Developer: Turtle Rock
Publisher: Warner Bros.
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Serise X, PC
Reviewed On: PS4 Pro
Release Date: 12/10/2021
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
Back 4 Blood is not Left 4 Dead 3. Ok, it really is, but with a few slight tweaks here and there to make it stand on its own. But remember, it is not Left 4 Dead 3.
Back 4 Blood is set after most of humanity has been turned in to Zombies… I mean Ridden. You play as the cleaners, who are there to fight back against the never ending hordes of Ridden. That’s all you need to know. As for the rest is shoot, shoot, blood, death, Ahhhhhh…. Shit.
Back 4 Blood is a co-op shooter where you play as one of up to eight cleaners and take on the Ridden. All the while trying not to kill your fellow players. The game is set over four Acts, that will see you and three other cleaners (be that human or AI), take on different missions. These missions on the surface are fairly simple with Find this or destroy that. With a safe room being the start and end of each mission.
Where the game gets complicated is with the onslaught of Ridden and all the variants. There are normal undead person and then others that have been mutated, such as Tallboys, Stalkers and so on, adding an extra challenge, as the constant stream of Ridden was not hard enough.
Let’s Play Cards
To make things more interesting, the developers at Turtle Rock added a card system. I was on the fence with this to start with; I was not sure if it would work. I am glad I am wrong. The card system is fantastic.
It allows each player to make their own custom role, simple ones like DPS, Tanks, Healer and so on. Allowing for a great variety of play styles to complement everyone. As you play with other you get supply points, these are used to buy card to add to the already massive list that is already available.
The Director, the meddling AI, making sure each run is as different as possible from the last. Will play its own cards that will affect the run you are on. For instance, putting a fog in the level limiting visibility, making Ridden harder to kill and many others. And also adding challenges making a risk reward system; finish the run with no alarms raised and get bonus copper.
Copper and Safe Rooms
As you are killing the hoards of deadly Ridden, make sure that you take a few moments out to collect all the copper you find. As copper is the in game currency, that is more than likely a life saver. After you reach each safe room, there is a shop that you can spend your gathered copper to buy ammo, health, weapons, items and team cards.
We will not always need it to buy new stuff as there are literally weapons and ammo scattered around the levels. It is, however a nice to have the option.
Co-op Vs Solo
I am going to put this simply co-op is the best way to play Back 4 Blood. As solo, you do not get supply points, no idea why. The AI, while decent, while with you, will get stuck on walls and that will be them for a good ten minutes or so.
However, with co-op, I found there is no shortage of 2 or 3 people parties looking for extra members to help. This has been further enhanced with crossplay being activated. As we know, co-op games like Back 4 Blood can die if server times are slow and lag is a problem. With the hours I played, I only encountered one problem, I could only ever talk to the host of the party while in the game. While in the lobby, I could hear everyone. But let’s be honest, as long as you kill everything who needs to talk. On Nightmare, you need to be talking or death comes quick.
While the balancing with the three difficulties is at time a bit off. With even on the easiest mode, the Ridden can make quick work of a squad, and there is no friendly fire. In the other two difficulties you have to be more careful about team mates as friendly fire is on and the Ridden come at you in bigger numbers and are harder to kill.
But ever was I ever angry and upset that a group I was in was wiped out, as it is a good laugh and you learn from each run and can play accordingly. It is a boatload of fun.
It Bloody Lovely
I have to say that Back 4 Blood is a stunning-looking game. Even more impressive that there was no noticeable slowdown with the chaos that will happen at one time.
Back 4 Blood is a game aimed at co-op. yes it has a solo mode but it fairly boring. The game wants you to play with others, and there are plenty of games to find. However, if you dislike playing with random people, this is a great opportunity to get over this fear. Until your pals turn up at least. Just go for it. You will have fun.
Back 4 Blood is a worthy successor to the Left 4 Dead mantel. It works well with the chaos and crossplay. With the card system, adding an extra layer of customisation that Left 4 Dead was missing.
Back 4 Blood is not made for solo play and if that is what you are after, you will not get the full experience. I would leave it alone, but if you want to play with others and have a fun yet hard time, it’s worth every penny.