Steam clocks me in at 25 hours of Left 4 Dead playtime over the past two weeks, and I think that says it all about my opinion of the game. In Valve tradition, Left 4 Dead delivers almost maniacal polish, boatloads of fun, and a very unique gameplay experience.
It also goes without saying that the game's versus mode is faster-paced, more engaging, and arguably more fun than the regular co-op mode. Whereas the latter puts you in a team with three other friends (or bots) and asks you to clear a few levels of zombies, the versus mode lets four other players to fill in as the "super infected"—pretty much zombies with super-powers.
Since the bulk of my Left 4 Dead experience has revolved around the versus mode, I thought I'd offer a few tips for those who're just getting started with the game, as well as others who simply wish to beef up their existing skills.
Let's start with a quick list of do's and don'ts for the survivors, since the odds are usually stacked against them. Well, that's the case unless those playing as super-infected are particularly incompetent, but we'll get to that in a minute.
Therefore, do stay well behind your teammates to gather ammo and health kits. Loot can usually be found in poorly lit rooms some distance from the main path. If you follow this strategy successfully, you may often be attacked by super-infected players, forcing the other survivors to backtrack and rescue you. But that's okay! This is where the loot you've gathered will come in handy.
Of course, playing as a survivor shouldn't be too difficult for rugged first-person shooter veterans. Playing as the super-infected, which each have a unique ability, requires a lot more finesse and scheming. You might do better if you stick to the tips below.
For those reasons, do spawn well behind the survivors and awkwardly totter up to them, your character's loud gurgling sounds announcing your arrival. When one of them finally spots you and you sense imminent death, do use your vomit attack despite being 50 feet away and well out of range. That might distract them for a second. Under no circumstances should you spawn in front of the survivors and ambush them—that would be silly.
When you're done familiarizing yourself with the controls by running around in circles and getting shot at, do make sure to assist your teammates. That means if someone playing as a hunter or smoker has a survivor pinned down, do attack the same survivor. Sure, you'll kill your teammate and allow the survivor to get back to his feet and shoot you, but what else can you do—chase the two survivors trying to make a run for the safe house? Nonsense. When you ultimately die, be sure to blame the game's AI director for making you spawn at the wrong place.
There... that's not so hard, is it? I've only covered the basics, but these tips should nonetheless help you blend in perfectly on public servers. If you get kicked out of a game, don't sweat it—you're probably too good for them.
Have you been playing Left 4 Dead too, and if so, what are your impressions? Do you prefer the excitement of the versus mode or the quieter, more cinematic feel of a co-op game? In any case, don't hesitate to sound off in the comments.
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