my game list!!

Forum Posts: 90
Comment #34 by Ug the Mean
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 02:05:51 PM
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Looking forward to playing as an Infected.

Forum Posts: 102
Comment #35 by Zacxx201
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 02:07:58 PM
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This is a Christmas game for me

Forum Posts: 99
Comment #36 by Skeletor
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 02:13:58 PM
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Hey, admins...where's the Fallout 3 Review? I'm anxious to see one of your opinions of the game...

Forum Posts: 663
Comment #37 by Atarii
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 02:19:12 PM
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I love a good co-op game, I just hope this delivers a fun, exciting (and scary) gameplay experience.

Forum Posts: 3112
Comment #38 by Bleeding Star
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 02:43:25 PM
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simply cannot wait for this! GOTY as far as Im concerned

Forum Posts: 231
Comment #39 by Infomouse
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 03:33:36 PM
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VALVe is the best

Forum Posts: 149
Comment #40 by LAClennell
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 03:36:13 PM
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This game sorta sounds like Resident Evil Outbreak

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #41 by JRAPOCALYPSE
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 03:41:29 PM
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This game best of 2008? I think you need to learn a few things about games and the industry before making that call!! lol

Forum Posts: 2388
Comment #42 by Deyankees1
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 04:06:06 PM
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Damn cant wait, it looks amazing.

Forum Posts: 46
Comment #43 by S3R0
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 04:11:32 PM
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Sweet cant wait for that demo

Forum Posts: 14
Comment #44 by Invader Skooj
Friday, October 31, 2008 @ 10:31:09 PM
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Looking forward to this. As far as I know it'll have splitscreen so that's good.

Forum Posts: 115
Comment #45 by frero
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 06:39:16 AM
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It's weird with howmuch valve can get away. Seriously outdated graphics, glitches like 10 years ago, a campaign length of 5 hours, some of the worst AI,... and still everybody calls it the best game ever.

Forum Posts: 3112
Comment #46 by Bleeding Star
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 07:17:41 AM
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#41 if that was towards me I know alot about the industry and Im studying games in Uni, but if you would look closly as I wrote as far as Im concerned, I didnt say this will be GOTY I just said that it would be TO ME

Forum Posts: 4
Comment #47 by Revolt
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 11:53:39 AM
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wow i cant w8 for this game im probably going to be getting this over gears of war if i dont have enough money for both at the time.

Forum Posts: 295
Comment #48 by Brothaa
Saturday, November 01, 2008 @ 10:04:24 PM
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I have been waiting on this game for a long time.
Lets hope the reviews actually support the game rather than glorify a bad game. TNA Impact anyone???
Regardless I will be picking it up.

Forum Posts: 336
Comment #49 by Poisonheadcrab
Sunday, November 02, 2008 @ 10:26:00 AM
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I seriously was expecting to hate Team Fortress 2, then played it and found it to be the ONLY game I've ever played where I only joined a server to have fun and to NOT COMPETE. Guess what? That's exactly what the developers intended for it.

If I come onto a Left 4 Dead server intending to just blast Zombies and work with my teammates to get to the end and that's what I get, those 50 dollars* will be worth it.

*Yes, I'm getting it on PC and being cheap. So sue me :)

Forum Posts: 9
Comment #50 by Equimanthorn
Monday, November 03, 2008 @ 04:37:10 PM
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going to be awesome

Forum Posts: 42
Comment #51 by Cargot35
Saturday, November 15, 2008 @ 01:35:05 PM
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3 days!

Forum Posts: 821
Comment #52 by Chilidog Chaos
Sunday, November 16, 2008 @ 05:49:59 PM
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Can't wait for this.

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #53 by UHS Jenkins
Friday, December 05, 2008 @ 06:34:44 PM
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Demo was alright. Mastered it on expert second try, no deaths and on my own. Replayability is probably high but is obviously repetitive because all you do is kill zombies. Anyway, Defiantly will get it for Christmas but will probably on for achievement after one play through because online is about 6/10 from me.

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US November 20, 2008

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