Friday, 15 October 2010

Games: Left 4 Dead - The Sacrifice

It's also a joint funeral with 3 others if you fail...

This has been a bit delayed due to some outside factors (zombies!), but here we first game review!

Well almost. On October 5th, 2 extra campaigns were added for Left 4 Dead. You can see the original article for the release here.

Review after the jump!
The first campaign is 'The Sacrifice' (see above)...

This is the same as the ending of the comic book (linked to earlier) but unlike the comic book, 'The Sacrifice' gives you the option of deciding which of the four survivors from the first Left 4 Dead game will make the final decision. It is going to be hard to say much about anything without letting out a few spoilers, but I shall try my hardest! Although this is a campaign for Left 4 Dead 2, as well as the original game, the characters in this are from the original game. As usual, the story is split up into chapters; this time there are 3.

You enter the mission as you left the last mission of Left 4 Dead - on a train. The opening is quite low key and calm and you find no opposition when choosing a second weapon (obviously I chose a shotgun...) and proceeding. The campaign opens slowly, with atmospheric music. It is worth mentioning here that the game is controlled by something called the "AI director", which changes game elements based on how you perform, meaning that no two play throughs are the same. I did find on some versions that this opening is a little easy, although it was a good experience. The first perilous situation you find yourself in revolves around opening a container, and is enjoyable. The pace of this chapter did kind of taper off at this point on all three of my test runs, your experiences may vary! It was slightly uneventful after the enjoyable opening however. Possibly the calm before the storm?

The landscape quite quickly turns into a rather nice creepy woodland. This was one of my favorite moments of the whole campaign. Waiting for undead denizens to leap from behind trees. The sound added well to the atmosphere. You heard lots more than you saw, which contributed to the ambient sound of the woods and helped to make this an enjoyable stretch. The pace builds well in this part, and there are some great visuals and events to be savoured in this much longer campaign. The ending is much greater in speed and suspense than the chapter before.

There is a change in environment once again, and people that have played Left 4 Dead 2 before will instantly recognise this setting. It is reminiscent of a certain chapter, and has some very frantic (and fun) moments! It is very hard to say anything without giving away too much. So no screenshots for this chapter either!

Some random shots!(was difficult not spoiling anything!)

Shirtless men sometimes do crazy things...

Jam 'n' zombies

Attempt at gory shot 2

Attempt 3!

I am not entirely sure why there is a goatman...

...or Japanese. (it says Taki, I love you, goodbye)

With this campaign you also receive 'No mercy' which is a remake of the Left 4 Dead campaign. This campaign was a favourite from the first game, and once again it uses the original cast rather than the Left 4 Dead 2 characters. The atmosphere for this is wonderful, with areas including hospitals, rooftops, a series of burning underground rail tunnels and sewers. The campaign is rather long as well,  including 5 levels, all with different environments, meaning that it feels as though you travel a great distance. It is quite claustrophobic in places (especially in the tiny tunnels), which makes for some interesting encounters with the infected.
As with all apocalyptic encounters, it is much better experienced with friends. Mirroring Left for Dead, there is also the option to take 3 friends (or strangers if your friends have already been eaten), which makes the experience more rewarding. The AI director will create moments that you and your co-survivors will talk about for a long time.

Some shots from "No Mercy"

Doing this is less than advisable
(builder) zombies playing hide and seek...
Red Room. Red Room.
Even warehouses become fun with Mr. Shotgun
This is actually a very small wave of zombies...
This wasn't

I feel the need to give scores! So:

Atmosphere (music and feeling)  8.5/10 : Though the first campaign does have a few flat moments, there are some memorable places and moments that make up for this. The second has greater variety, and has a more intimidating atmosphere, with great pacing.

Visuals (looks) 8/10 : The same as above. Though there are few uninspiring places, the setting is both realistic and adds to the atmosphere. Some of the lighting effects look very...pretty. 'No Mercy' is also pretty. (See above!) Both have nice little details that add to the feel.

Game play (fun!) 8/10: The pacing is a little off for 'The Sacrifice' for some parts, though it does build to a fun and frantic end! 'No Mercy' has more variety, and has a more frantic pace. It is slightly less linear which gives a better sense of exploring in a post apocalyptic setting. It's also a bit longer. Both are fun! It is a FPS (first person shooter) so there is a moderate level of skill needed. However, even being killed is quite fun, and the less skillful have the opportunity to team up with more skillful players, for a better chance of survival (or there is easy mode!).

Overall 8.5/10: Though it is not perfect, the small imperfections don't take away from the overall experience too much. I'd definitely recommend it for any Left 4 Dead player, and anyone who isn't, shame on you! There is more reason than ever to buy this game and enjoy more campaigns (included for free!)

The lighting is pretty!


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