Left 4 Dead - hands-on

The weapons on offer aren't terribly interesting. We grab a pistol and a shotgun, rationalizing that shotguns are always the best choice where zombies are concerned. A grenade slips into our inventory, and we forego the submachine gun and the molotovs. You could describe the available weapons as either mundane or classic, depending on your outlook, but they won't be the reason people play Left 4 Dead. The game is about cooperative teamplay - and not the sort of teamplay you find in Battlefield where it'd barely be noticed if you logged off to eat some Doritos, but the kind of teamplay in which everything you do directly affects your three compadres. It's precisely because the team is so small that this dependency on teamwork exists, and on every level of gameplay you're encouraged to help each other out.

Generously, our teammates allow us to take the lead, as we make our way down through the apartment building. It's not long before we have our first encounter with the infected. The AI-controlled undead on show here are staggeringly well animated. They spill out of doorways in droves, at times at least 20 of them on screen at once. They sprint down streets towards you at high speed, climbing over burnt-out cars, leaning into corners as they run - there's something terrifyingly purposeful about how they come at you.

When shot, they stumble to the ground mid-sprint, their faltering a mix of animation and physics, Faliszek informs us. Oh yes, these are good zombies, these are running zombies from 28 Days Later (count how many times this game will get associated with that movie), and they feel great to kill.

Steve Hogarty

Steve Hogarty is a London-based freelance journalist covering games and technology. His bylines have appeared in publications including GamesRadar, The Independent, Yahoo, VICE, Eurogamer, and more. He is also the co-host of the pocast, Regular Features.