Again 4 Blood’s idea is a slam dunk. Give the workforce accountable for trailblazing the zombie co-op shooter with Left 4 Lifeless one other shot on the style, including a plethora of recent trappings and a brand new wrinkle to distinguish it from Turtle Rock Studios’ previous work. However after numerous tech exams and a few huge footwear to fill, can the frenetic first-person shooter recapture the magic? Whereas not excellent, Again 4 Blood is a genuinely enjoyable time with associates, and it has sufficient new tips to maintain followers coming again for extra.
Again 4 Blood’s gunplay is a serious spotlight. The weapons ought to be acquainted to anybody who’s performed titles like Left 4 Lifeless earlier than, however the thrilling moment-to-moment battles with the undead are satisfying. Every thing from crushing Ridden craniums together with your nail-covered bat to mowing down zombie hordes with an LMG has the right weight, controller-rumble, and sound results to immerse you in an intense expertise.
Again 4 Blood is tough, particularly initially, and I used to be shocked by its unrelenting enemy mobs. Whereas I cherished the heated moments the place victory is in query, the issue steadiness is off. The adjustments in problem come from the Recreation Director. This method tinkers with gamers’ experiences from stage to stage, throwing the whole lot from fog to flaming contaminated at you, that means two playthroughs of the identical stage will be utterly completely different. There have been too many occasions I might get by way of a stage with minor hiccups, solely to get overpowered inside minutes of the subsequent section and vice-versa. The Director additionally appears to overcorrect after zombies grew to become too oppressive, and my squad would simply stroll by way of the remainder of a stage with little greater than a scratch after a giant battle. The sport can strike the precise steadiness, however I want these highs and lows had been tuned to supply a extra constant expertise.
That problem curve is extra manageable due to the cardboard system, Turtle Rock’s wrinkle on the basic system. As gamers progress by way of the co-op marketing campaign, they achieve provide factors that may be spent on improve playing cards for every Cleaner. These vary from minor 10 % boosts to important abilities corresponding to gaining well being again from kills to an additional life in case your workforce fails its goal.
The expertise began to click on for me after I started to construct lessons that matched my scenario. By Act 3, I had assembled sufficient playing cards to create a shotgun-wielding tank that might dash into the fray, mow down dozens of zombies, and run again with out shedding a lot HP, due to a card that gave me well being for touchdown hits with my increase shot. One other time, my workforce and I had been failing to complete off a boss, solely to roll over him after we all added a card that added 20 % harm to the particular Ridden’s weak spot. The extra my workforce assorted our decks and loadouts, the much less we’d need to drop ammo for each other, and we grew to become a extra environment friendly unit. Even after I confronted the ultimate boss, I nonetheless had loads of playing cards to unlock and new causes to return to the sooner ranges.
As with most co-op-focused video games, B4B shines brightest when you may have a full workforce shredding by way of the particular Ridden. Whether or not we had been yelling orders to at least one one other or laughing as somebody shrieked after being tackled by one of many wall-hugging Sleepers, Again 4 Blood jogged my memory why I spent so many hours combating the undead previously and why I’m excited to do it another time in 2021.
On the flip aspect, solo gamers might have fewer causes to be excited. Again 4 Blood’s AI companions are competent and useful while you want an additional well being increase or ammo. However the lack of stat monitoring, provide factors, and even achievement unlocks stored me far-off from the solo motion. That is disappointing for gamers who need to benefit from the sport on their very own.
Lastly, I passively loved Again 4 Blood’s Swarm mode, which pits Cleaners in opposition to the Ridden in sub-sections of the marketing campaign to battle in round-based encounters. Groups take turns enjoying as both Ridden or Cleaners, and whoever lasts the longest because the people wins the spherical. I loved enjoying because the undead, however I don’t love how a number of the particular Ridden just like the Tallboy management and longed for the extraordinary matches of the marketing campaign. The mode isn’t offensively dangerous however pales compared to the remainder of the sport’s engrossing co-op package deal, and after a number of rounds on this PvP mode, I used to be content material to place it down to return to PvE.
Again 4 Blood is one in every of my consolation meals video games of 2021. It is a wonderful time with associates that scratches an itch I’ve had because the glory days of Left 4 Lifeless. Whereas it by no means reaches the heights of its inspiration, the addition of playing cards makes me hungry to play extra, even when the sport isn’t at its strongest.