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Edge: Left 4 Dead: An Autopsy

NGai Croal: "By the time you read this column, 2008 will be receding into memory.

Nevertheless, I wanted to cap off a remarkable year in gaming with a closer look at the co-op zombie apocalypse shooter Left 4 Dead. Valve's attention to detail and high levels of polish are well known, but after weeks of entertainment, I was still trying to tease apart on a fundamental level 'How'd they do that?' How did Valve take two tastes that taste great – survival horror and co-op – and make them taste great together? Here's what I came up with."

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TheMART3566d ago

Spot on. Left 4 Dead is a masterpiece and major co-op fun on the 360.

peeps3566d ago

well and pc :p prob more so tbh with mods etc

Man_of_the_year3566d ago

Na - i have played them both and still feel the 360 version is better.

thor3566d ago

Lol these guys really are fanboys.

"Attention to detail and polish"?? Where's the detail and polish in L4D compared to most games on the market? It's sub-par in terms of those things.

Survival Horror?!?!?!? What's horror about L4D? Zombies? Isn't horror meant to be scary and not cheesey?

Fishy Fingers3566d ago

Not sure what you have against the game but the majority of those who played it (myself included) absolutely loved it. It was just good old fashioned fun.

Elvfam5113566d ago (Edited 3566d ago )

there isn't anything that's scary though but I agree it's just plain old good fun

Big Frank3566d ago

Fishy fingers his problem is that it's not on the PS3, plain and simple.

butterfinger3566d ago

as most "survival horror" games. The special zombies (esp. the witch) were pretty startling the first couple times playing, and the survival aspect was definitely there. Most people that hate on the game haven't really given it a chance. Left 4 Dead was BY FAR one of my most FUN games of 2008. It wasn't necessarily GOTY material to me (too short, should've been $49.99 on 360 not $59.99), but I definitely had a blast playing co-op with 3 of my friends. I'll definitely buy it again on the PS3 (if it comes out) so I can play with my PS3-only friends.

thor3566d ago

Sigh

I don't care for the game myself

BUT you guys who found it FUN can't deny that what they're saying about "attention to detail and polish" is BS. So is the survival horror bit.

All I ever hear is that it's fun, well if you enjoy it, fine, but don't go shouting from the rooftops about how the attention to detail is so great when it's NOT! All it is is good old-fashioned shooting fun. Nothing revolutionary.

Silellak3566d ago

Can you explain why it DOESN'T have polish or attention to detail?

Polish - there are very few bugs. Of course it has some - any software ever made does - but for the most part it is an incredibly polished experience. What they have there, works well. Which is what polished MEANS. I'd expect no different from Valve.

Attention to detail - this harder to "prove" one way or the other, but I will say the world is incredibly immersive. Notice the scribbles on the wall from others survivors in the safe room, the way the AI director modifies things JUST RIGHT to make the experience as dramatic as possible, the incredibly well-done zombie animations. It feels like being in a zombie movie, which no other game - even my personal favorite of Dead Rising - has ever really captured properly.

It IS revolutionary because it is the first solid co-op survival horror - and it IS survival horror, whether or not you want to admit it. Find me another game I can play with 3 other people and feel like I've been dropped in the middle of a zombie apocalypse with them, where my only goal is *survival*.

Where does the horror come from?

- When the Horde starts coming after you, for whatever reason
- Lagging behind the group and being grabbed by a Smoker or pounced by a Hunter
- Hearing the musical cues of a Witch being nearby and just waiting til one of your team is inevitably clumsy enough to startle her
- Hearing the musical cues for the Tank and thinking HOLY CRAP IT'S COMING

thor3566d ago

Lack of attention to detail in L4D
----------------------------- -----

Graphics - every facet. From character models to animation to camera angles (e.g. when grabbed by a smoker) to textures it's all got less attention to detail than most games.
Shooting mechanics - last-gen. Doesn't feel like much of an improvement from Half-life 2. Really quite disappointing. Weapons are basic and generic.
Story - There is none. Whilst the half-life series has quite a good backstory and some good in-game storytelling, L4D's story is non-existent. No attention to detail there - or even to more general things.
Voice acting - For survival horror, if you want it to be convincing, you have to hire good voice actors. Zoe saying "I'm gonna die!!" in the cheesiest way possible is not good.
Immersion - The whole presentation of it - the arcade-style co-op zombie shoot-em-up where you can see your teammates through walls, the camera clips through scenery, the animations are poor and all the zombies look the same - ruins any kind of immersion. Hardly "attention to detail".

I agree that in some ways the balance has been thought about and there are little touches here and there - but it's by no means any better than most games in terms of attention to detail.

And I wish people would stop raving about the AI director. We've had randomly spawning enemies for aeons. It just has a couple of simple things like

if time_spent_in_one_section > 2 minutes:
release_the_zombie_horde

if total_health_lost < 100:
number_of_zombies_released+=1 0

and suddenly everybody's raving about it.

edgeofblade3566d ago

Thor doesn't get it. And that's fine. I disagree with the "detail" claim, but it's certainly polished.

It's not polished from a graphics perspective, but the gameplay is exceptionally well polished. The AI director keeps the pressure on very well, and because those algorithms are polished, the gameplay resulting becomes polished.

majorsuave3565d ago

Thor: "Lol these guys really are fanboys."

And you're not?
You stomp on the 1st post to bash a game you haven't even played, this is sad, maybe you should try and get laid instead of living inside the internet.

+ Show (6) more repliesLast reply 3565d ago
Gish3566d ago

I picked up L4D on steam over the weekend ($25 is too good to pass up). I havent been drawn into it yet as much as I have read other people have been. Although I have only gone through one chapter so far.

Fishy Fingers3566d ago

Much more enjoyable when played cooperatively.

Gish3566d ago

I will need to play it cooperatively. I also dont have friends that play on steam, so I am sure it takes fun out of it playing with strangers. Hell I dont have many Xbox Live friends either. PSN is the only one that I have built up some good people to play with. Anyone add me up if your on those. Live:Neszer PSN:Nesz

Scelestus3566d ago

There's nothing "great" about L4D, Valve or Edge. L4D is not a survival horror title. At best it's a HL2 mod. Gabe Newell is a fanboy as he's made clear many times since he failed to port Half Life to the PS2. Edge is proving more and more that they harbor a race hatred towards anything Japanese.

Silellak3566d ago

In other words, you're made because it's not on the PS3.

Got it.

edgeofblade3566d ago

All you have accomplished is revealing your bias. Clearly you see the world through Sony-branded lenses.

You see that bubble floating away from you in to the upper atmosphere, never to return? That used to be your bubble.

Scelestus3566d ago

Try attacking my argument instead of my person. There is plenty of evidence to support my claims, and none to support yours. Don't pretend to know me.

evrfighter3565d ago

clearly raging over edge magazine kz2 score and gabe newell's prior comments on ps3. How about you get over it and play the damn game before you comment on it and leave the game politics out of it.

Scelestus3565d ago

I played the game, and yes it's a fun multiplayer game, but I don't see how it couldn't have been a HL2 mod. The engine hasn't improved much at all. In fact FakeFactory's Cinematic Mod for HL2 looks BETTER than their own "latest version" of Source. Time to let go of that Quake1 source code.

nycredude3565d ago (Edited 3565d ago )

Why do you guys have to bring up the Ps3. What makes you think just because someone doesn't think this game is anything special doesn't mean they don't have a Ps3.

You also have to be honest and just admit that this game is just a fun arcady zombie shoot em up much in like many of the ones you use to see in the arcades. This isn't survival horror as we know it.

Also the graphics are pretty much a bit better than halflife 2, but halflife 2 had an excellent back story where as this game has non whatsoever.

Leathersoup3565d ago

You say, "Try attacking my argument instead of my person.", but your entire argument was an attack on someone's person. Don't be a hypocrite.

+ Show (5) more repliesLast reply 3565d ago
peeps3566d ago

L4D never really bothered me for release, mainly because non of my mates were getting it and the only real reason is for the co-op but at the weekend when i saw it on steam for £13.49 i had to get it and so far very pleased. I imagine it could get boring after a while given that theres only the 4 stages, however they are large and each time you get zombies coming from different areas.

Not many games now adays are 'scary' so i don't see the argument there, i mean resi5 is a 'survivial horror' and i wouldn't say thats scary. L4D can be more tense than scary i guess like when u get vomitted on - it's really hard to see anything and you can just hear the mob of zombies all going for you and only you and then before you know it your swamped and gotta be relying on ur team-nmates for help.

All in all a great purchase for £14 so far :D Don't hate on a game if you don't own it yourself...

butterfinger3566d ago

I don't see how anyone could be unhappy:) Make sure to play online or with some friends, because that is how the game is meant to be played.

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