After a few hours of playing Back 4 Blood with friends, the game has left me with a good impression. Although I was thinking it might be a Left 4 Dead successor, it’s not even close to the same kind of game; admittedly, this is just a problem I personally had, not so much a problem with Back 4 Blood.
Basically, by how the developers structured the game and how they designed the characters, it gives off certain vibes that I got from the Left 4 Dead franchise. The two franchises have many similarities; from the character introductions to the way the special infected get introduced, even to how the game plays as you go through each map. Despite this, the two play differently. The perceived similarities were just my nostalgia playing tricks on me.
Overall, Back 4 Blood is a fine game that is quite fun and easy to pick up. It’s not fast-paced like Left 4 Dead, but rather it’s steady with moments of excitement sewn into it. It also has a number of novel concepts, a notable one being the shop where you purchase gear after selecting new character perks.
These upgrades stay with you until you complete the chapter. You get to buy medical gear, weapons, and attachments for your weapons (like scopes and magazines) which go into your character’s equipment deck. There’s even support gear to help beat or hold off zombies, such as barbed wire and pipe bombs that attract zombies before exploding, and a few items that make the maps easier to trek through.
As you progress through each map you’ll earn cash, but you’ll also find it in abandoned cars, hidden in rooms, and scattered throughout random places. You can also get a perk that allows you to see the money through walls and surfaces to make getting more of it easier.
Just know it won’t make the game harder if you cannot find much cash or better gear, but having the cash and gear does make it easier.
Back 4 Blood’s Arsenal
I will say that the weapons aren’t the best, to be honest. Many are just weapons you keep until you find something better. This does not mean that the selection is lacking options, mind you; there are many guns between shotguns, pistols, and rifles, all with their upsides and downsides.
For example, the strongest shotguns are the TAC14 and the Super 90, but I liked the AA12 best for its fast firing and reload speed. The AK47 and SCAR are reliable assault rifles, but if you want stronger more precise shots, the M1A and Pheonix 350L may be for you. The 50 Caliber sniper rifle just wrecks zombies, but be sure you have a good sidearm or someone watching your back since it is also a bolt action model. The various light machine guns are good, but not my taste; however, some of my friends loved them.
While there is a nice variety of pistols available, you won’t find yourself sticking with one. Instead, you’ll probably want different pistols as you go, which I like. If you want a strong-but-slow pistol, the Desert Eagle is a great option. Need crowd control? Get the TEC 9 and go fully automatic. Want high burst damage? Get the Beretta M9 Burst to get quick shots in on one target. Want a decent overall pistol but fully automatic? Get the Glock 23 Auto. And, if you wish to have a shotgun for point-blank stopping power, get the Belgian, the only shotgun-sidearm.
As for melee weapons, you have only a few options: a spiked bat, fire axe, machete, and a hatchet. Just swing and dismember. Nothing much to them, but they definitely can provide a nice and satisfying whack as you smash them into zombies.
Back 4 Blood’s Special Infected
The special infected are varied and still kinda fun to fight, but they’re nothing particularly new or exciting. Despite this, Back 4 Blood does have a few special infected in the mix that feel fresh.
The Breakers move in steadily, walking slowly as they smash, crush, and jump their way towards you in hopes of flattening you!
The Ogre is a giant amalgamation of zombies that fused and merged into a gargantuan infected made of heads, legs, arms, and bodies. It’s a sort of boss but not too difficult to kill; just shoot the weak spots on it until it drops dead or runs away.
The Sleepers are zombies that hold their torso on a wall with a gross-looking growth made of flesh and bone. If you see them and shoot them before getting too close, they will drop easily. But if you get too close and they see you first, they launch off of the wall and lunge at you, pinning and clawing you like the Hunters did in Left 4 Dead.
There are also Tallboys which try to grab or crush you. If you dump some rounds into the glowing, swollen growth on what’s left of their necrotic shoulder of death, they quickly get intimate with the ground as they immediately flatline.
I could keep going, but many of them are more or less reused from Left 4 Dead. For example, the Exploders/Retches are just a variation of Boomers. They’re fat zombies who explode if they get close to you and cover you in acid to damage you or will attract more zombies to you if they cover you in their guts.
The Story and World.
The story is kinda weak. I won’t spoil much, but I will say that I was only enjoying the game, not the narrative. Characters also are very weak in their development and weren’t very captivating for me or my friends. They rant and talk on random things without much entertaining antics or chemistry between one another.
The maps look nice and can be fun to explore. Since Back 4 Blood has steady pacing, every once-in-a-while you’ll have a few moments of calm to explore the towns and places you go through, and it’s still fun to do so on repeat plays of each map.
If you want to try out the guns and weapons before playing a map, the lobby acts as a home base, complete with a firing range to practice your aim and a spot to practice using the melee weapons. It’s a nice touch that brings the game together as a cohesive whole and I found it very fun.
All that being said, I hope this impression helps you decide if Back 4 Blood is worth your money and that it helps temper your expectations to enjoy what it has to offer. If anything, wait for a nice sale. I especially recommend this game if you have friends who will join in on the fun and simple gameplay.