Few co-op games have hit the heights of Left 4 Dead. Developer Turtle Rock Studios’ four-player zombie shooter worked specifically because it was deep and dynamic, shifting from playthrough to playthrough to keep players on their toes. With Back 4 Blood, Turtle Rock is relying heavily on that successful formula. This is, for all intents and purposes, Left 4 Dead 3, but with a focus on amping up the original’s best aspects–teamwork and replayability–even further.
Turtle Rock recently gave GameSpot a chance to play through one of the campaign levels of Back 4 Blood ahead of its closed alpha test. The level, Evansburgh, is cut into four acts in which you and your team of three others try to cross through a monster-infested town. As in Left 4 Dead, you’re constantly fighting off low-level zombies–the parasite-infected “ridden” in this game–and aiming at reaching a far-off safe room where you can have a quick breather before setting out again.
Mixed in with the weaker (but numerous) regular ridden enemies are stronger, grosser mutants, each with special abilities that make them more dangerous. The huge Bruisers have one long, heavy arm they use to smash you; Hockers can climb and leap, spitting a spider web-like gunk that immobilizes players; Retches puke acidic bile, explode if they’re shot too much, and can draw the horde down on you if you’re showered with their guts; and Snitches scream to alert nearby infected and create disaster situations if they’re not killed in time.