zombi love.

If it’s not immediately apparent: the undead have a special place in my heart — I have always been more of the brains-over-looks type, so it should come as to no surprise that I am sympathetic to the zombie cause.

Which is why I’m eagerly anticipating the release of Left 4 Dead, the new coop-focused zombie shooter.  (Share the love, eh?)  Developed by the same team that brought us Counter-Strike, the game is set in a modern setting, where zombie holocaust is at hand, and a group of survivors are fighting their way through an ocean of zombies.  You and up to 3 buddies can play — plus, they’ve also made it so that cooperation is mandatory, making that zombie massacre just a tad bit more exciting.  (If you try and separate from the pack, the AI director — more on this in a bit — will throw a “Hunter” zombie at you.  Which is a bigger, faster, meaner zombie that you probably won’t be able to take down alone.)

The developers have stated that they were going for a “zombie movie” feel, so they’ve tweaked the Source engine a bit to include dramatic lighting and other film techniques to emulate the effect of the big screen zombie flicks.  The result is stunning — and moody: the colors are selectively muted and contrasted, plus, there’s even some film grain in there: crucial in making zombie eczema and the gore pretty.

The AI-director I mentioned earlier is the game’s way of making each scenario different from the last — instead of predetermined spawn points, the AI-director throws in spawn points where your team is, making it so that at any point in a game, any turn could be fatal, and, quite possibly, brain misplacing.

Another big shocker is that up to four more friends could join in AND PLAY AS THE ZOMBIES.  Which turns the co-op survival into a more arcade-like versus mode.

There was mention of a single-player experience — one that would thrust you into the world with three soulless, AI-driven comrades.  Which should serve you no more than a practice section.  (Gotta have soul to be a soldier.  Okay, that was reaching.)

Bottom line is — I’ll see you seeing me seeing you see me bust zombie ass.

But wait, it gets better!  If you preorder now, you’ll even get a neat 10% discount if you buy it from Steam.  Plus, there was word that a demo could be out just ’round Halloween.

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October 2008
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