Sunday, April 22, 2007

Left 4 Dead Wit Yer Frenz

Buzz, buzz, buzz...The volume for the buzz on Left 4 Dead just got turned up a notch, thanks to and EGM magazine (same company, different media). Developed by Turtle Rock Studios and Valve Corp (yup, the Counter-Strike dudes, who happen to know how to make a fun multiplayer experience), Left 4 Dead is something most gamers don't know a whole lot about, but in the next few months that's about to change. In case you don't know, the premise of the game is survival. Rabies has taken over humanity and there are only 4 survivors (hence the dumb title) left. As one of the survivors, you need to hold off hordes of zombies with guns, grenades, and a trusty switchblade. The thing that makes Left 4 Dead stand out is that the game was built from the ground up with co-op in mind. From all initial reports, this is finally the co-op that everybody has been waiting for. Not a cheap Tom Clancy co-op throw in that has nothing to do with the single-player experience, and not a little co-op toggle that lets two people play in the same single-player game (a la Crackdown). Nope, not Left 4 Dead - This little beastie has been made FOR you to play with your friends, and if you don't play together, you're gonna be...well, dead. When the next-gen starting taking shape, most gamers wanted to know what new advancements were going to separate the Xbox 360 from the Xbox, and the PS3 from the PS3 (besides graphics, duh). Microsoft went the route of achievements, which have been a tremendous success, and recently Sony launched Home, that weird freaky virtual you thing. Besides changes like those mentioned, co-op was getting a lot of hype. Gamers were excited that the second generation of online games would finally feature other modes than CTF and deathmatch. Perfect Dark Zero started the fun with an extensive co-op mode, but the weather has been rather calm on the co-op front. Left 4 Dead looks to be spearheading the co-op revolution, and hopefully the game will be done right so other developers will follow suit and make games with co-op at the forefront of the experience. I want to be able to drag a wounded friend out of a hostile area, or be pulled up through a window by a friend at the last second. I want these things to be the core of the gameplay, not a throw-in during the games eleventh hour in development. With 4-player co-op also a feature of Too Human, it seems the industry is finally heading in the right direction.
Left 4 Dead is scheduled for release Q4 2007 on the Xbox 360 and PC.

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