Back 4 Blood - Tested

We tried the closed beta of the new title from Turtle Rock Studios.

After so many years, the parents of the historic Left 4 Dead saga, the boys of Turtle Rock Studios - now separated from Valve - return to the game formula that made them popular with the their new title: Back 4 Blood.

A first taste of the game was given to us during the closed beta, which allowed us to have a general overview of the title and its foundations. Find out more about the new title from Turtle Rock Studios and Warner Bros. in our preview.

The return of "Left 4 Dead"

What made Left 4 Dead and its direct sequel Left 4 Dead 2 popular is definitely the immediacy of the gameplay. Four players (real or controlled by AI) with the aim of moving from point A to point B of a fairly linear map with waves of ravenous creatures in between eager to devour us. Each map was equipped with several safe zones that represented checkpoints, useful for catching your breath between sections.

Well, all of this is exactly the same in Back 4 Blood as well (even the title alone is a strong and desired appeal), and we must be careful to think that all this can be bad. In fact over the years, with Valve's obvious lack of producing an official third installment, several developers have attempted to revive Left 4 Dead's core gameplay with some changes, but never excelling to the point of being considered better than the base title.

Back 4 Blood in some ways could be defined as the “Left4Dead 3 that never arrived”, due to several factors. Firstly, the gameplay, which as already mentioned above is exactly equivalent to the old titles produced by the team, secondly, the structure of the maps, also equipped with safe house, alarmed doors that recall the horde if open and areas where you need to activate certain tools in order to free the passage.

A novice will appreciate all of these game mechanics, which are clearly explained in order to allow anyone a simple and fun approach to the title. Weapons give good feedback of the hits dealt to the undead, especially for PlayStation 5 players, DualSense offers the classic fun effects on adaptive triggers based on the type of weapon.

In this case some small and welcome addition can be perceived. The weapons now have a series of more extensive statistics, as well as the ability to find or buy accessories that will be mounted in our weapon, thus improving its traits.

Playing cards

Cards are added in a completely symbiotic way to traditional gameplay. These cards can form different decks that can be customized by the player and which become fundamental for the personalization of the game experience during the campaign.

At the start of each game, you can select a certain number of cards to use, these will give bonuses to your character, for example there is the possibility of increasing your health by 5% or making each hit return a certain amount of health. For the current state of the beta, the addition of the cards did not seem invasive, but complementary to the arcade spirit of the title. 

The future of Back 4 Blood

While the gameplay convinces due to its solidity already well trained with its "previous chapters", there are a number of problems to which we must pay attention, hoping that they will be resolved in view of the release. The servers, albeit in a closed beta phase, therefore accessible only via pre-order or invitation code, they seemed to us to be underperforming and this involved severe lag, sometimes so significant as to prevent the resuscitation of allies.

Even on animations, although aware of not being able to use the Source Engine, the choice made by Turtle Rock Studios is quite simplistic, giving the appearance of being even inferior to those of Left 4 Dead 2. We reserve definitive judgments for when the title will be published, or October 12, 2021, hoping that all the problems highlighted in the beta phase will be solved and treated in these months that separate us from the release.

Turtle Rock Studios must in fact try to clarify how and how much the title will be supported after the release, as, if on the one hand Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 have a longer-lasting replayability due to the Steam workshop and related custom map, Black 4 Blood will have to receive constant attention to avoid a bleeding of players after the launch window.

The solid gameplay of the iconic Left 4 Dead is transposed with great attention by Turtle Rock Studios in Back 4 Blood: in this closed beta we can see the desire to propose a simple, arcade and fun type of game, which receives important additions such as the card system that introduces an additional layering to a title that, if it can solve the various problems of the beta and will be able to take care of its post-launch content, could become the Left 4 Dead 3 that many were clamoring for.

► Back 4 Blood is a Shooter type game developed by Turtle Rock Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, the video game will be released on 12/10/2021 (in 17 days) The version for PC came out on 22/06/2021 The version for PlayStation 4 came out on 22/06/2021 The version for Xbox One came out on 22/06/2021
Version for PlayStation 5 from 22/06/2021
Version for Xbox Series X from 22/06/2021

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