There’s no denying the love that was felt for the Left 4 Dead franchise ever since its initial release in the late 2000s. So, when fans heard that the creators behind that series were working on a similar title - Back 4 Blood - to say excitement filled the air would be an understatement.
Now, having had the chance to check out some of the content we should expect from the game when it releases in October 2021, we’re excited to detail some of the high points and best moments from our hands-on with the beta; as well as delving into some aspects of the title which could do with a little fine-tuning ahead of official release.
Taking place after a catastrophic outbreak where most of humanity has either been killed off or infected by the parasitic Devil Worm, those who have survived must come together and put their best foot forward if they're to keep the human race from falling into extinction. A veteran group who are called the Cleaners have come together, hoping to take down the zombie-like Ridden who plague the planet and reclaim the world as their home.
Players can take on the role of one of these Cleaners and in this Beta, were allowed to play as Mom for the first time, along with characters Holly, Evangelo, Walker and Hoffman. They, along with up to three friends or players online (or a selection of bots if you like going it alone), form a squad of four that in the campaign, travel across linear levels and gun down or beat down countless undead, ranging from the typically easy majority, to the special-powered, large minority.
The choice of weapons isn’t too much of an inventive one; you can pick up light machine guns, pistols, bats covered in barbed wire and the like, which all get the job done but, when you see some of the wild creations in other video games such as Far Cry, you’re left wanting a little more. Still, the upgrade system for said weapons is very easy to pick up. Buying a new stock from the store which is available in each safe house for example, isn’t a complicated affair.
What did leave my group a little confused from the off however, was the deck card system. This provides little boosts to your individual character and team, such as an increased level of stamina or health, but isn’t explained very well - at least not when you’re dumped into the beta. Fortunately this, like the weapon upgrades, is something we quickly learned more about and adapted to. By the time we’d gotten through a level or two, we felt confident that we knew what we were doing.
It may not be reinventing the wheel, but it’s a heck of a lot of fun. The beta has laid down some great foundations for what could be a stellar and memorable full-game experience.
Back 4 Blood is officially released on October 12th, 2021 for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One via Game Pass Day One, as well as on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 and PC. A beta code was provided to Female First for Xbox Series X, in exchange for a fair and honest feature, including our first impressions.
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