The development team of Turtle Rock Studios is no unknown to fans of online events. He has an asymmetrical Evolve action on his shirt and part of the team is also behind the development of the first part of the zombie action Left 4 Dead. And if you watched the creation of the title reviewed today, you know that the Left 4 Dead developers remembered the most when creating the news. Back 4 Blood can be considered a spiritual successor, as evidenced by the very premise of the game. Back 4 Blood is at the core of a cooperative action in which a group of survivors fight a flood of zombies, it’s that simple. In the game, they are called Ridden and are affected by the Devil Worm virus, which makes them the expected combination of herdiness and bloodthirstiness. However, the nomenclature does not matter at all, and it is also not necessary to pay extensive attention to the story background. This is primarily a frantic action and it doesn’t matter what the hordes of enemies are actually called.
Players will take on the role of Cleaners – the last remnants of human resistance settled in Fort Hope, which serves as the headquarters for all expeditions. It is possible to modify equipment, organize card packs, practice shooting and buy cosmetic items, but this is not an important location. The main content is a cooperative campaign, in which I have confronted hordes of angry enemies in recent days and which can sometimes flood even to the slightest degree of difficulty. There are a total of three to choose from, and the highest one can already torment even the most experienced, for example, due to the planned interventions in comrades. And that it is not easy to avoid something like this in a flood of enemies, I probably do not need to explain further.
The game’s campaign can also be run solo, but the mechanisms of the game discourage it. Although the intelligence of the boots is a candidate, however, players will only receive any rewards when playing with others. The players have already contacted the account, and the developers on Twitter have promised to shine light on this aspect of the game and adjust the campaign for one. The situation is bizarre when live teammates disconnect from your online game and your team is then complemented by characters controlled by artificial intelligence. In essence, it is suddenly a single-player affair, but the rewards for playing in such a situation, on the contrary, are added, which is strange and overall, the deviation from the support of the game for one player can not be praised.
❗ Attention Cleaners! ❗
We have heard your frustrations about progression in solo mode and are discussing ways to address the issue. Thank you for your patience and feedback at this time – we’ll have more news as we strategize on potential ways to make it happen.
— Turtle Rock Studios is Hiring (@TurtleRock) October 9, 2021
However, whether you play alone or in a group, you must make an important choice before starting the game – choose a suitable character. At the beginning, there are four available and your decision is subsequently influenced by the bonuses provided, which take the form of personal benefit and benefits for the entire team. Under it, you can imagine, for example, more ammunition, health, or endurance. As for the arsenal, it can be modified or purchased during the event, always at the beginning of each level, which ends and begins in hiding. For the collected game currency, the weapons can be changed, slightly improved and it is also possible to buy additional items of equipment, such as explosives or pharmacies. The specificity lies in the fact that the game currency is always usable only for a given passage through the game, and when a new one is started – several of them can be run – the contents of the wallet are emptied.
In addition to the campaign, Back 4 Blood also offers the Swarm mode, which will partially recall another previous event of the authors – Evolve. And not only that, Swarm also combines elements of the battle battle royale and throws mutated Ridden units and human Cleaners into one arena. However, both factions are controlled by players, and the goal is for human opponents to stay alive in the ever-shrinking arena for as long as possible. Matches take place on rounds, the roles of players take turns and the survival time in the role of people is calculated. The best team of three rounds wins. The interesting thing about Swarm mode is that Ridden units have their own progression system, and Cleaters all have the same default set of cards from which to build their decks. But the first impression is that Swarm is a complementary product of the campaign and does not offer as much as the main mission. However, in the event of additional expansion, it could offer interesting potential.
In the case of equipment upgrades and management, simplicity is power, and developers do not complicate an immediately accessible action with additional rules. For example, larger magazines or sights can be purchased not only at the start of the level, but they can also be encountered during the game, but they always change piece by piece. In addition, individual elements cannot be shuffled between weapons, and you should rather forget about inventory management. So if you would expect anything more complex and look forward to it, let the taste go.
Carbines with the undead
But in the end, it’s not just about crossing corridors and mowing hordes of enemies Back 4 Blood. At the core of the game is a firmly entrenched mechanism for modifying the properties of the game and characters using trading cards. These players earn in exchange for so-called Supply Points, which they collect for the progress of campaigns in PvP battles. For a campaign, the higher the difficulty, the more points you will receive. At the same time, points can also be earned for performing side tasks, such as transferring a specific item to the end of the mission or avoiding unnecessary summoning of the horde, which can be done by scaring off a flock of birds or opening an alarm door. Supply Points are then invested by players in so-called Supply Lines, which are thematically categorized decks of cards according to use. They are divided, for example, into defensive or offensive, or cards that affect reflexes and happiness. From the collected cards, the players then compile their own decks, from which the game draws at the beginning of each level, and from which the players themselves have a choice.
Some of the cards benefit only the player concerned, others serve as a bonus for the whole team. And over time, in addition to the usual ones, which only adjust, for example, the amount of health or ammunition, more significant modifiers such as the addition of an additional slot for primary weapons will come into play. Of course, if you choose the cards in cooperation with the team, you will achieve better success and the experience can be even deeper and more tactical, although the term tactic in a similarly frantic action needs to be taken with due reserve.
The other side of the coin on the cards is the moves of the game curator, or artificial intelligence, ostentatiously nicknamed The Director. It is a system of random drawing of cards modifying the entire passage of campaigns. This draw aims to prepare a unique experience, for example, with the help of stronger or more resistant enemies or the promise of higher rewards for a quieter pass through the game without unnecessarily summoning a horde of zombies. The card system evaluates positively, although it deserves more comprehensive help in the game. However, the novelty in the form of Back 4 Blood cards will definitely not offend the Left 4 Dead fans, everything is fine-tuned and the individual game elements work well together. Even so, during those few hours spent in the game, there was no significant element that would put the player in the ass in terms of content or mechanisms, so the result is the good old Left 4 Dead, only in a new guise and with the described cards.
So if L4D is your cup of coffee, you don’t even have to read the review. Back 4 Blood continues in a similar spirit, and the developers have succeeded in building with honor, although they have embarked on a path of safe evolution. The lack of originality, in addition to the added system of cards, at least partially balances the great feeling of shooting and here and there the smiling moments resulting from the design of the levels. Personally, for example, I will not forget for a long time the shootout in the bar, which is dominated by zombies irritating the jukebox playing the song Misirlou in the version known from the movie Pulp Fiction. And this is followed by the energetic Black Betty and the shooting goes again. In addition, around the corner of the bar, a good man spray-painted on the hood of the van that the Canadians were to blame for everything anyway. Another perfect moment occurred, for example, when I ran around the level with the hand of an unfortunate man who had been eaten some time ago, beat zombies with this upper limb and made my way to the fingerprint reader. In such moments, you will forget about the recurring content and appreciate the overall variability of the environment, although unfortunately there are not many such moments in a campaign lasting about six hours.
For this reason, I can hardly imagine that after a few passes, after exploring the Swarm mode and after overcoming higher levels of difficulty, I will want to jump back into the game. I consider repetition to be a great obstacle, but unfortunately not the only one. For example, several times during the game, the sound stopped working completely and I had to restart the game, which freezes twice as much for the online title. In addition, during the review, I came across the limits of matchmaking, which often forced me to play solo, and thus I lost the rewards and the expected experience of cooperation. However, I assume that after the full release of the game, the situation will definitely improve, for example, thanks to the support of cross-play not only between consoles and computers, but also across two generations of PlayStation and Xbox consoles. For the Xbox, it’s also worth saying that Back 4 Blood is part of both the Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Play Anywhere programs. The trial is very easy for some players and Back 4 Blood can also be recommended to others. It is an immediately accessible and very nimble event, if you also like to remember or perhaps still like L4D, then there is nothing to think about. Just don’t expect a revolution.
It doesn’t end with death
The whole campaign takes only a few hours and is divided into four acts, the last of which is only a duel with the boss. The individual acts are further divided into sub-missions, each of which begins and ends in hiding. This does not end the similarity with Left 4 Dead, and players can remember the classic of the genre with the system of death. As in the mention of the classic, the losing players return after a few moments and the others can return them to the game. All you have to do is tear the cocoon into which the stinking Ridden wrapped them.