Again 4 Blood’s idea is a slam dunk. Give the crew liable 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 large footwear to fill, can the frenetic first-person shooter recapture the magic? Whereas not excellent, Again 4 Blood is a genuinely enjoyable time with pals, and it has sufficient new tips to maintain followers coming again for extra.
Again 4 Blood’s gunplay is a serious spotlight. The weapons must 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. The whole lot from crushing Ridden craniums along 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 troublesome, particularly initially, and I used to be stunned by its unrelenting enemy mobs. Whereas I liked the heated moments the place victory is in query, the problem stability is off. The adjustments in problem come from the Sport Director. This method tinkers with gamers’ experiences from degree to degree, throwing the whole lot from fog to flaming contaminated at you, that means two playthroughs of the identical stage could be fully totally different. There have been too many occasions I might get by a degree with minor hiccups, solely to get overpowered inside minutes of the following section and vice-versa. The Director additionally appears to overcorrect after zombies turned too oppressive, and my squad would simply stroll by the remainder of a degree with little greater than a scratch after an enormous struggle. The sport can strike the appropriate stability, however I want these highs and lows had been tuned to supply a extra constant expertise.
That issue curve is extra manageable because of the cardboard system, Turtle Rock’s wrinkle on the basic method. As gamers progress by the co-op marketing campaign, they acquire provide factors that may be spent on improve playing cards for every Cleaner. These vary from minor 10 p.c boosts to very important expertise reminiscent of gaining well being again from kills to an additional life in case your crew fails its goal.
The expertise began to click on for me after I started to construct courses that matched my scenario. By Act 3, I had assembled sufficient playing cards to create a shotgun-wielding tank that would dash into the fray, mow down dozens of zombies, and run again with out shedding a lot HP, because of a card that gave me well being for touchdown hits with my growth shot. One other time, my crew and I had been failing to complete off a boss, solely to roll over him once we all added a card that added 20 p.c harm to the particular Ridden’s weak spot. The extra my crew different our decks and loadouts, the much less we’d need to drop ammo for each other, and we turned 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’ve got a full crew shredding by 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 preventing the undead previously and why I’m excited to do it once more in 2021.
On the flip aspect, solo gamers could have fewer causes to be excited. Again 4 Blood’s AI companions are competent and useful if you want an additional well being enhance or ammo. However the lack of stat monitoring, provide factors, and even achievement unlocks saved me distant from the solo motion. That is disappointing for gamers who need to benefit from the recreation 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 extreme matches of the marketing campaign. The mode isn’t offensively unhealthy however pales compared to the remainder of the sport’s engrossing co-op bundle, and after a couple of rounds on this PvP mode, I used to be content material to place it down to return to PvE.
Again 4 Blood is considered one of my consolation meals video games of 2021. It is a wonderful time with pals 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.