Learning Game Design

with Arcade Berg

Am I left 2 die?

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Left 4 Dead by Valve seems to be THE game right now.

For a few days now, I constantly get pop-up messages from Steam saying “[Nick] is playing Left 4 Dead”. People at work play it during the lunch breaks. The reviews are all giving it good grades with an average of 88,4% right now at Gamerankings.com (21/11-08) for PC and 88.5% for the 360.

So here’s my question: What’s the big deal?

I tried out the demo for both the PC and 360, I’ve tried to play it single-player and multi-player, with headphones and 5.1 surround but I still don’t see why people are so hooked.

It’s not a bad game at all. Its quality in the production is noticable high as expected when it comes to Valve.  I’m guessing the name Valve earns some addition to sales alone.

I had two problems with the game:

1. The environments are boring. Maybe the game is in some way a technical achievement, I don’t know but the levels feel sterile, empty and not exciting at all. I hear many people argue that it doesn’t matter because they’re too busy looking at the zombies running at you but I disagree. I looked at them (and that’s in no way a level design-injury) because there is nothing else to look at when there aren’t any zombies around. (Yes there are moments like that.)

But that’s all a small issue, I’m personally all about the gameplay and play a game no matter how freakishly ugly it is if the gameplay is fun. Which leads us to the next thing…

2. The game’s feel is for me… Hollow. I keep shooting zombies and when they’re dead I think: “So they’re dead. Now what?” I don’t feel an army of endorphins running trough my system. Actually, I don’t feel many of them at all. And the ones I do feel are kind of slow and seems to be limping. If the game doesn’t make me feel good for shooting the undead, then the zombie-shooter is a failure in my book.

Too bad really. I was really looking forward to the game, mostly for the co-op but I’m afraid I’ll let this one pass.

 

Left 4 Dead by Valve

Left 4 Dead by Valve

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Written by Arcade

November 21, 2008 at 7:31 pm

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