Back 4 Blood has arrived The game from the creators of Left 4 Dead – the OG Zombie co-op experience – returns with a fresh new take on the experience they helped create over a decade ago. While it does some things similar to both Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2, Back 4 Blood is also an entirely different beast that’s well worth your attention.
Here’s just a few reasons why you’ll want to keep Back 4 Blood on your radar ahead if its general release on Tuesday.
IT HAS CROSSPLAY AND IT’S ON XBOX GAME PASS
The biggest reason that Back 4 Blood should be on your radar is the fact that you can play it on Xbox Game Pass on console, PC and cloud. That means that you and your mates can jump in from Tuesday as long as you’re all subscribed to Xbox Game Pass. The second great thing that Back 4 Blood has done is that it has cross-play across all platforms, on all consoles, so if you’re playing on Xbox Series X but your friend is on Xbox One (or PlayStation/PC), you can still play together without even questioning it.
IT’S GOT A KILLER STORY CAMPAIGN WITH CO-OP
Not content with just chucking you into an arena and hoping for the best, much like its contemporaries, Back 4 Blood has a fully fledged story campaign akin to those you’d find in the Left 4 Dead games. The campaign follows your cast of cleaners (more on them later) as they battle their way through Acts, which themselves are split into Chapters. We’re not sure how many Acts are in the final game just yet – but there looks to be quite a bit if the recent beta is anything to go by.
What’s even better – each of the campaigns can be tackled solo or with up to three of your mates for some fun co-op action. There’s a lot of moments throughout what we already sampled in the beta that really lets Back 4 Blood stand apart from the rest – including some nice and intense boss battle moments. But if you enjoyed edge of your seat survival scenarios at the end of every chapter of Left 4 Dead, then rest assured you’ll get your fix with Back 4 Blood’s campaign.
THERE’S A PVP VERSUS MODE TOO WITH A TWIST
Not content with just offering what’s come before, Back 4 Blood also features a brand new player-versus-player mode that plays with the dynamic cast of the campaign. Mixing old with new, the new PvP mode pits players against each other in a 4v4 setup where one side is the Cleaners (or humans) and the other is the Ridden (the zombies).
Each side has their own set of unique weaponry and abilities – but there’s a little bit of a twist. The humans must survive the longest, placing down traps and strategically setting themselves up to take on the onslaught of creatures. Those playing as the Ridden must find the best place to spawn (out of sight, of course) and equip the best abilities to take down the human players.
On top of that, the arena is constantly shrinking – adding a dynamic feel to things and modernising the mode – so the humans can’t just hole up in the same spot forever.
THE NEW CARDS SYSTEM KEEPS THINGS INTERESTING BEYOND YOUR FIRST RUN
Building on the system it helped pioneer, Back 4 Blood’s dynamic Game Director will constantly adjust to how your team is playing – ensuring that every fight is exciting and that every experience is both engaging and challenging. But what adds to this system is the brand-new cards system which creates different experiences with each playthrough.
The cards themselves have all kinds of effects – adding a fog to keep things close quarters or changing up enemy types and placement. The aforementioned Director will always draw corruption cards, which stack additional dangers to each chapter to ensure that no playthrough is ever the same. Other cards can be used by players to add special perks or abilities to their characters to build them to favour the style they want to play.
It’s the coolest bit about a rogue-lite adapted for a shooter to ensure that not only each playthrough is different but any player can jump in at any point with their mates regardless of how much experience they have.
Cards will gradually be unlocked in the campaign through supply lines at your home base and can be sorted into custom decks – though there are premade ones for you too. All cards are given to all players in the PvP mode to keep things fair.
IT’s GOT A HUGE CAST OF CLEANERS TO PLAY AS
It’s no secret that Back 4 Blood builds on what the team at Turtle Rock did with Left 4 Dead, and it’s playable roster is no exception. Doubling what’s usually on offer in these games, Back 4 Blood offers a playable roster of eight Cleaners. Each of them more experience than any of the Survivors in Left 4 Dead – and each of them with unique abilities and perks.
Some of them have better healing efficiency, some of them have better damage resistance and some even do better damage against weak points. Some of them even have extra lives before being completely knocked out of the battle. Combine this with the card system and you’ve got a party of personalities that will no doubt appeal to every player whether they’re more offensive, defensive or a mix of both.
….AND SOME GNARLY ENEMIES TO CLEAN UP
What’s perhaps most exciting about Back 4 Blood is the Ridden themselves. Strongly implied to have been created by some kind of foreign parasite, we’ve so far seen a wide range of enemies in both the Alpha and Beta but have an inkling we’ve only just started scratching the surface.
The Snitcher screams when he spots you and will summon a horde to fight you with each scream. The Tallboy has a massive club-like arm that gives him the edge in battle both up close and at a distance, while The Reeker is slow moving but explodes if you get too close. There’s even massive 20-foot tall creatures to battle in some epic boss battle moments too.
What’s most exciting? We’ve only really seen about five or so of the special Ridden creatures and can look forward to what Turtle Rock can do with the formula and the newer generations of consoles.