We were lucky enough to join in with the Back 4 Blood open beta this weekend (thanks, WB Games) and thought we’d share a few first impressions of Left 4 Dead and Evolve creators Turtle Rock Studios’ latest title.
Did you jump into the not-quite-zombie-killing action? Let us know what you thought of the game in the comments.
The boss-like enemies seen above stood out from the crowd (literally) but didn't appear very often.
My initial thoughts regarding Back 4 Blood's visuals were a bit mixed. There were times it could look quite decent, such as the way the flames of a Molotov reflected off a dummy target in the practice range, but other times it looked a bit ropey, like the dodgy jeep animation we were treated to upon completing the last available campaign mission.
The levels themselves could be really entertaining, but I thought the finale of the last mission – which saw you loading and firing an artillery gun while ridden attacked you - was a bit of a let-down, especially when compared to the much more exciting bridge showdown earlier in the campaign.
The gunplay was decent enough, though I couldn’t get on with the SMGs and assault rifles on offer, all of which felt a bit lightweight. I had a much more enjoyable time with shotguns which felt a lot more dangerous. I also thought the card system, which lets you activate more perks the further you progress into a level, was a very cool idea.
With friends, I can see B4B being a decent enough party game, but I’m not sure I would have rushed out to buy it day one after trying the beta. Thanks to Game Pass, however, I won’t have to.
The guy on the right gets it.
Back 4 Blood mostly captures what made Left 4 Dead great, though some of its all-new elements fall flat. The card system takes a lot of managing, but most of the upgrades aren’t anything to write home about. It’s impossible to get excited about a small max health or ammo capacity boost, amongst similarly dull examples.
Weapon attachments are a nice addition, yet no restrictions on which guns they work with makes it possible to spoil the fun. B4B might signpost a scope as a significant upgrade, but after picking it up, the assault shotgun now has a massively mismatched sniper scope.
If attachments were detachable there wouldn’t be a problem - but they aren’t. Additionally, it isn’t possible to transfer attachments between guns. This discourages experimentation and properly gearing up for the situation at hand. Transitioning between levels can change up the distance of encounters, better suited to a shotgun or a sniper, for example, though nobody wants to swap their upgraded assault rifle for something more bog standard.
The core gameplay loop is excellent, however, considering that's been in place for over a decade, any new twists on the old formula could use work. There’s still time between now and the final release in October, so here’s hoping that Turtle Rock really hears the beta feedback.
You can find weapons and attachments outside of saferooms, but it's difficult to determine their viability while battling ridden.
What did you think of the Back 4 Blood beta? Let us know below.