Turtle Rock Studios are back with another four-player co-op first-person shooter, to fans disappointment, it isn’t a Left 4 Dead sequel however it is the next best thing. Back 4 Blood is an upcoming cooperative shooter that is centred around the war humanity faces against the ridden. The ridden were once human but got infected by a deadly parasite that turned them into creatures that only have one thing on their mind and that’s to kill. The short-closed Alpha that I got to be a part of was only for four days but showed off some much of the game and I loved playing every second of it. There was only a small section of the game to get your hands on but that was more than enough to make me jump aboard the hype train. I played it on my PC and this little preview will cover my time in the Alpha as well as a few things I found cool about Back 4 Blood.
The closed alpha allowed me to play one of the early acts in the campaign. It was called Evansburgh and had three difficulty settings these being Classic, Survivor and nightmare. The harder the difficulty, the more challenging the game was, even to the point where the friendly fire was enabled and made the mission a lot harder. You also had the option to quickplay which just let you join a randomers party and help them with the mission and you could drop in at any point in the act. Like I mentioned above its a four-player co-op but if you don’t have enough players then you will have bots fill in the places. This is kind of annoying as the bots were not the best and just kept dying and alerting the ridden to your whereabouts and setting of the birds which in turn triggered a horde to come after us. Within the first few playthroughs of the mission, I could tell the game was going to be a hell of a lot better playing with real people and most of all when playing with your friends and having a premade party. As communication and teamwork is the only way to get on top of the ridden and discuss strategies.
When the game gets released the player can play as eight characters know as Cleaners. In the closed Alpha you got to try out four of them, these being Hoffman, Evangelo, Walker and Holy. My favourites were holy and Hoffman just because I liked their unique sidearm and perks. The Alpha gave a quick tutorial on the basics and gave a brief overview of the Ridden. There are so many different variations of the Ridden but we only got to see a few of them in action while participating in the Alpha, these were the Common Infected, Tall Boy, Stinger, Retch, Orge to name a few. Each one offers a new challenge and makes the game that little bit harder when trying to progress. The Tall Boy has a massive arm that acts like a wrecking ball if he lands a good hit on you, you could lose a lot of health and get knocked back, the one playthrough I did I got knocked off the side of a building and dyed it was funny. Then you have the Retch which explodes when it dies and can spit an acid-like substance at you, they are so cool and I love the concept behind the Ridden and can’t wait for the full launch of the game to see what other variations of the Ridden there are.
Every playthrough is different thanks to the games “game director” effect that allows randomly generated experiences every time you play. Not one to play through feels the same and the corruption card system also adds to it too. The mission layout doesn’t change but the amount of Ridden and certain environmental effects will change the way you play that mission. The “game director” at the begin of the mission will show you their cards which could be more Ridden show up in the level or that certain Ridden hit harder but that’s where your own deck comes into play and you can play your own cards to counteract these corruption cards. You can earn more cards to add to your arsenal by completing challenges and objects. I imagine there will be a lot more available in the final game but the ones I used helped change the tide of battle a few times. For example, I had one that let my secondary weapons have unlimited ammo and one that when a team member gets downed it gave the whole team a temporary damage boost which allowed for us to get the revive in time. I feel that the card mechanic helps shake up the gameplay and makes it so that you are never getting the same experience every though you are playing the same missions. The Acts are broken up into sections with the help of Safe Rooms, these are like checkpoints in Back 4 Blood and lets you look at your stats for that particular stage, while also adding more corruption cards and player cards to the missions. You can also spend the cooper you have earned/found in the stage to get weapons upgrades and a few other goodies.
My time playing the Back 4 Blood Alpha was one of pure enjoyment and excitement. I loved the Co-op four-player campaign though can see myself having to rally together a few friends to play it with me as playing with random players is sometimes more of a pain than a pleasure. If you get a fully cooperative team then it makes for a whole different experience one that keeps you playing for hours. The randomness that comes with Back 4 Blood is what makes me feel that this game as some much to offer that it will keep players playing for years to come, with the chance of new Cleaners being added after launch and a few other modes maybe the future for Back 4 Blood could be one that we haven’t seen in a game for a long time. Any Left 4 Dead fan will be straight on this and will probably get just as much out of it as they did the Left 4 Dead franchise or dare, I say it but might prefer this game, who knows. I love the base storyline with the Infected and the Ridden, even though they are zombies they aren’t which gives the game the chance to play around with cool new things which I love. The concept is fantastic, the gameplay is solid and even though this was a closed alpha I didn’t come across any bugs what so ever, maybe CD Project Red can take a page from their book but that’s a whole other story. Definitely, a game to keep an eye on and maybe even one that could get game of the year in 2021. Back 4 Blood will release on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and PC on the 22nd June 2021 so mark your calendar and get ready to face the Ridden!
Developer: Turtle Rock Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Back 4 Blood will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S, and PC
Back 4 Blood was previewed on PC.
Did you enjoy reading our preview of a game before the game gets its final release and its final version? if yes, click here to find more early previews.