Back 4 Blood Impressions - Wasted Blood

CriticalGaming

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Back in 2008, the good old days when Valve still made video games, Valve released a co-op survival game called Left 4 Dead. In L4D you and a small group of people would play as a four person cast of characters set up in various scenarios in which you and your group had to make it from point A to point B alive. Along the way an ever increasing army of zombies would be chasing you down, include the premier of what we now call the "special zombie". These special zombies would go on to be used in a wide variety of ways in every other zombie game ever made. You have the fat explody one, the tenticle grabby one, the screamy one that alerted all the others, etc etc.

For what it was at the time L4D was a fun little co-op game that could be played with friends or randoms and the experience didn't really change all that much. You had the guy who ran off and died so far away from the party he was impossible to save, the coward who hung behind everyone else doing as little as possible, the one who had never played an FPS before and thus sprayed most of their ammo into the nearest wall or floor, and then your average fps player who desperately tried to hold it all together.

A year later in 2009, Valve released a sequel which was more of the same with different maps and a different cast but mostly the same exact gameplay. That too was also fun if a little samey, but it felt like more of an expansion to the first game than being an actual sequel.

Now 12 years later we have a new game. No it isn't Left 4 Dead Minus 1, aka L4D 3, because Valve can't count to three. But the good news is that Back 4 Blood is basically Left 4 Dead 3 and like most triologies the first two games do everything better.

Back 4 Blood has a lot of modern "improvements" to the L4D formula like gun attachments and mods, better guns as you get further into the game, a crafting-like system, and none of these new systems are useful. You see part of what made L4D so good was that it was so simple. You have to get to the other side of the map without getting eaten in an area filled with things that want nothing more than to eat you. Simple straightforward and endlessly replayable. By adding a basic-bastard of a loot system into the formula you essentially ensure that the pace has to come to a screeching halt everytime there is a break in the action while every player frantically runs around with the nose pointed at the floor hoping to vacuum up all the loot possible. At very most downtime should be used to get ammo, and health and nothing more. This makes sure that any downtime is short and lasts only for as long as people need health an ammo before the next horde of hungry hungry hippos decends upon you.

The crafting system is basically like a deck of cards type thing. You get these cards slots for use on your character and each card will modify your character in certain ways. Again I think it's entirely wasted on a game like this because there isn't enough tactical reasoning needed in a horde of monsters. Mow them down before they eat you, overcomplicating this just highlights the flaws in the game as a whole.

Speaking of the game. This is another "Live Service" affair in which you are required to always be online even if you want to play a single player game with bots. Speaking of single player, the game doesn't want you to play alone. It even warns you that you CAN play alone if you really really want to, but you cannot earn any currency or achievements if you do so. Which means at very least you should matchmake with randoms online so that you can actually make some sort of progress on your profile.

Additionally the game is terribly balanced. There are two difficulties, recruit and veteran. Recruit is insanely easy, hilariously so in which even the biggest and spongeiest enemies go down before they can do anything to you. And Veteran is insanely hard, enemies have insane levels of health and the game overspawns the super zombies who can appear with no warning whatsoever. So you are either bored because it's too easy, or bored because enemies take too long to kill and progress through the level is slow, then your teammates or you will die to a super zombie you couldn't see coming and your team cannot do enough damage to it without someone at least getting knocked down.

The game is annoying to play and artificially restrictive against people who don't like other people. Thankfully Back 4 Blood is including on the Xbox game pass because otherwise this would be a very very big waste of your money as well as your time.
 

BrawlMan

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Speaking of the game. This is another "Live Service" affair in which you are required to always be online even if you want to play a single player game with bots. Speaking of single player, the game doesn't want you to play alone. It even warns you that you CAN play alone if you really really want to, but you cannot earn any currency or achievements if you do so. Which means at very least you should matchmaker with randoms online so that you can actually make some sort of progress on your profile.
Exactly why I am not buying it. Any game that forces you to be online for the mandatory or optional single-player is automatically a "Get fucked you assholes!". So it's World War Z, Zombie Army 4, or Onechanbara for me.
 
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Dirty Hipsters

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I played the beta and wasn't super impressed.

The bones of a pretty decent game are there, but they need to make a lot of changes for me to be interested. I'm willing to give the game a shot, but I'm definitely waiting at least 6 months to see how much they fix/rebalance, and what their monitization scheme is going to be like before I actually commit to spending time or money on this game.

First the good:

- Gunplay feels good. Getting a headshot feels satisfying.
- Movement feels good.
- Overall the general gameplay is fun.
- The different random difficulty modifiers are interesting and make each playthrough of the levels feel unique.

Now the bad:

- Balancing is terrible and the different difficulty modifiers can completely fuck you.
- Some guns are amazing while others are near useless.
- Ammo is a constant problem, and the different guns using different ammo types means you have to spend way too long scrounging around and asking each other if they have the right kind of ammo and whether someone can drop ammo for you. It gets annoying.
- Taking damage means permanently reducing your max health, and this was bugged during the beta where healthpacks didn't actually regen your health. Not sure if this has been fixed in the full release.
- The specials look too similar and it's incredibly difficult to figure out what each one does and how to fight it optimally at a glance.
 

hanselthecaretaker

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I played the beta and wasn't super impressed.

The bones of a pretty decent game are there, but they need to make a lot of changes for me to be interested. I'm willing to give the game a shot, but I'm definitely waiting at least 6 months to see how much they fix/rebalance, and what their monitization scheme is going to be like before I actually commit to spending time or money on this game.

First the good:

- Gunplay feels good. Getting a headshot feels satisfying.
- Movement feels good.
- Overall the general gameplay is fun.
- The different random difficulty modifiers are interesting and make each playthrough of the levels feel unique.

Now the bad:

- Balancing is terrible and the different difficulty modifiers can completely fuck you.
- Some guns are amazing while others are near useless.
- Ammo is a constant problem, and the different guns using different ammo types means you have to spend way too long scrounging around and asking each other if they have the right kind of ammo and whether someone can drop ammo for you. It gets annoying.
- Taking damage means permanently reducing your max health, and this was bugged during the beta where healthpacks didn't actually regen your health. Not sure if this has been fixed in the full release.
- The specials look too similar and it's incredibly difficult to figure out what each one does and how to fight it optimally at a glance.

Your critique reads pretty much like EA took over development about half way through and sprinkled their shit all over it.
 
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- Ammo is a constant problem, and the different guns using different ammo types means you have to spend way too long scrounging around and asking each other if they have the right kind of ammo and whether someone can drop ammo for you. It gets annoying.
You know, L4D didn't have this problem, because the ammo piles you found refilled whatever fucking gun you happened to have on you and it worked just fine. I'm suprised to see B4B can't get this right.
 
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hanselthecaretaker

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You know, L4D didn't have this problem, because the ammo piles you found refilled whatever fucking gun you happened to have on you and it worked just fine. I'm suprised to see B4B can't get this right.

Apparently they didn’t get the memo that those types of design choices are what made the game, um, FUN.
 

Dirty Hipsters

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You know, L4D didn't have this problem, because the ammo piles you found refilled whatever fucking gun you happened to have on you and it worked just fine. I'm suprised to see B4B can't get this right.
Yeah, there's definitely mechanics in this game that they added just for the sake of having additional complexity without thinking through whether it made the game more interesting or fun.

The ammo thing kind of works when you're playing in a full team of friends, when you're playing on the higher difficulties and playing slow conservative and tactical, but it completely breaks down when playing with randoms or without voice chat, and makes the easier difficulty much less fun by slowing it down.

Also the ammo types don't make sense. Like you have handgun ammo, and it will work for all handguns, except the .357 magnum and the desert eagle, which use assault rifle and sniper rifle ammo respectively. I'm sorry what? When the fuck have you ever seen an assault rifle chambered in .357 magnum or a desert eagle that could accept any rifle cartridge? And it's not like changing the magnum to use assault rifle ammo actually makes the ammo for it more scarce, the only thing it does is mean that you don't want to use an assault rifle and a magnum at the same time on a single character because they pull from the same ammo pool.
 

ObsidianJones

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Another Mash Note from me. Yeah, get used to it.

Actually, I gotta be honest. I do like that I like your views so much in gaming. Politically, we don't see eye to eye on a lot of things. But I get you when it comes to gaming experiences. It's reassuring. If we all could only get pass all this drama and get more into gaming, I think we could build a lot of bridges.

Ace review as always. But sadly, I'm disappointed. Looking at my Steam profile, I have 620 hours in playing L4d2. In L4d, I have 113. I don't know how much I played l4d on xbox 360, but definitely over 30 hours.

I have more than a month of my existence on this planet devoted to Left4Dead. I loved the series. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the trailer. I actually shed tears.

And then I saw Beta footage. At that point, I thought to myself I might pick it up on a sale? And the more I saw, the more I didn't even think I was going to buy it.

Once again, a month is 730 hours. I probably have 800 hours devoted to where these guys came from, what they birthed. For me to be so cold on their 'spiritual successor' makes me think you can't recatch lightning in a bottle.

I'm redownloading l4d2. Maybe we can all just pour one out digitally by having some Vs games, or some mutations runs.
 

CriticalGaming

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Another Mash Note from me. Yeah, get used to it.

Actually, I gotta be honest. I do like that I like your views so much in gaming. Politically, we don't see eye to eye on a lot of things. But I get you when it comes to gaming experiences. It's reassuring. If we all could only get pass all this drama and get more into gaming, I think we could build a lot of bridges.

Ace review as always. But sadly, I'm disappointed. Looking at my Steam profile, I have 620 hours in playing L4d2. In L4d, I have 113. I don't know how much I played l4d on xbox 360, but definitely over 30 hours.

I have more than a month of my existence on this planet devoted to Left4Dead. I loved the series. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the trailer. I actually shed tears.

And then I saw Beta footage. At that point, I thought to myself I might pick it up on a sale? And the more I saw, the more I didn't even think I was going to buy it.

Once again, a month is 730 hours. I probably have 800 hours devoted to where these guys came from, what they birthed. For me to be so cold on their 'spiritual successor' makes me think you can't recatch lightning in a bottle.

I'm redownloading l4d2. Maybe we can all just pour one out digitally by having some Vs games, or some mutations runs.
Was this meant for me my dude?
 

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I'm redownloading l4d2. Maybe we can all just pour one out digitally by having some Vs games, or some mutations runs.
I do recommend the Zombie Army series, particularly 4, and World War Z. Maybe some Onechanbara Origin for some silly fun (get the Deluxe Edition whenever its on sale. You'll get all of the DLC).

 
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ObsidianJones

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Was this meant for me my dude?
You and only you, my guy.

I do recommend the Zombie Army series, particularly 4, and World War Z. Maybe some Onechanbara Origin for some silly fun (get the Deluxe Edition whenever its on sale. You'll get all of the DLC).

I just saw World War Z got an DLC that allows for First Person Mode. I'm not ashamed to admit that I bought World War Z for my ps4 and barely touched it because I'm not one for TPS. Buying World War Z with the next sale that goes on.

Going to be hell grinding my Medic again, but that's how I do.
 

CriticalGaming

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You and only you, my guy.
Well it's a good thing that we can have common ground on things. You don't have to agree with someone 100% to get along with them. Nor should disagreeing with certain things a person believes be a reason to disregard them entirely.

I think it's perfectly find that we can buttheads on political views and opinions but still come together in video gaming. Besides, if we all agreed on everything, then the forum would be boring and pointless.