After more than a decade, it is now appearing, the spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead. The name alone makes Back 4 Blood no secret of its own roots and the developers do what they do best and presented a playable alpha of it.

Left 4 Dead 2

Behind Back 4 Blood are involved Turtle skirt For the most part the same developers as Left 4 Dead, but the whole thing is no longer created by Valve, but by Warner Bros. Games. Nothing has changed in the basic game concept, four players shoot their way through hordes of zombies and some special opponents on their way to the next saferoom. That worked wonderfully in 2008, but a lot has developed in the video game world since then. So is nostalgia enough?

In the alpha, the co-op mode could be tested in the first act of the story campaign. For the four sub-chapters there were four characters to choose from, each with different starting weapons, a few talents and one or the other piece of equipment. In the finished version of the game, more characters will follow. In the levels there are things like medikits, grenades and of course weapons to be found. Besides, you can Copper collect a currency with you can buy equipment and ammunition in the Saferooms and equip your weapon with attachments such as laser pointers or larger magazines.

Old gameplay and new ideas

As before, you make your way through the levels, in which there are a few tasks here and there that have to be fulfilled in order to progress. Of course, hordes of zombies want to prevent you from doing this, but they are only really dangerous in a crowd, for example if a team member stumbles into a swarm of crows despite loud roars in the voice chat. They then attract a horde of the undead. This is extremely impractical especially when you are dealing with a Ogre lashes out, an undead as tall as a house who takes a lot of lead.

In addition to this monster there are others Special opponents, the nasty climbers who can catch you or the acid-spitting broad-shouldered zombies that L4D veterans should be familiar with. In addition to many familiar elements, there are also new ideas. Little things like that Aim over the rear sight and the front sight, the said Shop in the saferoom or a Ping system then don't leave Back 4 Blood entirely in the last decade.

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The heart of the cards

Probably the most exciting new feature is the card decks. From a variety of You can put together your own decks for talents and bonuses. Cards give, for example, + 10 percent health, + 25 percent melee damage, an AK-47 as a starting weapon or + 10 percent stamina for the whole team. Has a deck 15 cards, but only of them a limited number can draw from a randomly selected hand at the start of each round. You can also draw a new card at each Saferoom, but they can also be found in the game world or can be obtained for killing a special opponent.

Together with the differently equipped characters can be like this create your own classes and well-rehearsed teams can get strong advantages with complementary decks. For example, you can create a kind of tank that can withstand a lot and even heal itself in close combat. But a support class is also possible by choosing talents and bonuses that help the team.

A system with potential for a lot of depth of play to take care of, but also for one awful in-game shop, which offers particularly strong cards for real money. Maybe you remember Battlefront 2 in that context.

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The game also draws cards

The Director-AI adapts the game to the game. On the one hand, a card is drawn at the beginning of each round. These then ensure, for example, opponents with bulletproof vests. As in the predecessor, this AI should ensure that every round feels different and dynamically adjust the level of difficultyso that teams that are currently playing without ammunition and with two people on the ground are not completely overrun. But that didn't work so well in Alpha, even if you were completely exhausted, the game still threw at you everything it had in store.

Co-op in 2020

Back 4 Blood clings very closely to its roots, but it's not an old-fashioned game. Graphically, it's not a force scary levels have a nice atmospherewho have favourited zombies look terrible and respond very well to your hits and the guns pop in properly. There is of course a lot of virtual blood. Judging by the alpha status of the game, there isn't much to complain about here.

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Until the 2021 release

Back 4 Blood will be released on June 22, 2021 and should cost 60 euros in the standard edition at least on the PC. The game will also be available for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X and Xbox One. One is planned Paid Season Pass with a total of 3 DLCsthat bring new levels, characters and other content. The fans hope for, of course Mod support, because Left 4 Dead developed mainly thanks to the community into a still actively played co-op shooter, which was constantly provided with new content by its players. Another important part that is still missing in the alpha is that PVP mode of the game, because this part is simply part of the game for L4D fans.

Back 4 Blood has the potential to become a worthy Left 3 Dead 3. If the game manages to refrain from an unfair in-game shop for the cards and decks, develop DLCs that are worth their money and the community heavily involved in creating further content, Back 4 Blood can be a really good game for fans of the Co-op survival genres become. A little more variety in the weapons (AK-47 and baseball bats are slowly really through) and the opponents could not hurt either. The temporary character development through the card decks provides more game depth and at least shows that the developers don't just rely on the nostalgia factor. That would probably no longer be enough.