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Back 4 Blood PS5 Hands-On Preview – Turtle Rock’s Co-Op Shooter Is Shaping Up to Be a Blast

Back 4 Blood PS5 Preview. If you’ve been thirsting for a new Left 4 Dead game, Turtle Rock Studios has your back. Back 4 Blood is shaping up to be the sequel you’ve been waiting for in all but name – and even that comes eerily close.

Of course, Turtle Rock Studios was the developer of the original Left 4 Dead game back in 2008, albeit under Valve‘s ownership and known back then as Valve South. Safe to say that the team has pedigree in the fast-paced, co-operative zombie shooter game, and it shows in this early beta.

Back 4 Blood PS5 Hands-On Preview

Familiar For Some, Back 4 Blood Revives a Classic Formula and Brings It Bang Up To Date

There were eight fully-fledged missions available over two months before the game’s commercial launch, with full crossplay between PlayStation, Xbox and PC. It’s certainly showing signs of confidence, and based on the content within those eight missions, it’s well-placed.

The manic zombie-slaying action feels fantastic with any weapon. Desperately swinging a machete into the head of an undead is just as satisfying as lining up a headshot with a Desert Eagle’s ACOG scope. If that sounds like overkill, it absolutely is – and is all the more delightful, in the most gruesome way, for it.

Beyond taking on hordes of enemies, the missions in the demo showcased some of the variety we can look forward to in the full release. There’s one particular objective which has you outrunning a massive pack of zombies through a cruise ship, only to find you must run back, head-first, into the constantly respawning threat to plant bombs throughout the ship. It’s this dynamic storytelling that gets me really excited to see what Turtle Rock has in store for us, but it does highlight one thing that could use some work.

Back 4 Blood’s AI characters, who take the place of your friends or strangers should you not manage to get a full team of four together, barely hold their own in fending off even the smallest of hordes. When it comes to completing mission objectives, reviving downed teammates, or even getting themselves kitted up with the best gear, they’re totally clueless and should not be relied upon.

Not For the Faint of Heart

It is a game that’s intended to be played with fellow humans, and the few short hours I’ve spent playing with strangers, girlfriend and brother have all been a real blast. Crossplay is as seamless as can be with an in-game friend list allowing you to add friends from other platforms, and I’m pleased to report that I didn’t encounter any technical hiccups along the way. Here’s hoping the infrastructure holds up come launch day when the player numbers inevitably go through the roof – especially as the game is launching simultaneously on Xbox Game Pass.

In addition to the classic Left 4 Dead action that you know and love, Turtle Rock Studios has incorporated some new additions in an attempt to build upon the decade-old formula. On top of the unique characters, who each have their own starter weapon and basic abilities, there’s a new system which allows you to build a deck of up to fifteen collectible cards, with each one offering a unique perk to assist your play style.

If you find yourself frequenting the trusty baseball bat, you may consider a card that regenerates a small amount of health for each melee kill; or if you’re a panicker (like me) you’ll want the 10% addition to your stamina meter, to help you get out of a sticky situation.

In the handful of hours that I played during the beta, the cards didn’t feel as though they were making a huge difference to my stats, however I can only imagine that the cards you’ll unlock later down the line will provide greater boosts to your stats.

I’d always been a typical single-player gamer, until the Covid pandemic forced Call of Duty: Warzone‘s Verdansk to become the vessel for all of my social “outings” in 2020. Multiplayer sessions have dwindled this year as we grew tired of the Battle Royale formula; not to wish away our lovely British summer, but I can’t wait for an excuse to regroup with my squad and take on whatever hellish surprises Back 4 Blood has in store for us this October.

Back 4 Blood launches on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC on 12th October 2021.

Closed beta code kindly provided by the publisher.