Podcast

Back 4 Blood Beta: First Impressions

Halfway through the year, 2021 has been an interesting year for gaming. With many big titles delayed, we saw a number of other major titles snag the headlines, especially during the second half of the year.

One of those games is Back 4 Blood, a spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead 2 and made by the same developers. Releasing on October 2021, the zombie-themed squad FPS looks to improve on what made the Left 4 Dead games great, and introduce it to the new generation.

As of this writing, the game’s open beta is available to play after getting the access keys. We got to try the open beta, and here’s what we think about Turtle Rock Studio’s latest shooter.

Fresh But Familiar

If there was one thing that Back 4 Blood did great, it was that the game felt fresh, but still familiar enough that you’d feel a bit nostalgic. There are times when some of the things you do in the game are what you’d instinctively do in Left 4 Dead.

This sense of familiarity extends to the game’s characters, weapons, and even the mechanics. Despite this, everything still felt new and shiny, with the fun factor of mowing through hordes of the undead still present.

Comms! Comms!

While we did say you can mow down the undead in Back 4 Blood open beta, there are also a lot of times where you’ll get easily knocked down by them. The hordes are relentless and can swarm you quickly. Add mutants to the mix, and you have a tough set of enemies to take down.

This makes communication more important than ever, working as a team and covering each other’s backs is crucial, and can mean whether or not you can reach the next safehouse. The game also has an elaborate ping system (which gives off some Apex Legends vibes) which is great at giving signals to your team if you don’t want to speak on mic. Comms are very important in this game, and it ramps up the already intense action happening on screen.

Gunplay is Great, But Where’s the Ammo?

Left 4 Dead 2 has pretty solid gunplay, with iconic shotguns and rifles giving you the best firepower available. Back 4 Blood comes back with an expanded arsenal of weapons, along with weapon attachments that give you extra perks.

Unlike Left 4 Dead where hip-firing is the norm, Back 4 Blood requires a bit more precision when it comes to aiming. Aiming down the sights allows you to hit vital parts, and keep your shots focused (same as other FPS games, but you get the point). Overall, the gunplay feels refined and smooth, making combat satisfying.

One problem that you might encounter early on is the low ammo supply in the game outside of buying some in a safehouse. There are times when you and your friends will starve for ammo at crucial moments. This forces you to stick to your secondary weapons, and keep the big guns for strong enemies.

Power of the Cards

The new card system gives your character extra perks and stat boosts that give you an advantage during each level. This includes having more health and ammo, to regenerating your health after each kill. Choosing the right set of cards will help give you extra boosts that make each run easier, and add more variety to the game by making you think about creating a proper build.

Conclusion

Back 4 Blood’s open beta is a short yet fun experience that gives a feeling of nostalgia, while still feeling smooth and fresh. The game is available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and the PC on October 2021.

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