Turtle Rock studio became famous thanks to the Left 4 Dead franchise, which was created in tandem with the legendary Valve. Then the developers separated from Gabe Newell’s team, having decided to try their forces in solo swimming. Thus, Evolve was born. It appeared and almost immediately died: Even at the testing stage asynchronous PvP-shooter raised questions, and on reaching the release date, faced low online presence. However, this was not the end for Turtle Rock; on the contrary, the studio came to its senses and did what the fans had been waiting for so long. No, not Left 4 Dead 3, but its heir to the idea – Back 4 Blood.
The events of Back 4 Blood are set in Pennsylvania, USA. A large part of humanity has been infected with a horrible parasitic worm that turns them into terrible mutants and zombies. We get to try on the role of one of the Cleaners, people who are immune to the infection and help other survivors in every way they can.
The plot of Back 4 Blood is unpretentious. However, the project does not feel like a collection of disconnected missions, as it was with the Left 4 Dead, but a full-fledged work with a plot, development and denouement. The game is divided into chapters, each of which, in turn, consists of several quests. The story is presented both during the missions, when the characters talk to each other, and in the story clips between the chapters. This approach allows for a better disclosure of the game’s world and works perfectly for the atmosphere. Moreover, there are also enough well staged moments in the game, for example, the escape from the mined liner when your team has only one minute to leave the ship or the meeting with the military who shoot the mutants coming after you. And these moments are gameplay, you’re directly involved in them, not just watching from the sidelines.
Turtle Rock Studios has noticeably improved in storytelling. Yes, Back 4 Blood is still a long way from some purely story-driven Resident Evil games, but the developers have realized that there are players in the world beyond PvE and PvP. So, even for those who like tightly paced action thrillers with a simple but generally good story, Back 4 Blood has a lot to offer.
Caveats of a Solo play
However, there are a few “buts” here at once. For example, in solo mode you play with three partners controlled by artificial intelligence. Unfortunately, your bot allies are blindingly stupid, which does not help. They rarely perform the tasks assigned to you, do not heal your wounds, and only occasionally toss ammunition. So, if you decide to play the storyline Back 4 Blood in the company of bots, set the difficulty to minimum so it will be playable and more or less easy to win like in the slot machine games at – toponlinecasinoaustralia.com/games/slots. In addition, the solo campaign pretty much limits your progression: so, you do not get game currency, which is needed to buy cards (the local analogue of perks), because all the cards you have by default will already be open. That is, after passing the main story alone, going online, you will have to start from scratch.
As for the co-op, things are a little more fun. Interesting fact: Crushing zombies in the company of your friends is always more exciting than doing it alone. In fact, in Back 4 Blood this concept also works great. Passing through the new creation of Turtle Rock Studios with the live partner players is much more interesting, than playing in a team with bots. However here is also not without subtleties.
If you will be playing with randomists, that is, complete strangers, there is a great chance that by the middle of the chapter you will run into impassable wall of zombie mutants. Yes, perhaps you’re lucky, and your team will be professional slayers of the undead, or you’ll pass the storyline in co-op on low difficulty, or, at the worst, you’ll all suddenly play with a voice chat and be able to somehow coordinate your actions. All in all, there are a lot of “ifs” to make the game replayable and you start storming through it on higher difficulty.
Frankly speaking, sometimes it seems better to just run it with the local bots than with random users – it’s so sad here sometimes. And therein lies perhaps the main problem with Back 4 Blood. This game requires you to be a well-coordinated team player. This is not Left 4 Dead, where a lot depended only on the user’s skill and sometimes it was enough to shoot accurately. There are builds based on the cards, and characters with unique tricks, so well-chosen team is half of the success. Without it you are unlikely to complete the game even on medium difficulty, when you can be damaged not only by mutants, but also by allies. Sometimes in coop session with strangers its more like a gambling game or like playing an Aristocrat pokies. So, its better to team up and play with friends only.
Characters and their abilities
Let’s move on to the heroes. There are a total of eight Cleaners in the game, but only four are available at the start. The rest will unlock as you progress through the story. Each hero has his own starting weapons, passive bonuses, and special skills. For example, Ma can reanimate an ally once, Doc – once to restore each partner 25 units of health, even without having at hand a first aid kit, and Hoffman increases the amount of ammunition and inventory. Thus, the lion’s share of mission success is tied to the right choice of characters in the party and the right combination of characters’ skills. Whether you want to tank with a shotgun, kill enemies with a machete or bat so as not to make noise, or periodically heal your teammates – everyone in the team has a role and often must stick to it.
Cards ‘n perks
Cards further emphasize the characteristics of the characters. You can buy them, along with visual customization, for the supply points you get for completing levels. Collecting decks of cards and distributing them correctly, you can assemble character builds for the most different situations: for example, to bet on melee or increase the chance of first aid kits drops. The effect of the cards is different: there are bonuses of a personal nature, and there are those that work on the whole team at once.
In addition to player cards, the game also has level cards – random modifiers that change the layout in combat. For example, the entire location can be foggy or lights out, you may encounter both ordinary zombies and mutants setting everything on fire. Moreover, some cards give you optional objectives, such as finding and killing a super mutant boss. Thus, Back 4 Blood has a kind of game-director in the manner of Left 4 Dead, which, in turn, introduces an element of randomness to the game and, as a consequence, increases its replayability.
In addition to the story campaign, designed for both solo and cooperative passing, Back 4 Blood has a PvP-mode. Ideologically, it is similar to a mixture of Evolve and the Battle Royale games. Two teams fight on a small map, one the Cleaners and the other the Super Mutants. The less time there is left before the end of the round, the more the ring of death is squeezed. One round you play as a monster team against the Cleaners, then the sides switch. In general, it’s probably worth to try the mode, but it’s still more like not a particularly necessary add-on to the PvE-content, which I want to believe the Turtle Rock team will develop and maintain at least for a few more years.
A good zombie shooter, the main problem of which – oddly enough difficulty balance, because of which the game on medium and high level can only be completed in a coordinated team of at least 2-3 friends.