Friday, December 12, 2008

Review: Left 4 Dead

So anyone who knows me in real life, which 99.999% of you don't, knows that I'm not a big multiplayer guy. Even when I log days at a time playing World of Warcraft I prefer to quest alone than group up because when I was 12 I was picked last in gym class and it's kept me from developing the necessary social skills needed to truly enjoy multiplayer games by barking out comments about people's mothers into a headset and making my in-game character squat up and down on players I just killed. With that in mind I went into Left 4 Dead thinking that while I never play games online I certainly do love zombies and Valve had left a sparkly, shiny golden taste in my mouth called Portal I figured lets give it a shot. I instantly loaded up the single player game and played through the first two campaigns without and real issues or stumbling blocks and figured out the game pretty quickly. In a nutshell it's: Go from point A to point B and shoot zombies who for some reason have magical zombie powers. There's no plot, there's no character development, there's 6 guns and that's about it. So two hours in all I could think was how repetitive it felt and couldn't imagine myself actually replaying any of these levels more than two or three times. But then an angel from Valve sensing my fear that I wasted 60$ reached down in the form of an xbox live invite to join a game my buddies were in. Add a headset and my friend screaming in my ear that he was "being eaten in the corn field" and suddenly the game took a sharp 180 degree turn. 5 hours later I realized I had forgotten to eat dinner and the batteries in my headset were dead. Ok, fast forward to the next day with round two of the single player mode. Not even ten minutes later I turned it off because it was either keep playing that or smack my head against the wall for something different to happen. As a single player game it best resembles the typical zombie movie feel that they were going for. I love zombie movies but there's a lot of them that while fun, you can't watch more than once. That's the single player of Left 4 Dead. Fun but there's little reason to revisit it. Multiplayer however still hasn't gotten old to me. My growing concern though is without a solid single player mode the game will only have as much of a lasting appeal as long as my friends are still playing it. Random online games are good and all but it's only a matter of time before an 8 year old yells at me for doing the melee attack on the witch for shits and giggles and calls me a "noob" and that I should be raped in hell by the devil and when that happens, well that's when letting the xbox live gods decide my fate comes to an abrupt end because I have the patience of an ADD child after eating an entire box of count chocula.

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