Back 4 Blood the New Left 4 Dead

More than 10 years ago, I played Left 4 Dead with my son. Now the Back 4 Blood game is the spiritual successor. I’ve read that same sentiment about the game, but now I can confirm. The graphics are modern, but the gameplay reminds me of the fun we shared those years ago.

Back 4 Blood Game Graphics and Almost Classic Gameplay

Back 4 Blood gameplay shooting guns in blood splattered halways
Back 4 Blood is a Better Looking Left 4 Dead

The graphics include updated lighting, textures and even DLSS now. They are not as impressive as the ray traced goodness of Cyberpunk, but a big upgrade over Left 4 Dead 2. It ran super smooth for me in both solo and multiplayer.

Usually I mess with graphics before playing, but I jumped right in and felt no need to adjust. Even after checking options later, everything looked in order. In great games, the settings just sort of disappear.

The one thing I did change right away was the Microphone setting from Push to Talk to Open Mic. With such a fast paced game, it’s hard to push a button to scream for help while trying to shoot.

Good Coop Gameplay with Some Light Story

The story is obviously about zombies and survivors, but the game refers to the undead as the ridden. I was too busy playing to get too deep into the Back 4 Blood’s lore. Each act moves the overall story forward. I like that there’s a light story to go along with the team survival gameplay.

Each character in the game includes their own story, special ability and signature secondary weapon. I picked both Walker and Evangelo in my playthroughs.

Walker provides 10+ team health bonus, a 20% accuracy bonus for 5 seconds after a precision kill and 10% increased damage. His secondary weapon is a Glock. I loved how he was a high health and effective zombie killer with a gun for backup.

Evangelo was definitely more of a run, hack and slash sort of character. Great for someone that wants those melee kills. His specials include 5% increases movement speed, can break grabs every 60 seconds, and 25% stamina regeneration. Evangelo’s secondary weapon is a machete (hack and slash).

Back 4 Blood Game Extra Layers

Beyond selecting a character, there are cards dealt to tailor the way I played. The “director” (AI controlling the monsters) deals random Corruption cards to further challenge players. I’ve seen things like door alarms that attract the horde and possible rewards for completing a run under specific conditions.

Before each map, I also selected from a few dealt cards to improve parts of my run. I opt for extra health first, then ammo or reload speed, and then stamina. It’s great to further tilt a character to the way I want to play. Apparently building a deck of cards is a big part of late game strategy.

Once in game, there’s a supply box that doubles as a store to buy weapons before starting the run. I like choosing my preferred guns, attachments, grenades, health kits, etc.. There’s a spending limit to force hard choices.

When not actively on a run, there’s a survivor camp with gun range, a place to build card decks and more. The gun range is a nice touch to get a feel for which guns work the way I want to play. Later I’ll spend some time around camp to see what other surprises there are.

Teaming up with my Son and Back 4 Blood Randoms

Back 4 Blood Ridden Ogre Zombie
Fighting the Ridden Ogre

After my solo run (with bots) to try out the controls, I searched for a game through the Quickplay option. I joined a Back 4 Blood run in progress. The game treated me to spectator cam and option to take control of one of the bots. It was great to drop right into a game.

I also lucked out with a fully loaded team all with microphones. It was a ton of fun backing each other up, reviving each other and calling out threats. That teamwork is where the real game magic happens. It’s odd working with random people that are so vocal, but it’s so much better than bots.

Playing with friends is great, but schedules are hard and the Game Pass subscription provides plenty of other real life players to fill in. The Back 4 Blood game offers a Season Pass that cost extra, so we’ll see how long it keeps my interest for that.

My fun times were cut short for that run and I dropped out right before they triggered an in game event to call the herd. Sleep is necessary, so I forced myself to stop. I felt bad, but found later someone else can easily drop into their game to take my spot.

The Real Fun Began When my Son Joined

Once I convinced my son to start playing, we created a game together. Two more random people joined, but they were silent. Without mics, they were like super smart bots. That thought was premature once they didn’t prove too much more help compared to bots. We ran out of retries and were throw back to the survivor camp lobby area. Epic team fail.

For our next run, we ended up with 1 loud random player and another that was completely silent. My son hates annoying random players, so I’m surprised he stuck around. The loud player even had a crying baby in the background. After a minute of that, I was very tempted to mute the guy (probably what my son did). Glad I didn’t, because the baby stopped and the guy turned out to be a great teammate.

We took down a giant Ogre ridden the size of a house and the only thing that stopped our run was me running out of time to play (they continued on with a bot in my place). It was a lot of fun, even with random, sometimes annoying people. If and when I can get my whole crew together for a full friend team, the game can only get better.

Play Back 4 Blood now. If you have Game Pass, then you should already be playing it.

Leave a Comment