Left 4 Dead

released on Nov 17, 2008

From Valve (the creators of Counter-Strike, Half-Life and more) comes Left 4 Dead, a co-op action horror game for the PC and Xbox 360 that casts up to four players in an epic struggle for survival against swarming zombie hordes and terrifying mutant monsters.

Set in the immediate aftermath of the zombie apocalypse, L4D's survival co-op mode lets you blast a path through the infected in four unique “movies,” guiding your survivors across the rooftops of an abandoned metropolis, through rural ghost towns and pitch-black forests in your quest to escape a devastated Ground Zero crawling with infected enemies. Each "movie" is comprised of five large maps, and can be played by one to four human players, with an emphasis on team-based strategy and objectives.

New technology dubbed "the AI Director" is used to generate a unique gameplay experience every time you play. The Director tailors the frequency and ferocity of the zombie attacks to your performance, putting you in the middle of a fast-paced, but not overwhelming, Hollywood horror movie.

Addictive single player, co-op, and multiplayer action gameplay from the makers of Counter-Strike and Half-Life Versus Mode lets you compete four-on-four with friends, playing as a human trying to get rescued, or as a zombie boss monster that will stop at nothing to destroy them.

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Left 4 Dead is a fun, but compromised experience. It's by no means bad, but it definitely feels undercooked and lacking in content, especially by modern standards.
Valve seemingly agree with this as they would almost immediately begin working on the sequel, in my opinion completely replaces the need to ever play L4D again.
In hindsight it definitely felt like I bought into a beta test for Left 4 Dead 2, but at the time I still had a lot of fun with it.

There's an argument to be had that Left 4 Dead is still worth playing, even though it's basically been recreated in its entirety in Left 4 Dead 2. L4D1 is much stronger as a tonal piece - no melee weapons means you have little in the way of comfortable fallback options, and you have to be conscious of every bullet. When you run into a Witch, you're making a much harder decision about how to handle her here. Less variation in gameplay modes means you're simply running for longer stretches of time from set piece to set piece, which adds that tasteful wearying sort of experience you want out of a straight horror game. These are all subtle differences, and chances are good that you'd like both games if you like one. Personally, I find all the maps I've played across both titles much stronger in their L4D2 incarnations, but I can respect someone who holds the opposite opinion.

Not to say that Left 4 Dead 2 is a bad game, but in hindsight, the boycott had a point. Something about this game's atmosphere just hits differently.

funny how this game was itself left for dead after its sequel became the base game everyone plays