FROM JASON’S WALLPAPER FOLDER — I picked up Left 4 Dead with some Christmas cash and have been playing it a couple hours a day ever since. It’s incredibly smooth, and the game mechanics are based more around ease of play than depth of play.
That doesn’t mean it’s a cheap game — each of the campaigns offers many ways to slay the zombie hordes, and incorporates enough strategery to make Sun Tzu proud. There are height advantages, bottlenecks, use of flame and environment, and defense towers.
If you hook up online with a squad familiar with tactics, or with any knowledge of SWAT or military procedures (like clearing rooms before moving on, or how to tag-team corners from different angles to make sure a new room’s covered), then it makes slicing through the waves of undead even more fun.
That’s why I like the game so much, I think. Jack-asses who rush ahead like they’re still playing Doom II, leaving the rest of the group behind in the process, always fail. One man might get lucky and win a round on his own once in a while, but mostly the campaigns are designed to absolutely require at least three survivors to cooperate.
It’s a mechanic that makes Left 4 Dead about playing smarter, not stronger.
For example, you could go into a room with four windows and put a man in each, hoping to hold back the zombie legions as they stream in. Or you could put two men in a closet at the top of some stairs and two men in a corner in back of the stairs and bullet-grind the horde as it lurches up single-file.
Which do you think is going to work better?
My favorite ploy is to get in two ranks at the back of a dead end, then explode containers of gasoline in the mouth as the zombies pour through. If you do it right, you’ll barely waste any ammo at all while the bodies burn.
This is the most excited I’ve been about a third-person shooter in a long while, so I went hunting for wallpapers to celebrate.
Most of the Left 4 Dead walls out there so far are pretty corporate, so when I stumbled on this slightly off-cannon rendering of the protagonists, I just had to have it on my desktop.
Click the thumbnail up top or here to get the 1024×768 image.