Back 4 Blood isn’t a part of the Left 4 Dead series, but it is the spiritual successor of the game. I know what you’re thinking do we need another multiplayer zombie killing game? Wasn’t the Left 4 Dead series or even World War Z enough? No. We need more of these games, please keep ’em coming.
Developed by Turtle Rock Studios, creators of the Left 4 Dead series, comes a brand new multiplayer FPS zombie-killing game. Why you should be excited though are because of the game’s introduction of new gameplay mechanics, which differentiate it from other zombie shooter games. We’ll get into that later in the article.
Even though the game is due out in October the first phase of the beta will begin on August 5th. This will be exclusive for those who have pre-ordered. And on August 12th, exactly two months before the game’s planned release, the beta will open up for everyone else.
Back 4 Blood is scheduled to be released for Windows PC, PlayStation 4 | 5, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X | S on October 12th, 2021. There’s also rumours that the game will have a day one release for those with the Xbox Game Pass.
Back 4 Blood Beta
For those of you that pre-ordered the game you’ll be invited to an open-beta, early access round from next week on August 5th – 9th. Everyone else, even those who didn’t pre-order, can access the open beta from August 12th to the 16th. Both betas extend to all platforms.
If you’d like to take a chance you can also register here for a chance to get into the Early Access. But please note, website registration does not guarantee Early Access entry as codes are limited.
From here on out we’ll be diving more into what we can expect from the game in terms of the story, gameplay and all the features that have been announced.
The Back 4 Blood Story
For those who are interested in the story, and not just into shooting everything in sight I’ll just leave this here. A parasite called the Devil Worm has been released in a catastrophic outbreak. Most of humanity has either been killed or infected by the parasite.
Hardened by unspeakable events and emboldened to fight for the last of humanity, a group of apocalypse veterans called the Cleaners have rallied to take on the infected horrors known as the Ridden and reclaim the world.
Back 4 Blood Gameplay
For those of you that have never played Left 4 Dead before we’ll start with the very basics. Back 4 Blood is a 4 person team-based game. This can be done with friends or solo with AI companions.
One of the other main differences in Back 4 Blood is the introduction of character customisation decks or loadouts if that’s more familiar to you. These cards offer players a chance to craft their own personal killing machine. You’ll be asked to construct a deck and pick cards at the start of each mission to buff your character. Decks include weapons, equipment, and abilities that aid your character and allies throughout the game.
Cards have four distinct categories – Reflex, Brawn, Discipline, and Fortune. Each of these categories has specific cards or archetypes tied to them. For example, Reflex cards are all about improving your speed and stamina.
Each of the cards will give you a description that explains what they do for either you or your team. Be careful, some will also cause penalties if the benefits appear to be too great. Such as one that drastically buffs your melee ability at the cost of weapon accuracy. You can have a total of 15 cards in any deck and cards can only be in a deck once, so don’t expect to stack them.
The Cleaners are amongst a handful of survivors that were either resilient enough to make it through a year of complete chaos, or they’re actually immune to the Devil Worm. Hardened by the unspeakable events and emboldened to fight for humanity, this group of veterans have rallied together to take back what is left of the world.
Back 4 Blood will feature eight customizable Cleaners. Each playable Cleaner has their own unique appearance, personality, dialogue, and backstory, making them easier to identify at a distance. They also have unique abilities and perks.
A former Army Ranger and war veteran, Walker was well equipped to take charge of a Cleaner squad with a calm head when the Ridden outbreak began. Offering a boost to damage and health, he’s the dependable marksman you’d want watching your back on any mission.
Doc grants the team increased healing and trauma resistance. A former physician who still loves to wear the old work clothes, she wields a scalpel as a melee weapon and can keep the team in fighting shape by healing low-health allies even without items.
As well as rocking a punk aesthetic and a blunt attitude, Karlee is extremely skilled at spotting dangers from afar. She can detect hazards from a distance, hold more utility, and makes the team faster when using equipment. Karlee is the only character not technically a member of the Cleaners, but she’s more than qualified to run alongside them.
For the precision shooters looking to lay down covering fire, Jim is waiting for you atop the nearest water tower. A crack shot with a sniper rifle, Jim boosts his own damage with each precision kill, making him the expert at tackling the special Ridden. He also aims down sight faster and boosts the entire team’s damage to enemy weak spots.
Some people thrive in the apocalypse, and prepper Hoffman is having the time of his life. Able to tote more molotovs and explosives than most, he keeps the team’s ammo reserves topped up and boosts their ammo capacity as well.
The newest member of the team, Evangelo is an expert at keeping himself alive and out of the reach of the Ridden. He can escape easily from the horde’s grasping hands, offers increased stamina regen, and boosts the team’s overall speed. He’s a chatterbox, but he’ll keep the Cleaners moving when they need to.
The voice of the survivors, Mom has a wealth of experience behind her trigger finger, and that pays dividends when it comes to keeping the team alive and together. She’s capable of instantly reviving downed team members, carries more support items, and even offers an extra life for each run.
Wielding her beloved bat Dottie, Holly is a college student who just keeps on swinging. She recovers stamina with each kill, and has increased damaged resistance to let her get up close and within bat-to-head range. Her positive attitude and batting record are so impressive that she’ll even boost the entire team’s stamina reserve.
Back 4 Blood isn’t just going to be all about the Cleaners. Players also take on the roles of the Ridden. It is a human versus zombies kind of multiplayer, so it makes sense to play both sides of the war.
You can choose from nine Ridden variants:
Reeker – A fast-hitting melee monster. They are large, slow, and can deal out a bunch of punches.
Retch – Retch has Vomit Blast that hasn’t got a great deal of range but does affect quite a large area.
Exploder – Upon death, this Ridden explodes, taking down anything in the vicinity. Be careful though because you can easily take out your own ranks too.
Stinger – Small and quick, Stinger has a long-range projectile attack that is fairly weak. But it does have the element of surprise as it can cling to walls. Use this ability to get the jump on opposing Cleaners.
Hocker – It gobs up a huge mouthful of phlegm and then spits it out at opposing Cleaners. The projectile can go a lot further than you think, and instantly locks the Cleaner in place, making them unable to move.
Crusher – Literally crush your opponents to death. Its oversized arm has added tentacles so that once a Cleaner is in its grip, there’s no escape.
Stalker – The idea of the Stalker is to move through the shadows, attacking only when the time is right. Its leaping pounce ability is perfect for quickly closing the distance between yourself and an unsuspecting Cleaner, and its drag attack can help to move enemies out of formation.
Tallboy – This Ridden has a giant club-like arm, used to beat Cleaners to death. Tallboy’s overhead smash is slow and well-telegraphed but does massive damage if it lands.
Bruiser – Bruiser has a frenzied melee attack that includes a burst smash, meaning that its flailing limb can catch any Cleaners around it.
Back 4 Blood Multiplayer
The main multiplayer mode of Back 4 Blood is classic co-op PvE action, pitting four Cleaners against hordes of computer-controlled zombies. But there is also Swarm mode which will be Back 4 Blood’s main competitive mode. This 4v4 mode pits two teams against each other in best-of-three matches where squads swap between playing as Cleaners and the Ridden (zombies). Whoever stays alive the longest wins. Points tally up based on how long the Cleaner teams stayed alive during Ridden attacks.
Along with these modes is the addition of the ‘Game Director’. The game director will show a set of corrupted cards that provide a wide variety of randomized variables for each mission.
Unfortunately, Back 4 Blood doesn’t have an offline mode. That means no playing solo with AI teammates. However, Turtle Rock Studios claims it’s considering offline options for the future.
There Will Be Crossplay
Back 4 Blood is also another major multi-platform title that will support full cross-play. That means players across PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4 and Xbox One can all match up and play online together.
Will you be getting Back 4 Blood pre-order? Will you register for the beta? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! As usual we’ll be updating this page as we know more about the game.