Back 4 Blood is an online multiplayer first-person shooter game. Back 4 Blood was developed by Turtle Rock Studios (a company well known for another hit game quite similar that we will discuss later) and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Back 4 Blood was released on October 12th 2021 on Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and S, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One platforms!
For a more specific description of the game, Back 4 Blood would be classified under the survival horror genre, and for good reason. This game takes place after a global pandemic caused by a novel parasite with potential extraterrestrial origins. In this story, most of humanity has been infected with this parasite known as “Devil Worms” which turn humans into the “Ridden.” The Ridden are essentially zombie-like mutants that, of course, want to kill anything that moves, leaving the player in a gruesome fight for their life in this post-apocalyptic climate.
Luckily for the player, there is still hope - because unlike other post-apocalyptic games, the story centers around a group of survivors and involves cooperation to fend off the Ridden. Another special feature of this story is that the members of this group aren’t your average citizens of the United States of America, but are veteran survivors and know how to fend for themselves. As such, they banded together to better their chances and instead of learning to live amongst the Ridden, they strategize their days to cleanse the world of these extraterrestrial evils. The group therefore names themselves the “Cleaners” as they purposefully fight the Ridden to eradicate them and by proxy, the Devil Worms. This team of Cleaners is comprised of Walker, a dependable and loyal veteran, Doc, the Cleaners’ doctor, Karlee, the proactive loud-mouthed strategist, Jim, the seasoned marksman, Hoffman, the doomsday preparer that was born for this moment, Evangelo, the newest member of the team with a lot to prove, Mom, the awesome mom of the group, and Holly, the college kid that holds the whole team together!
In terms of gameplay, Back 4 Blood is primarily a four player co-op game with a PvP (player vs player) option and a solo mode. The game is designed to have extensive amounts of replay value with different options for playstyles and for different friend groups. To add to the replay value of the game, you start the game with four characters (only half of the roster) and can unlock the rest. With each player obviously comes different skill sets and abilities. In the same order introduced, here are the main benefits to each individual character:
- Precision kills grant 20% increased accuracy for 5 seconds
- Damage increased by 10%
- Team health increased by 10
- Heals teammates for 25 health at the beginning of the level
- Healing efficiency increased by 20%
- Team trauma resistance increased by 25%
- Senses hazards and mutations nearby
- Additional quick inventory slot
- Team use speed increases by 50%
- Killing the Ridden with precision kills increases damage by 2.5%, stacking until he is damaged
- ADS (aim down sight) speed increased 25%
- Team weak spot damage increased by 10%
- Can randomly find ammunition after killing a Ridden
- Additional offensive inventory slot
- Maximum team ammunition capacity increased 10%
- Breakout speed increased by 75% (can break out of grabs every minute)
- Stamina regeneration increased by 25%
- Team movement speed increased by 5%
- Can revive one incapacitated teammate per level, instantly
- Additional support inventory slot
- Additional team extra life
- Restores 10 stamina after killing a Ridden
- Damage resistances increased by 10%
- Team stamina increased by 25
As you might expect, with all these unique characteristics and only four slots on a co-op team, there are countless options to play through. Not to mention the different difficulties available in Back 4 Blood. The three difficulties available are Classic, Survivor, and Nightmare, each having their own differences to help in the replayability of the game.
- Base health and attack stats increased, faster health regeneration out of combat, friendly fire turned off, and two retries for a level.
- More Ridden spawn, friendly fire is active but deal 35% less against teammates, and two retries for a level
- Each player has one less Strike, Ridden are stronger (more health and higher attack damage), lose health faster when downed, friendly fire is active with 60% less damage against teammates, and only one retry is available.
Finally, the last feature to the game that adds to the countless opportunities to replay the game and find yourself in different situations is with the Active and Corruption Cards from the AI Director. The four types of Corruption Cards are Ridden (determine frequency and behaviour of standard Ridden), Mutations (determine frequency and behaviour of special Ridden), Challenge and Rewards (special challenges to complete during the level to earn rewards), and Events (Modifying the environment of the level). The four types of Active Cards are Reflex (modify character stats), Discipline (modify ammo capacity and healing efficiency), Braw (bonus defensive stats and effectiveness of melee and explosives), and Fortune (boosting player abilities, health recovery, and gun stats), that can all be purchased with Copper, or can be found during the level.
Overall, the replay factor of this game has been invested in extensively by Turtle Rock Studios and it truly shows in the features that can bring in some added spice when needed, or even wanted! To put into perspective how much replay value this game contains, here are the different options available just when starting your adventure!
3 Playstyle Options
Different Possible Team Setups
3 Difficulty Options
4 player Co-op
That leaves a total of over 4.87 billion options to play out the game if you have enough people! The studio clearly put in a lot of effort to regain their independence after splitting from Valve and leaving the Left 4 Dead franchise in Valve’s ownership, which leads into our next topic.
How is Back 4 Blood Related to Left 4 Dead?
Left 4 Dead was originally created by the same studio which is why players who have played the Left 4 Dead games will notice the similarities of a four-player co-op game focused on multiplayer functionality and replay value. With Back 4 Blood, the development team at Turtle Rock Studios was aiming for an expanded storyline when compared to Left 4 Dead and a more uplifting tone than other games of the post-apocalyptic horror survival genre. By developing the story around a group of people that are proactively trying to rid the world of the Ridden, Turtle Rock did just that. The whole premise surrounds people that still have hope for humanity and want to use their time to cleanse the world of these creatures. Without spoilers, there are clearly moments between characters where the story doesn’t highlight the fear that they have towards their new world and how they overcome it, instead it focuses on creating safe spaces where people can survive and doing their part in saving the world! As such, the game obviously does have a lot of similarities with the Left 4 Dead games, and for good reason, but the addition of the Card functionality and the expanded storyline with a nice change of pace gives it enough of a distinct position in the market that it doesn’t just feel like the game is some sort of addition to the Left 4 Dead franchise. With the differences in Back 4 Blood, and confirmation from the developers, the story is not from the same universe as Left 4 Dead and should be treated as its own!
Could Back 4 Blood Work as an Esport?
With a significant trend in game developers pursuing the creation of a game that has an element where an esports scene can be generated, Turtle Rock Studios may have done just that with this title. As mentioned, there are three options for the game mode people can select when playing through the game. There is solo mode, four player co-op, and four player-on-four player team against team (Swarm Mode). With each game mode option, there can absolutely be an esport scene that develops so long as there is enough interest and passion! In solo survival, the main concept would simply be a speed run through the game, or at least a timed event where the person that survives the game the longest would win! In terms of team survival, there would obviously be a similar concept of speed-running the game, or at least seeing how long each team can survive with the longest lasting team winning! Finally, the game mode with the most opportunity would be the Swarm Mode (team vs. team). In Swarm Mode, it’s not just a matter of surviving as long as possible but doing what you can to hinder the other team or just outright kill them! Just like any team-against-team first-person shooter there can be an esports opportunity, however with Back 4 Blood, adding the environment option would certainly add a twist to the gameplay that viewers would be used to which could really make for a fun change of pace!
Overall, Turtle Rock Studios’ Back 4 Blood is an extensively designed title where the emphasis is put on the options that players can utilize to create diverse playthroughs that make it easy to invest hours upon hours to enjoy the gameplay and story of the game. If hunting down hordes of zombies and strategizing with your friends is something you enjoy, Back 4 Blood is definitely a game to pick up and enjoy!
So now you want to play?
Luckily for you, we are hosting a Back4Blood contest in our Discord right now. Just record a video of you playing solo mode, and you might just win some new equipment on us! We're talking keyboards, headsets, and more! Sign up here!