The Diary Game 24/11/2021 - Back 4 Blood: Poker With the Living Dead

in hive-184714 •  2 months ago 

Turtle Rock Studios is a team specializing in the development of multiplayer shooters, but not all successful. For Turtle Rock Studios, the collaboration with Valve was the most beneficial, resulting in Left 4 Dead, a game that brought many innovations in its time, defining to some extent how a PvE shooter should look like.

Since then, however, the subsequent attempts of Turtle Rock have been doomed to failure, with Evolve being notorious, an interesting concept, but ruined by the lack of content and monetization strategy of the publisher. So the California studio went back to what it did best: the formula of the team of survivors fighting the hordes of the undead. And so Back 4 Blood was born.

Left 4 Dead 3?

And the similarities between Back 4 Blood and Left 4 Dead are not limited to just formatting the titles, the new game can be considered, in all respects, a true spiritual successor to the series that Turtle Rock started with Valve. We have a similar group of four survivors of a zombie apocalypse, armed to the teeth, trying to accomplish various objectives while being assaulted by real armies of the undead. Here you can choose from several protagonists, each with their own inclinations and narrative backgrounds. But don't ask me about the story itself because everything is so stereotypical that you can hardly refrain from skipping any cinematic sequence.

It is appreciated, however, that these cinematics exist, thus punctuating the important moments of the Back 4 Blood campaign and offering well-deserved moments of respite after the intense assaults of the living dead. And the campaign is divided into several acts, each with a whole series of scenarios, the total number of levels included thus exceeding 30. Not bad, even if we saw many players complaining that many of these stages resemble each other. I don't deny it, but you hardly have time to admire the environment when you distribute bullets left and right, and the whole decor is redecorated with the blood, the cheeks and the limbs of the opponents.

When you talk about the Back 4 Blood campaign, you should rather focus on its difficulty and the imperative need to approach it as a team with other somewhat experienced players. Of course, on the lowest level of difficulty, Back 4 Blood is somewhat relaxing, the scattering of zombie mats with the help of the machine gun provided has an obvious therapeutic effect. On the other hand, as you climb the difficulty one step, hell breaks loose, and the thinness of the AI (if you don't have other human players in the team) stands out, frustrating you at almost every step.

Cross-play and playing cards

Fortunately, there is no shortage of teammates in Back 4 Blood. Even if the group of friends does not help you complete the team, the matchmaking system always connects you with players from other parts of the world, from different platforms. And that's because the title of Turtle Rock supports cross-play, not infrequently our teams (PCs) are completed by users of Xbox or PlayStation consoles. Therefore, the platform you use matters less, as effective communication between players is important.

Leaving aside the additional challenge of increasing the difficulty, another aspect that gives replayability to the creation of Turtle Rock is the implementation of a system of "playing cards". In short, we have a kind of "simplistic poker" played between players and the "AI director" who dictates the course of the game. The latter can apply to the session some so-called "corruption cards", a kind of change that alters the rules of the game to make it difficult for the team of survivors. On the other hand, the player can build his own deck of cards capable of counteracting these effects, thus supplementing certain abilities, power or reaction time of some weapons.


This system brings some variation to the game formula in Back 4 Blood, but not enough to convince an occasional player to resume the campaign, on a new level of difficulty, after its completion. And maybe a smarter rebranding of this system would have been recommended, the very name of "playing cards" reminding you of Free-to-play titles focused on monetization. Also in this somewhat repulsive direction is the central HUB where you can walk outside the actual campaign, a camp of survivors where you can customize your hero, you can talk to merchants, etc. It simply reminded me of Destiny, the immense potential that such a game promised, and the pathetic stage it has reached today.

In addition to the classic PvE game mode, Back 4 Blood also includes a multiplayer versus component, in which a team of four survivors must face the horde of undead led by four special zombies (such types of opponents are encountered every step of the way campaign). Although not the main attraction of Back 4 Blood, this Swarm mode can extend the gameplay somewhat, being still a bit unbalanced in favor of the monster team.

In terms of optimization, I did not encounter any problems with the PC (Steam) version of the game, which ran flawlessly on our test systems. And while graphics aren't his strong point, you can't stay indifferent to the amount of blood and human remains scattered through the levels of the game, so players who are more sensitive to this aspect should think twice before venturing into Back 4 Blood.

In conclusion: In the end, Back 4 Blood is the kind of game you can have fun with, at least for a limited time, but whose "fun" factor depends on several aspects. Do you have friends to play with? Do you have PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live subscriptions if you play on consoles? Do you feel like playing the same scenarios with minimal changes several times? Does the idea of building packs of cards in such a game make you smile?

Image Sources:

Back 4 Blood Closed Alpha gameplay preview: A taste of what's to come

Back 4 Blood is a Left 4 Dead threequel in every way that matters

YouTube Sources:

BACK 4 BLOOD Official Trailer (2021) Zombie Game HD

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