Left 4 Dead

Can Valve follow The Orange Box with the most exhilarating shooter of 2008?

Jan 11, 2008

Chet Faliszek, Left 4 Dead's writer and one of the funniest parts of the internet since it was all HotBots and AltaVistas, offered advice and information as we played through the new rural map, which culminates in a farmhouse stand-off surrounded by cornfields. It%26rsquo;s classic, it%26rsquo;s cliche, and it%26rsquo;s five decent-sized stages away from the temporary campsite we started in. Like the other maps, each scenario is broken up into five large stages, punctuated by safe areas where you can reload, patch up and see who was letting the team down, in the form of stats, achievements and team betrayals.

The new rural level has an extra layer of creepiness over the urban; it feels more open, and the brick of a city is always going to feel safer than a fading, endless forest. This is particularly true of a forest that generates zombies. Whereas the city level induces claustrophobia and keeps you on your toes with vertical combat, the cornfields level is more fundamentally terrifying- a level where there is no safety, nothing to put your back against. It%26rsquo;s especially true in the final dash through the corn, running nearly blind and just hoping that the zombies won%26rsquo;t arrive before you get the doors closed. You never see them spawn (that would be shit) but they%26rsquo;ve got the uncanny ability to be suddenly there. For the living dead (pedants please read %26lsquo;those infected with a horrible disease that turns them into cannibals%26rsquo;) they%26rsquo;ve got a real dramatic flair.

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