CultureHead Magazine

Courtesy of Turtle Rock Studios and Warner Bros
Courtesy of Turtle Rock Studios and Warner Bros

A recent dev interview with Game Informer has brought some critical info for Turtle Rock’s Black 4 Blood. My initial concerns were the threat of microtransactions. Turtle Rock Studios confirmed the game’s card system won’t be locked behind microtransactions. However, new ones arose as the developers spoke about the game’s direction, especially surrounding their PVP, modding, and split-screen, with some fears quelled

To keep it short:

No split-screen co-op, online-only, no mods, and no campaign versus mode

That last one hurts the most. 

These are the key features that still keep people playing Left 4 Dead 2 to this day, a decade after its launch. Over 10,000 gamers still play Left 4 Dead 2, a game that thrived based on these core features. It’s jarring to see that its successor is excluding what made Left 4 Dead great. 

Split-screen co-op is rare these days, but being able to play with your pals on your couch at home has always been a welcomed and beloved feature. Halo, Call of Duty, Gears of War, Left 4 Dead were all classic games that utilized split-screen co-op during the Xbox 360 and PS3 days. It’s a shame to see it go. 

Being forced to be online for a game you already paid for is frustrating. One losing connection means you can’t even play on your own with AI-controlled teammates. To be forced to stay online even when having a single-player experience is incredibly distasteful. 

Mods have offered the original Left 4 Dead franchise something no other co-op game could compete with; longevity at no price to the developers. There are some great mods for new custom campaigns, weapons, and skins. It’s a shame to see that the community denied a chance to add more content to a game they could enjoy. 

Back 4 Blood may never have intended to be the true successor to the L4D franchise but with many similarities to the franchise. The key difference is their PVP modes. L4D had a campaign versus mode that allowed two groups of teams to take turns running through a campaign, with one team playing the survivors and the other team taking control of the special infected to stop them. The team who made it the longest distance wins. 

During E3 2021, Back 4 Blood showcased Swarm Mode: a round-based battle for attrition where two teams take turns trying to survive the longest on a shrinking battleground. You play as the Cleaners trying to hold out as long as possible while the other team plays as The Ridden trying to eliminate the Cleaners as fast as possible. It’s a lot different from the campaign versus, and it seems like it’s missing the mark from what many fans wanted. 

With all that said, the only way for sure to know if this game will fill that L4D void is to play it. Back 4 Blood is about to launch their beta, giving everyone one last chance to make up their minds on this game. Whether this news is a dealbreaker or not, it doesn’t hurt to sign up and find out for yourself on August 12. 

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