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July 2022

Back 4 Blood

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Turtle Rock
Release Date: Oct. 12, 2021


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PS5/PS4/XSX/XOne/PC Preview - 'Back 4 Blood'

by Cody Medellin on June 14, 2021 @ 12:00 a.m. PDT

Back 4 Blood is a co-operative FPS designed from the ground-up as an original, premium title and marries the best of what made Left 4 Dead so successful, with new features and state-of-the-art technology.

Pre-order Back 4 Blood

Warner Bros. Games carved out a block of time to talk about Turtle Rock's Back 4 Blood, essentially a new entry in its previously developed Left 4 Dead series in all but name. We were in a closed beta last year, and what we saw was both familiar and very enjoyable. With the game coming out relatively soon, the team used its time to show off its other multiplayer mode: PvP.

If you've played the PvP mode in Left 4 Dead, then you know the gist of what to expect here. The game is set for eight players, with four taking the role of human survivors while the other four take on the role of the special zombies. Those special zombies include some familiar types, such as large ones that explode, ones that can leap great distances, ones with a large clubbed arm, and ones that can latch onto humans from a distance with their tongue, just to name a few. Along with the player-controlled special zombies, the map is littered with packs of regular zombies that come out frequently to make for a more chaotic situation. The mode lasts for up to three rounds, where teams take turns trying to survive for as long as possible or trying to kill the survivors as quickly as possible. While staying in one position and hunkering down is ideal for the humans, a moving and shrinking safe zone — similar to what you'd see in a battle royale game — means always changing the strategy on the fly.

It's all familiar, but there are a few things that make this feel like an evolution over the previous game. For starters, both survivors and zombies have perks that are unique to them. The lone example was one woman who did instant revivals for allies who have been knocked down. Instead of being different skins, it makes character choice more important, so expect people to call out for specific characters before a match, similar to how people do it in Overwatch.

Another change comes from a leveling system, which sees you gain more abilities as you keep using that zombie type. For example, the tank-like zombie might initially move quickly, but stick with it, and it'll eventually mutate into one that vomits or one that explodes. Ones that can cling to walls can eventually root people in place and pounce from great distances, while the one with a clubbing arm can eventually use that same arm to grab and squeeze humans. Based on the brief trailer that showed off these abilities, there are plenty of viable strategies as the match progresses.

One thing that did get mentioned in the stream was that the game features cosmetics, which can be purchased, but those who don't want to spend money can also obtain these through regular gameplay. One thing that was mentioned in the press release but not the stream was that the game will feature DLC. However, the system is friendly to players, as only the party leader needs to obtain the DLC, giving everyone else access to it for free without restrictions. If the game gains a sizeable player count, this will undoubtedly be seen as a big reason for it. Finally, as mentioned earlier in the day, the game not only supports cross-play between generations, but it also will launch on day one on the Xbox Game Pass for consoles and PC, giving the game a great chance at hitting those high population counts.

Back 4 Blood is scheduled to hit Oct. 12, 2021, but the studio is planning to run one more open beta in mid-August. Even though E3 2021 had a slew of games with their own take on the co-op formula, we're still looking forward to this iteration from the developers who made it popular in the first place.

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