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Been WAY too long since I’ve done a review.  I feel a little out of it tonight, but here it is:

Left 4 Dead

Platform: 360   PC    Rating: M    Genre: FPS/Survival Horror

What it is:

Visceral, intense, and built for friends.  Zombie hordes, gripping visuals, believable characters, and forced teamwork push the Survivors to the brink to stay on their feet.  All too often a good game of L4D has the survivors limping into the safe-house with a Tank and the horde on their heals, down to just pistols and temporary health.  Not for the faint of heart at higher difficulties.  Online play with anonymous teammates is rarely as gripping as with a group of close friends striking out to complete the current campaign.  If you can, grab some of your pals and get a game rolling on Expert, just to see who would crack in the zombie apocalypse.

What it isn’t:

Sprawling, forgiving, or for sore losers.  There is a severely limited number of maps.  While the AI Director makes them less predictable, they pretty much turn out the same way every time.  A single fortunately-placed Special Infected and you are down for the count.  With this vulnerability, you have to get used to the idea that part of the game is death.  And if not death, then injury, low ammo, desperation and no hope.  For some less-mature players, this reality of Left 4 Dead is the hardest part of the game.

Pros:

Gripping and tense, highly stylized, a great interactive story.  Still waiting for it to get boring, despite expectations.  Very fun online with friends and tolerable online with other people.  AI Director keeps the game tense and is a cool piece of tech.

Cons:

Limited number of maps makes it easy to figure out good defensive positions.  The number of frivolous achievements easily offsets the number of truly interesting achievements, making progress in your achievements feel significantly less rewarding.

Rating:

– Highly Recommended:

Splatter some zombies with your friends.  Solid, stylized horror.

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