Left4Dead — Why The Zombie Shooter’s Still Going Strong A Decade Along!
It’s been over a decade since Valve released the world’s most beloved apocalyptic first-person zombie shooter Left4Dead (November of 2008), and despite its aging status, the game series remains very much alive and well today. But what was it that made this game so compelling that people would continue to play it almost religiously a decade on, and what does the future of the world’s most famed zombie shooter hold in store for the world of zombie franchises?
First off, when we think of zombie games, we typically think of the survival-horror genre, especially series like that of Resident Evil, Evil Dead, Dead Island, or Dead Rising. One of the really unique aspects of Left4Dead that truly set it apart from the typical zombie titles such as those noted above, was its arcade like game play, easy to learn game play mechanics, and fast paced run ‘n gun rampages.
Rather than solving a puzzle or unlocking clues, the entire Left4Dead series is centered upon fast-paced, in your face zombie shooting mayhem! Pitted as a team of four survivors, players embark on a series of quests to fight their way through zombie hordes in hopes of not being one of the unlucky ones who’re quote, “Left for Dead!” Unlike the Resident Evil series that often encompasses a semi open-world environment, the campaigns in Left4Dead typically take on a linear form of progression, with the object of the game being to make it to the next safe room alive, or be eaten alive!
Rather than unlocking the secrets of the Umbrella Corporation in Resident Evil, in Left4Dead players are bashing the heads of zombies with guitars, frying pans, and baseball bats, or simply carving them up with machete’s and chainsaws. Although, despite the series penchant for blood, its hardly scary by any means, and the mannerisms of the characters often take on a comical approach in terms of its story lines.
Mods & Custom Campaigns Keep The Left4Dead Community Alive!
It’s no secret that mods have played a huge role in the long-term success of the Left4Dead series, with new mods continuing to hit the L4D2 workshop on Steam at a still constant pace. The endless variety of mods for the game create a dynamic experience that constantly changes, giving gamers an added reason not to put down their controllers.
From aliens, to skeletons, and even dinosaurs, to customized weapons, and a long variety of voice packs, there’s a mod for that! And don’t even get me started on all the Nintendo themed mods, in which there’s practically a mod for every star in the Milky Way galaxy! Left4Mario anyone? How about a Donkey Kong Charger?
Pictured below is just one of the many skeleton mods made available for the survivors in Left4Dead.
Check out the video below of an awesome alien mod! This one is one of my most favorite among all mods! It replaces the traditional zombies with aliens themed after the original movie series. Besides their realistic looking zombie appeal, there’s a separate mod that gives them green blood!
If you’re a Star Wars fan, there’s a really cool Death Star themed survival map, and even a number of original Star Wars characters you can include with a few additional mods.
The never ending variety of custom campaigns also give gamers a viable reason to stay on the Left4Dead wagon. One of my favorites is the Loony Park campaign shown below.
Variety of Game Play Options:
Left4Dead has partially survived as a result of its strong sense of community among its avid user base, and despite its decade old existence, it still remains a top choice among competitive gamers today, thanks in part to its heavily sought after vs. multiplayer mode.
Despite the game’s fast-paced, action oriented dynamics, Left4Dead is also a game of skill, strategy, and wit! From a multiplayer perspective, this game requires real team work in order to prevail in online matches.
Then of course there’s single player, campaign, and survival modes, among others. One of my favorite survival campaigns would have to be Helms Deep Reborn! The survival and campaign modes are great for when you’re playing with a group of friends and just want to take a break from the intensity of playing in vs. mode.
Left4Dead Proves PC Games Are Just Better:
Hardly a year after Left4Dead 2 was released, and the game was almost entirely dead on the XBOX 360. However, despite its slowing demand on consoles, the game remains one of the most played titles on Steam today, and its not odd to find tens of thousands of gamers are playing the PC version at any given time.
What made the PC based version so popular was the fact gamers had complete control over their experience. With the PC version, Valve offered fairly comprehensive options for tweaking the game’s graphics to one’s liking, and gamers had the option to tweak things even further with their own graphics cards as well.
You also had the option to set key bindings, as well as play with a mouse and keyboard, or controller of your liking; while the console based version featured only very limited options in terms of adjusting controls and altering graphics.
Another thing to consider is that Left4Dead itself is very much a modular game, and anyone can develop for it. The ability to create new mods and maps for Left4Dead sees its limits only in the imagination of its creators.
The Prospect of a Left4Dead 3:
The world of zombie gaming enthusiasts have been speculating for years as to whether or not Valve will continue the beloved L4D series into the foreseeable future. The talk of the town at present is the possible future of Left4Dead being centered upon a VR experience, which honestly wouldn’t be surprising since Valve has taken a strong approach to adapting various other franchises to work in the modern VR landscape, including titles like Portal!
So far, any regarding a potential Left4Dead 3 remains to be mere speculation. On the other hand, its highly unlikely Valve would ever can the series given its enormous popularity and die-hard fans.
At present, rumors point to host of new Survivors, including Irvin (Gangster), Keenen (A comic book nerd), Garret Jr. (A Martial arts fighter), and a new female protagonist only know so far as being named Katherine.
Left4Dead 3 is also expected to launch with at at least 6 campaigns, some of which will be entirely new to the series, while others will flash back in terms of classic campaign inclusions. Some of the new campaigns include the Cliff-Hanger, Early Destination, Crash Land, Impasse, and Inquisitor Land.
What we hope for in Left4Dead 3:
New special infected, and hopefully a return of the classic special infected from the previous series would be great. While Left4Dead offered some incredibly compelling infected characters to play as, the originals were all known for having an extremely refined set of attack maneuvers. For instance, The Charger can only punch and charge, the Spitter can only scratch or spit, the Hunter can only scratch or pounce, while the Boomer could only vomit, scratch, or blow up altogether.
What would be really great is to see the classic special infected return with a whole host of new attack maneuvers, so they don’t feel so simple.
Another thing we hope to see happen is the return of the original survivors from both the previous games in the series. While I’d admit I love the idea of Valve bringing new personalities into the mix for the survivors, I’d still like to see the original personalities we know and love return with vengeance!
If Valve does move forward with a Left4Dead 3, hopefully they’ll take a multi-pronged approach to playability, offering VR and non-VR versions of the game for sale. VR is great, and it brings modern gaming to life in a truly realistic way, but not everyone has access to, nor can afford this technology at present. Likewise, not everyone wants to run around their living rooms, flailing their arms endlessly when fighting hordes incoming zombies.
If Valve wants to make Left4Dead great again, they should stick to providing the classic controller support the world is already use too, and make the possibility of VR an option for gamers, rather than a mandate.
It’s honestly a rare event that a given video game can be considered so compelling it can stand the test of time, but Left4Dead is indeed one of those special cases. Often, even the best of games often begin to lose relevance with gamers within a matter of months, or a few short years at best. But, a decade later and Left4Dead is still going strong, and given its amazing dynamic game play, the world is still demanding for Valve to continue the series into the foreseeable future.
Written and published by Daniel Imbellino, co-founder of Gamers Bay! Connect with us across the web to stay up to date with honest gaming news, reviews, and online games!
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