Key TakeawaysBack 4 Blood is a spiritual successor to the Left 4 Dead series.The game will offer new features to help it stand out from the original.Back 4 Blood offers the same fun and frantic co-op combat that made the Left 4 Dead series so iconic. Turtle Rock Studios
Over a decade after the release of Left 4 Dead 2, fans of Valve and Turtle Rock Studios' iconic zombie-slaying series will find plenty to love in Turtle Rocks' upcoming cooperative first-person shooter, Back 4 Blood.
Originally teased back in 2019, we finally got our first look at Back 4 Blood gameplay during The Game Awards 2020. The upcoming title looks to be a spiritual follow-up to the Left 4 Dead series, which hasn't seen a new entry since 2009's Left 4 Dead 2. While Valve often receives much of the recognition for Left 4 Dead's success, Turtle Rock Studios was the main development group behind the cooperative hit, and now it is bringing that experience to the next generation of gaming with Back 4 Blood.
Back 4 Blood is as close to the Left 4 Dead formula as Turtle Rock Studios could get without simply throwing the Left 4 Dead name on there and calling it a day. Everything that made the original series feel so good to play, including the act-based missions, unique characters, and special infected, is on display in Back 4 Blood, helping to capture the same charm and features that helped push the original into such high regard.
Mixing It Up
In Back 4 Blood, players can join up with three others to take on hordes of Ridden, (Turtle Rock's name for zombies) as they complete various missions all with an underlying narrative. It's this basic level of DNA that feels so much like the original, but this isn't just a copy and paste of the Left 4 Dead series. Back 4 Blood also introduces its own elements, including a deck-building system that players can use to put together perks, loadout items, and more.
Back 4 Blood makes the classic cooperative survival gameplay of the series feel fresh again, all while sporting its own take on the end of the world.
Some of the items included in these card decks are weapons like an assault rifle, uzi, and even shotgun. While you start off with a preset deck, you also can unlock additional cards through gameplay that allow you to choose the perks, weapons, and other goodies you want to bring with you into battle. You can then select from a series of these cards at the beginning of the round, as well as during each interlude period at the end of each mission segment when inside the safe room. Being able to select perks that increase your healing ability or even lower the amount of damage you take from certain types of enemies allows you to better plan your approach, something that the original Left 4 Dead series never offered.
Back 4 Blood also uses a special AI director system, similar to Left 4 Dead's Game Director, which directly affects the types of enemies you'll run into, where you'll run into them during the level, and how many Ridden you'll have to deal with during each playthrough. This helps each run feel different, changing up how special infected like Hockers and Ogres—Back 4 Blood's version of the Smokers and Tanks from Left 4 Dead—spawn, and even where hordes appear in the level.
Turtle Rock has also changed up how some other core systems work. Instead of car alarms, which were heavily featured in Left 4 Dead, Back 4 Blood uses special Ridden that can alarm hordes, as well as groups of birds that can be scared, alerting any nearby groups of enemies.
Reviving A Classic
While Back 4 Blood features much of the same blood and bones that made the Left 4 Dead series so enjoyable, Turtle Rock has done a lot to give Back 4 Blood its own personality.
By taking the tried and true formula of the originals, Turtle Rock has laid a good foundation for the upcoming cooperative FPS. This foundation is further improved upon with the addition of the perks the card system brings, as well as the vendor that is located in each safe room. Being able to purchase various items like medkits, attachments for weapons, and even upgrades for your perks adds an entirely new depth to the core gameplay.
I've only seen a small slice of what Back 4 Blood has to offer, but so far Turtle Rock Studios has managed to tap into the genius of the original series. By offering new features on top of the core gameplay that I spent thousands of hours enjoying, Back 4 Blood makes the classic cooperative survival gameplay of the series feel fresh again, all while sporting its own take on the end of the world.