Back 4 Blood PC Review – The Left 4 Dead 3 We Never Got?

In this Back 4 Blood review, we dive deep into Turtle Rock’s newest game, the spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead 3. The gunplay, the difficulty, the zombies, the cleaners. the replayability, everything, and more got tested to see if Back 4 Blood has what it takes to become an essential co-op experience.

But before the Back 4 Blood review begins, let’s answer some of the most common questions people ask about this co-op thrill ride.

Common Questions

What is Back 4 Blood?

Back 4 Blood is a hectic and engaging cooperative first-person survival shooter made by the same people that created the legendary Left 4 Dead franchise.

When is Back 4 Blood coming out?

Back 4 Blood was released on October 12th.

How much does Back 4 Blood cost?

Like all triple-A games, Back 4 Blood will set your finances back $59.99/€59.99.

Will Back 4 Blood have microtransactions?

Turtle Rock stated that Back 4 Blood will only feature cosmetic transactions and that they won’t add any microtransactions that affect the gameplay in any way.

Does Back 4 Blood have crossplay?

Back 4 Blood has crossplay and it’s automatically enabled.

What are the minimum and recommended Back 4 Blood system requirements?

Let’s start things off with the minimum system requirements, which are not to be taken lightly.

MINIMUM:

    • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
    • OS: 64-bit Windows 10
    • Processor: Intel Core i5-6600 (3.3 GHz) OR AMD Ryzen 5 2600 (3.4 GHz)
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti OR AMD Radeon RX 570
    • DirectX: Version 12
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 40 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: 1080p / 60fps / Low Quality Settings

Then we have the recommended system requirements. If you want to see Back 4 Blood in all its bloody glory, you need quite a solid rig.

 

RECOMMENDED:

    • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
    • OS: 64-bit Windows 10
    • Processor: Intel Core i5-8400 (2.8 GHz) OR AMD Ryzen 7 1800X (3.6 GHz)
    • Memory: 12 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 OR AMD Radeon RX 590
    • DirectX: Version 12
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 40 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: 1080p / 60fps / High Quality Settings

Will Back 4 Blood be on Game Pass?

Back 4 Blood launched on Game Pass on October 12th.

Excellent co-op slaughter that you’re already familiar with

One of my friends got a Back 4 Blood alpha key. I only got into the later betas, but he played the alpha. The game didn’t really impress back then. A lot of performance issues, bugs, slower gameplay, and difficulty spikes had people worried. Wasn’t this supposed to be Left 4 Dead 3 in everything but the name?

Cleaners taking on an Ogre
Image credit: Turtle Rock Studios

But now the game is out, and everyone can play it and experience it in its complete form. And I have to say, any Left 4 Dead fan won’t be disappointed with Back 4 Blood and the co-op fun it offers. Compared to many other Steam games that offer a similar experience, Back 4 Blood polished the co-op aspect of the game to perfection. However, there are problems that some won’t like, and maybe even hate.

Still, excellent and powerful weapons, satisfying visual and audio feedback in combat, actually threatening enemies, and a ton of replayability make this title well worth its price. No matter how many times you beat the game, Turtle Rock made Back 4 Blood in a way that makes you always want more. To try other loadouts, weapons, playstyles, and difficulties. If they add more content to the game through expansions and other content updates we’re going to be playing this title for a while.

Best of all, Turtle Rock really made Back 4 Blood easy to get into. Much to my dismay, a lot of people never played the Left 4 Dead games. They’re not familiar with this kind of genre at all. Thankfully, getting into this particular co-op romp is easy as pie. Pick up a shotty, shoot at the mutated horrors that charge at you, and help out your team. The gameplay formula is simple, addictive, and a lot of fun. Especially if you’re playing with friends, which I recommend since this isn’t really a game for solo play.

The Game Director’s insanity

Left 4 Dead had a pretty simple difficulty slider. There was no randomness as far as I can remember. Back 4 Blood, on the other hand, has the Game Director. He’s an AI that makes sure you never know what’s coming at you next.

Special kind of Ridden called a Mutation
Image credit: Turtle Rock Studios

Even on the lowest difficulty, we got a lot of Ridden coming at us from all sides. It’s quite frantic, and the game doesn’t shy away from making encounters a bloodbath quite early. I love this as you are fighting extremely hostile monsters so that shouldn’t be easy no matter what difficulty you selected. Similarly, I like how the Game Director knows when you got better weapons and you’re mowing down Ridden effortlessly. Then he gives you Ridden with armor. Or some that are on fire.

You notice a problem when the Game Director decides to really up the challenge out of the blue. One minute you’re killing armored Ridden, the next one there’s an Ogre right in front of you. The difficulty spike won’t go unnoticed and in some cases, we got wiped relatively fast after getting through everything else with little to no effort.

As always, this Back 4 Blood review won’t bullshit you and when it comes to the Game Director. It needs more polish. Some instances are intense, with us frantically using the last of our ammo to survive the last wave of special Ridden and then there are cases where we blow away everything that stands in our way in a matter of minutes, only for the next wave of creatures to arrive and completely overwhelm us.

Cards and shotguns

There’s a big distinction between Left 4 Dead and Back 4 Blood. Since Turtle Rock Studios made the first game, they knew they needed something fresh. Something to spice up the co-op zombie shooter formula.

Modify your weapons

So we got Copper, a currency you can find in the world that lets you buy attachments, guns, healing items, and so on. I didn’t want to waste time on that at the start of each level, I just wanted to start shooting. That was a problem, as everyone should deck out their build with the necessary items. A sniper build wants an attachment that gives a sneak attack bonus on any Ridden that doesn’t see you. Your shotgun-wielding dude wants armor-piercing rounds.

Cleaner firing a gun at Ridden
Image credit: Turtle Rock Studios

I hated the downtime at the start of levels, but later down the line I understood that it was an important part if you want to finish the game. Back 4 Blood lets you swap attachments with ones you find on the ground, but you don’t know if you’ll find the one you need, so pick it yourself when you can.

Cards instead of classes or loadouts

In the beginning, you’d think Back 4 Blood put in a card system for no reason. Why do I need static percent boosts? Couldn’t you just implement gear or loadouts or perks or anything but cards? But then you find a card that lets you become a melee monster as you gain melee damage, melee speed, and movement speed for each kill in the last 4 seconds.

Karlee players should ALWAYS get the Marked For Death card. So when she senses a mutation it’s automatically pinged for your team and everyone gets a 10% damage bonus to pinged enemies. It’s absolutely game-changing and there’s a ton of cards in the game like this.

Your team should always swap out decks and change loadouts. One, because playing with different builds is a ton of fun as all playstyles have a unique vibe to them. Two, some stages need a team effort to actually survive. Facing a ton of special Ridden? Use a card that gives you a -20% damage boost when you’re attacking their weak spots.

For this Back 4 Blood review, I played with my friends. In those moments, Turtle Rock made sure Back 4 Blood played absolutely brilliantly. Our melee guy mows down the normal Ridden with ridiculous speed with his build, our sniper takes her time to kill any slow special Ridden before they even approach us, and I focused on all damage and movement speed so I can run fast and shoot hard. It was an absolute blast.

Cleaners and the Ridden

All co-op shooters of this type have regular monsters and unique/special versions. There’s the guy that spits awful crap at you, the one big dude, the screaming one, and so on. Back 4 Blood has them as well as Mutations. There are quite a few, and they’re all dangerous in the right circumstance.

Tallboy
Image credit: Turtle Rock Studios

These types of Ridden are especially deadly once the Game Director throws a Corruption Card in the mix. These are world modifiers that greatly change how the game plays out. In some examples, this gives the thing that spits on you special vomit that slow reload, swap, and use speed. Another makes the Bruiser regenerate its health when it’s in Frenzy mode. Small modifiers that will get your team killed if they ignore these Mutations.

Back 4 Blood is a zombie game that doesn’t mess around. If you want to play as a dumbass and you’re caught alone by a Hag, you will get eaten alive.  And it will suck, so at least try to be a team player.

Then we have the Cleaners, Left 4 Dead-like survivors that come with their own personalities and mini-stories. However, unlike these other co-op survival games, selecting a Cleaner has a purpose. Each Cleaner has unique abilities that make them different.

While people don’t like support characters, you need someone like the Doc to revive your teammates, especially later in the game. And playing a melee build with Holly is quite fun when you deal with your usual type of Ridden. Just don’t expect to do much against the big bosses with a baseball bat, which is something I hope Turtle Rock Studios addresses later on so the melee builds stay viable throughout the game.

Underwhelming solo/PvP modes

I don’t know a lot of people that played Left 4 Dead on their own. And if you’re looking for co-op games on Steam and pick Back 4 Blood, I doubt you’re picking it to play with the AI companions. Not to say Turtle Rock didn’t make Back 4 Blood a game that you can play alone, it’s just way harder that way.

Ogre
Image credit: Turtle Rock Studios

Need health or ammo? The AI will give you a hand. But will they pick up good guns and modifiers? No, unfortunately not. And upgrading your weapons is important. You won’t have a lot of trouble with the easier difficulties with the AI. It’s competent enough to not be extra baggage. However, taking on tough bosses or a really big horde of Ridden is next to impossible.

Why? Because when your character dies you get to take over one of the AI characters. So what’s the problem? They never picked up better gear. Meaning you’re facing armored and flaming Ridden with the most basic of guns. Let’s just say I didn’t enjoy solo play much in the later stages of the campaign.

But like most popular co-op Steam games, Back 4 Blood has the Swarm mode where Ridden and Cleaners face off in rounds. Each team plays as the Cleaners, then as the Ridden, and the team that lasts the most as the Cleaners is the winner. It’s fun for a while, but the round-based nature of the mode makes it pretty bland. Fun for a couple of hours but nowhere close as enticing as the campaign.

Left 4 Dead 2 fans will be disappointed with the way Back 4 Blood does its PvP stuff. But hopefully, Turtle Rock Studios come up with new PvP modes in the future as there’s a lot of potential there. They just need to capitalize on it and make the PvP as exciting as the online co-op Campaign mode is.

Insane replayability

Back 4 Blood doesn’t have mod support. Strange, considering how much community content Left 4 Dead 2 got over the years. Will Turtle Rock add mod support for Back 4 Blood? Their publisher is Warner Bros so no, I think there’s no chance of B4B getting mod support in the future.

Or maybe they add mod support and charge for mods like Bethesda tried to do for Skyrim. On the other hand, at least the devs had replayability in mind when they made this game. The card system, the Game Director, the weapon upgrades, there’s a lot there. And building specific playstyles with cards feels awesome. Taking on insane Corruption Cards in levels can totally change the way the level plays out.

Cleaners scouting a place
Image credit: Turtle Rock Studios

This is one of the rare games where even the normal difficulty has some sweaty moments. Like actual adrenaline-pumping fights where your heart beats like crazy while your team throws everything they have at an Ogre while a ton of Ridden swarm from all sides. I don’t even know how you survive on harder difficulties if your team isn’t full of veteran players that have heavily specialized builds with other cards available to swap on the fly if the situation calls for it.

And thanks to the Game Director, matches ACTUALLY play way differently. Turtle Rock didn’t make the perfect replayability system for Back 4 Blood but it’s still bloody amazing. Still, if they keep updating it with new Corrupt Cards and things like that, I bet this will be one co-op game that’s going to be replayable for years to come.

Conclusion

We’ve finally reached the end of this Back 4 Blood review, and it’s obvious by now, the game has its flaws. The Game Director has mood swings that can make your run either extremely easy or gutwrenchingly hard all of a sudden. Everything besides the online co-op Campaign isn’t all that enticing. But the core co-op survival experience is excellent.

With just the right combination of fluid gunplay, customization of weapons, characters, and playstyles, the shifting dangers provided by the Game Director, Steam hasn’t seen a co-op game like Back 4 Blood in a while. If Turtle Rock Studios keep updating and polishing the game, I’d say it’s going to become an essential co-op experience in a couple of years.

Cleaners fighting off a Ridden horde
Image credit: Turtle Rock Studios

What’s already available now rocks. The minor flaws won’t ruin the stellar zombie shooter mayhem that you and your friends will play for hours for the first month or so. We just need the devs to stay vigilant and not add any sort of vile microtransactions to the game.

Where to buy Back 4 Blood?

As always, HRK Game has a special offer for its loyal customers. No need to scour the internet for platforms and sales to get the latest triple-A title at a discount. We’re always offering a discount on our store!

Indie games, running franchises, brand new IPs, it doesn’t matter. If the game exists, it’s discounted on HRK Game at all times. And that’s the same for Turtle Rock and its brand new co-op shooter, Back 4 Blood, which is available for -29% off at HRK Game right now!

You can also check out similar shooters like Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 if you have a nostalgic craving for the fathers of the co-op zombie survival genre. As well as tons of other games, all of which are heavily discounted all the time!

 

 

2 Comments
  1. Draxonic says

    The Director AI was a big deal for the Left4Dead games and the game director in this is literally bringing back the same thing.

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