Back 4 Blood’s idea is a complete slam dunk. The team that pioneered the zombie co-op shooter together with Left 4 Dead has another chance at this genre. They have added a lot of modern trappings to the game and a unique twist to make it stand out from Turtle Rock Studios’ previous work. Can the frenetic first person shooter, despite countless technical tests and a lot of work to do, recapture its magic? Back 4 Blood is fun with friends and has plenty of new tricks that will keep them coming back for more.
Back 4 Blood’s gunplay is a major highlight. Anyone who has played Left 4 Dead will be familiar with the weapons, but the exciting moment-to-moment battles against the undead is a highlight. You can crush Ridden craniums using your nails-covered bat or mowing down zombies with an LMG. The controller-rumble, weight and sound effects will immerse yourself in an intense experience.
Back 4 Blood is difficult at the beginning. I was also surprised by the unrelenting enemy mobs. The difficulty balance is not right. I enjoyed the fiery moments when victory was in doubt. The Game Director is responsible for the changes in difficulty. This system changes the difficulty level of players, throwing everything at them from fog to flaming infectious. It can make it possible to play through two stages with completely different experiences. Too many times, I would finish a level with only minor hiccups and then be overpowered in the next segment. My squad could easily navigate through the level without any injuries after fighting a lot of zombies. The Director seems to also overcorrect. Although the game is balanced, I would have preferred a more consistent experience.
That difficulty curve is more manageable thanks to the card system, Turtle Rock’s wrinkle on the classic formula. Players can earn supply points as they progress through the cooperative campaign. These supply points can be used to purchase Cleaner upgrade cards. These include minor 10 percentage boosts, vital skills like gaining health back after killings, and an additional life in the event your team fails to achieve its goal.
The experience clicked for me when I started to create classes that were suited to my circumstances. Act 3 was my final act. I had enough cards to make a tank-like shotgun-wielding tank. It could run into battle, kill dozens of zombies and return without much HP loss. Thanks to a card that allowed me to gain health from landing boom shots, I had enough cards. My team and I failed to take out a boss once, but we added a card that increased 20 damage to Ridden’s weak point. My team was more efficient when we varied our decks, loadouts, and ammo dropped for each other. Even though I had to face the boss, there were still many cards I could unlock and reasons to go back to earlier levels.
B4B shines best when there is a whole team working through the Ridden. Back 4 Blood brought back the memories of my time fighting the undead, whether we were shouting orders at one another or laughing when someone was beaten by one the Sleepers.
Solo players might have less reason to be excited. Back 4 Blood’s AI companions can be helpful when you need extra health or ammo. I was unable to enjoy the solo action due to a lack of stat tracking, supply points or achievement unlocks. For those who enjoy the game alone, this is disappointing.
Finally, I enjoyed Back 4 Blood’s Swarm Mode passively. This mode pits Cleaners against Ridden in sections of the campaign to fight in round-based encounters. Each team takes turns as Cleaners or Ridden, and the round is won by the player who lasts longer than the humans. While I enjoyed the undead, I didn’t like some of the Ridden such as the Tallboy control. I missed the intense matches in the campaign. Although the mode isn’t too bad, it pales in comparison with the rest of the game’s engaging co-op package. After a few rounds, I was happy to quit PvP and return to PvE.
Back 4 Blood is one my favorite 2021. comfort foods games. It’s a great way to spend time with friends and scratches an old itch that I have had since Left 4 Dead. Although it doesn’t reach the same heights as its inspiration, I find that the addition of cards makes the game more interesting, even when it isn’t at its best.
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