Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Left 4 Dead: First Impressions

I finally played the Left 4 Dead Multiplayer Vs the other day (behind the times, I know!), and I figured I'd post up some thoughts. I can't do a detailed analysis of any kind, (I'll probably post one up later once I have serious experience with it) but I can throw out my first impressions.

So, I hop in, start off as infected. I spawn as a Hunter and the game tells me how to pounce and swipe, followed by "find somewhere to spawn!" I will start by saying this was not intuitive at ALL. I was wondering where I'd select the kind of infected I play as, if it was possible at all (it's not), and randomly trying to pounce before realizing I had to manually crouch beforehand. The tool tip says you have to crouch first, but I assumed that was part of the pounce motion, not an actual crouch.

After figuring out how to pounce, I find our friendly neighborhood survivors and, well, pounce on them. I quickly take a shotgun to the face and drop dead, waiting 20 seconds before I'm allowed to spawn again. First things first - the whole suicide-bomber style of attack really got on my nerves. Being an admittedly crappy first-timer, I spent 75% of the match watching the spawn screen. Beginner friendly this is not.

I finally figured out how things work and try to stay with my team (which included a couple other beginners, not the best match) and discovered that playing as Infected pretty much means you spend a lot of time waiting, grouping, planning and spawning. An interesting gameplay mechanic for sure, but not one I was particularly crazy about.

It'd be nice if you were able to set up complex traps, but it just felt like - with all the multiple paths through any given level - that as infected you really needed to know the map to be effective. I spent a lot of time running around looking for decent spawn areas, and waiting around corners for survivors that never showed.

A couple quick suggestions I can think of to improve things a bit:
  • Instead of watching a spawn screen, give Infected control over generic zombies when their main dies. You won't do a lot of damage but it lets you feel like you're still in the game, and you can still shuffle around a bit. You can also spend this time getting a feel for the level.
  • Let characters swap. You won't always have a Boomer, but when you do you should be able to pass him to another player if he's a better Boomer.
  • When spawning, give Infected the option to teleport to the nearest teammate.
One last thing is that when playing as the Survivors, I didn't really feel like I was playing a human opponent - though there was teamwork and planning, it just still felt like going through the zombie horde. I know this is intentional so the survivors still feel like survivors, and it doesn't turn into TF2: Zombie Edition, but maybe giving Infected more health (so they don't die instantly) and balancing it out by adding in more health packs, would really give the multiplayer a competitive feel.

All said and done, I did still enjoy myself, and I'll do it again. I just think there's room for improvement, and this blog is built on the concept that nothing is perfect.

No comments:

Post a Comment