I don’t really “review” games, and I am not going to start today either. Will keep it simple and sweet. If you like FPS’s, play L4D. If you like Co-op, it is well done. If you like opposing Co-op, it’s a great game. If you like Zombies, go buy it. If you like a base achievement system, ca-ching. If you like perfectly paced gameplay in the aforementioned settings, buy buy buy. I don’t throw the word perfect out a lot. Now that that is settled, I want to talk about the absoulte, most awesomest, fantastical gameplay mode in the entire universe that is also included in Left 4 Dead. After the break.
Developer commentary. L4D has an ‘extras’ mode that has you go through the level (where the zombies ignore you) and ‘activate’ little floating speech bubbles where various developers will share an insight about the game – everything from the main characters and how they were chosen, to using gamma and contrast to backgrounds. There were 12-18 of these bubbles throughout the first 5 levels (each) of the first “movie” No Mercy. They were fantastic. A lot of it was kind of obvious but I did find several instances where I had those “Oh, of COURSE!” moments. It was a great look into VALVe and the people who designed the game. I loved it. I want more! My only, minor, tiny gripe was that I couldn’t ‘end’ the mode without quitting it. Not sure if that was a bug but after I found all the bubbles in the helicopter extraction finale I couldn’t find a way to advance. There was no final “Thank you for doing this, the mode is over now” or anything like that (secretly I was hoping it would continue over the other levels). I guess I have to have at least one gripe – this is a blog, afterall!
If you have L4D and appreciate how games are made, and where decisions about design come from go give it a shot and let me know what you think. If you are developing a game, please add in this feature. It may answer many questions your consumers may ask.
I was going to continue this thread with fun little “outakes” for WAR and WOW fake dev commentary, but I think I have picked on those two guys enough already.