Since the 17th, thousands of gamers got a chance to join the Back 4 Blood pre-alpha playtest for the first time and we were also lucky enough to get in ourselves. Many gamers have been holding on to hope that Left 4 Dead 3 was in the works and even though Left 4 Dead 3 is not happening, gamers may have gotten their wish with Back 4 Blood. Our Back 4 Blood early impressions have us clamoring for more and cannot wait for more details to emerge as we get closer to release.
Make no mistake though, this is not Left 4 Dead 3 but everything that Left 4 Dead embodied is here in Back 4 Blood. While there aren’t zombie variants like the Tank, Spitter, Hunter, or The Witch, there are many new zombie variants like the Snitch who reacts like The Witch, The Retch which is reminiscent of L4D’s Boomer, and let’s not forget the Ogre Zombie which is incredibly large and quite difficult and reminds us of L4D’s Tank but on some massive steroids. Granted this is a pre-alpha build and we are over 6 months away so there will be a lot of fine-tuning going on to the game mechanics which we will not get into here until we’ve had more time to play and as we get closer to release.
Built on the Unreal Engine, this game is absolutely beautifully lit and very well detailed. Character models are well detailed and quite lifelike with their eerie glowing yellow eyes. *Shivers* All of the levels are beautifully detailed and filled with darkness, fog, and creepiness that will definitely get your blood pumping. We were surprised to see that Back 4 Blood appears to be a bit more fast-paced compared to the Left 4 Dead series. In L4D you’d oftentimes be sneaking around quietly where there are no zombies whereas, in B4D, we barely got a chance to rest! Our Back 4 Blood early impressions were full of anxiety-inducing and heart-pumping gameplay.
Much like Left 4 Dead, each Act contains a series of maps where you need to dodge all sorts of zombies to make it to the safehouse. Safehouses are slightly different than one Left 4 Dead fans may be used to. Instead of a cache of weapons, health packs, and ammo, there is now a crate where you can buy certain things with in-game currency, copper. Copper is earned by performance and also by finding copper throughout the maps. This is an interesting yet welcomed change as it gives the players more of an opportunity to load up their characters as they see fit. This also gives the character you’re playing much more…in a sense…depth. Players can now choose, in a way, different methods to support the team instead of everyone having the same skills and weapons, unlike Left 4 Dead where every character was essentially the same.
Now let’s talk about cards… Back 4 Blood is playing with a full deck as both the player AND the game are dealt cards that are categorized as Reflex, Discipline, Brawn, and Fortune. Decks, created by you, are comprised of 15 cards that provide different starting weapons (Loadout Card), certain buffs, attributes, and even your capacity to hold more ammo just to mention a few. At the beginning of each Act, players get to choose 1 specific card and draw three additional cards. Players also draw a card from their deck at the end of each completed map during an Act. Cards can be found throughout the game, Random Basic Ones though.
Corruption cards are the cards that the Game Director is dealt to change the way the game is played. These cards buff the game against the player in the sense of making harder zombies, ammo harder to find, more or different special zombie variants. These random cards will essentially keep each of these maps unique and increase replay-ability immensely.
Back 4 Blood Early Impressions – Final Thoughts
The way Back 4 Blood plays, it’s hard to believe that this is only a pre-alpha test. It is not only an absolutely stunning game but plays incredibly well and is surprisingly stable. If our Back 4 Blood early impressions are correct, Turtle Rock Studios is well on its way to creating a 2021 game of the year winner, if this gives us a glimpse of what’s to come. This phase of the pre-alpha test ends tomorrow and we had to admit, we are sad to see it go.
Back 4 Blood is set to be released for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on June 22 2021 and is now available for pre-order in three different variations: Ultimate Edition, Deluxe Edition, and the basic game.