Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Left 4 Dead's Survival mode impressions

I just got Left 4 Dead and I've been struggling with it. The game requires such a different dynamic than that of Team Fortress 2 or Counter Strike: Source.

In TF2 I can get away with pairing up, maybe working in tandem with a pyro as a medic or with other engineers. In Counter Strike: Source, I operate on a team, but in the long run, its about me.

Left 4 Dead is requiring me to closely coordinate my attacks with other infected (if I'm playing infected) and to stay close with my team (if I'm playing a survivor). I can't seem to get into this mode. As a survivor, I want to charge, I'm impatient, but I really need to hang back and cover the teams rear. As an infected I want to charge too, but doing so teaches a harsh lesson. Its hard to lay in wait, find the best spot, attack, retreat, repeat. Infected requires so much finesse, finesse I don't have.

But I sure am having fun. Every time I play, I can't wait to get into the shoes of a zombie nemesis.

Survival mode is an entirely different beast on its own. I played with TheRealBob, Wazn, and In_B4_Zombie yesterday and we successfully made it into the twelfth minute of survival on the sewer's map. While I was playing, it was clear how well the group was meshing, reacting not only to the hordes of zombies clamoring onto the platform we were holding, but also to each other. Did someone need ammo? Did someone need healing? Without speaking, there was a designated healing spot (the back corner) and there was a game plan for when someone was healing (block them from the hordes).

The tanks spawn so quickly. I think that survival mode realizes a completely different experience. When hearing the music start, signaling the spawn of the super infected, you are not scared, maybe worried, or panicked, but your skin doesn't crawl like it would if a tank were spawning in campaign or versus mode.

What do you think of survival mode and what's your best score so far?

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