Left 4 Dead
Content at a glance:
Violence: Enemies can be decapitated and dismembered with bloody results. Thousands of infected are killed throughout the course of the game.
Language: S**t, Godd**n, and B**ch are used occasionally throughout the game, but you're more likely to hear/see language when playing online.
Sexual Content: One of the character's tattoos has a poorly dressed woman on it.
Spiritual Content: Some writing on walls says that the infection is a punishment from God for our sins. You occasionally see "God is Dead" written on walls.
Left4Dead began it’s…”un-life” in Turtle Rock Studios way back in 2005, but was purchased by Valve part-way into development. Released 3 years later, some were positive the game would continue Valve’s legacy of great, original multiplayer games. Others thought it looked like a cheap zombie movie rip off that would crash and burn.
Good thing the doubters were wrong.
The game takes place in the United States after a rabies-like virus has infected most of the human population; turning almost everyone into mindless beasts that shamble around like zombies until they see survivors, in which case they will do everything possible to rip them to pieces.
You play as one of 4 survivors: Bill, Louis, Zoe, or Francis. All the characters control the same, so character selection is based on nothing more than personal taste. During each of the 4 campaigns, you and the other survivors (either controlled by the AI or human players) must traverse an area full of infected, going from safe room to safe room until you find rescue. You will be periodically attacked by the “horde” (a seemingly endless number of infected that rush at you) and many infected with special abilities. On the harder difficulties it is quite a challenge to say alive.
Left4Dead is one of the few shooters I’ve played that kept me on my toes and completely exhilarated during all 4 campaigns. When you are being swarmed by dozens of infected from all sides, the game turns into a mad fight for survival. I enjoyed every minute of it, especially because every play through is different thanks to the “Director”. The Director basically analyzes all of the player’s circumstances (ammo, health, stress level, and others) and changes the location of enemies, items, music cues, etc. In short, when you play Left4Dead for the second, third, or fourth time, it’ll be a different experience every time.
There are also 2 other game modes: Versus and Survivor. In Versus, 4 humans try to go through a level without being killed by the other team, made up of “super infected”. Survivor mode consists of a timed challenge where you try to survive as long as possible against a never ending horde of infected.
Violence: L4D is easily one of the bloodiest games I have ever played. Infected spurt realistic amounts of blood when shot, their arms and legs can be blown off, and they can also be decapitated. One of the special infected, the “Boomer”, explodes in a mist of blood when shot, and leaves behind a lower torso with intestines showing. The infected themselves look human (albeit some blood covering them), but Boomers are covered in what looks like boils and open sores. Also, by the end of the game you’ll have killed thousands of infected, so the body count is quite high. It’s also worth mentioning that you’ll often find infected vomiting and fighting each other.
Language: The opening video of the game has 1 used of “Jesus”, Go**mn, D**n, and 4 uses of S**t. However, the game itself has relatively little language, and I probably heard a maximum of 5 S words and some other profanities. It seems that a lot of what you hear depends on which character you play as. During the first 3 campaigns, I played as Zoe and Louis, and heard very little profanity. When I played as Bill however, it seemed much more frequent. So if you want to avoid some language, don’t play as Bill.
As with any online game, much of what you see/hear will depend on who you play with. I have yet to play online, but I assume it would be a similar experience to Counter Strike or Team Fortress. So if you’re not playing with people you know personally, or servers that specifically prohibit language, you could very well hear a lot of gross stuff.
Sexual Content: Francis has a large tattoo on each arm that has a picture of skulls and a poorly dressed woman. But it’s not like you spend the game looking at his arm.
Spiritual Content: While the game deals with an apocalypse, it is all brought on by human mistakes, not God. That said, throughout the game you will see a lot of writing on walls that says things like “this is payment for our sins (which another writing answers with: “maybe you do, but I didn’t do anything”). A few other wall writings say “God is Dead”.
Positive Elements: The game is all about teamwork, and even playing with the AI I found myself going out of my way to help my teammates. The game shows how a small group of people can defeat all the odds if they persevere.
Left4Dead is an extremely satisfying and fun game, especially if you get together and play with friends. However, the violence is extreme, and you very well could hear a lot of profanity if you play online. If you can handle the above mentioned content, then you are in for the ride of your…un-life.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.
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