Metascore
89

Generally favorable reviews - based on 58 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 57 out of 58
  2. Negative: 0 out of 58
  1. 100
    Every aspect of Left 4 Dead has been refined and tweaked to perfection. It’s addictive and atmospheric, and it contains undoubtedly the best co-op gameplay we’ve seen yet.
  2. The biggest issue I face with Left 4 Dead however is that I can't stop playing it. And when I can't play it I'm thinking about it.
  3. The game is exactly what so many fans of the zombie horror films have longed for, for so so long.
  4. 100
    Fast zombies? Check. Non-stop tension and intensity? Check. The quality of gameplay we expect from Valve? Check. When it comes to co-op multiplayer, Valve is consistently ahead of the curve and excellent at making games that force players to work together.
  5. L4D is the next best thing to a real-life zombie apocalypse with fun and excitement in abundance.
  6. Left 4 Dead is a fantastic experience so long as you can get yourself into games with good players.
  7. Left 4 Dead is, above anything else, a fun and replayable co-op experience. Everything is elaborately designed to support the co-op gameplay and the moody zombie theme. So it doesn't have a heavily scripted 30-hour storyline with dozens of maps? Who cares! Refreshingly original and polished to the point of being a textbook case how to make a proper PC game.
  8. All in all, if you know from the start you are getting into a game that is entirely based around its cooperative multiplayer elements you are going to be rewarded with hundreds of hours of the best gaming experience you have had in years.
  9. Left 4 Dead's emphasis on teamwork and vague hints of story may not appeal to gamers who demand a focused single-player experience, but for the millions out there who have ever imagined their role in the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse, it simply cannot be missed. [Jan 2009, p.30]
  10. Left 4 Dead is simply spectacular.
  11. It's got all the nail-biting high tension of a control point assault/defence of Team-Fortress 2, mixed with the tightly designed levels of Half-Life 2 and the weapons of Counter-Strike. As long as they keep introducing new missions, there's no reason why it won't be sucking on your bandwidth for years to come.
  12. A monumental pillar in multiplayer gaming; playing it without yelping in delight is like eating a doughnut without licking your lips. [Jan 2009, p.54]
  13. If you're looking for the cooperative PC experience of 2008 and you're more interested in guns and zombies than in orcs and swords, then Left 4 Dead is very much a must-have game.
  14. Possibly too relentless for the less devout mouse-jockey, but it's astounding proof that being a brain-dead shooter is a very good thing. [Jan 2009, p.86]
  15. As it stands, Left 4 Dead is a great game, and Valve is continually improving it with patches already released and a content update promised for the near future.
  16. 92
    One of the finest zombie games ever made, and one of the finest co-op games ever made. The potential for everything to go so, so wrong without warning, or conversely to pull off the most spectacular escapes against all odds, means this is an online shooter you can tell your finest anecdotes about without boring everyone else to tears.
  17. Unless you're genuinely lacking anyone to play it with though, Left 4 Dead is easily one of this year's must-have games.
  18. 91
    There's so much tension and just pure fun to be had here that it is quite impossible to ignore, and if you're a player that craves genuine team cohesion then this could be one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences you've ever had. The only thing this game is missing is a G-String clad and rotting Jenna Jameson.
  19. A redefining moment for the survival-horror genre.
  20. While it's a short campaign, the game's solid as a rock and offers a good deal of replayability.
  21. Valve has taken something unscripted and dynamic, and seeded it with the right amount of narrative flavour, pacing and spectacle. [Christmas 2008, p.82]
  22. Another deeply professional, personality-filled and progressive take on the shooter from Valve. In a cultural landscape that has as many zombie touchstones as ours, it takes something special to make them shamble appealingly, and Left 4 Dead, both literally and metaphorically, makes them run.
  23. A truly monumental achievement, not only for Valve but for the games industry as a whole - this is what the concept of co-operative play is all about and this is the definitive implementation of it thus far.
  24. There are games you want everyone to play, just so they can experience what you've such a good time with, and Left 4 Dead is one of them. It's unlike any other game I've ever played and demonstrates the true power of cooperative gameplay.
  25. Foaming at the mouth, with a mad glint in the eye and a trio of trusted friends watching your back - that's how it's played. And there's no stepping away from it. When the consensus was that there's hardly anything more to invent in the survival horror genre, Valve proved it wrong. No other game made me give the medikit to another player despite being hurt myself. [Jan 2009]
  26. Even people who dislike zombies will probably change their minds after playing Left 4 Dead. The game offers much more than just killing zombies by the hundred. It offers lots and lots of gameplay with an unique combination of a tactical shooter with good old fashioned humour.
  27. When playing with friends, Left4Dead gives the best cooperative experience in gaming, hands down. Nothing compares. The game is lacking a bit in terms of content, and more weapons and locations would definitely add to the experience, but nothing can take away from the sheer enjoyment value.
  28. 90
    If you enjoy playing first-person shooters with a team of friends or even complete strangers, Left 4 Dead offers an unparalleled social experience. It can be frustrating at times when the team's actions aren't synced, or strategies continually falter, but a bit of practice and, more importantly, communication will transform this zombie massacre into one of the most exciting and addictive gaming experiences ever.
  29. Its bravery and stunning execution deserve plaudits while its addictive nature deserves a health warning. [Issue#15, p.58]
  30. Left 4 Dead proves that zombies don’t have to be dumb and slow! The game’s definite pro is its brilliant versus mode. The campaign mode is nice to have, but nothing more.
  31. Left 4 Dead means fun and adrenaline in its SinglePlayer mode or in the phenomenal co-op Multiplayer, where only the lack of some more options blew the chances to seek new highs. It's like drugs, once you have it, it's impossible to drop. L4D is especially dedicated to all FPS fans who love pure and non-stop action.
  32. 90
    There's absolutely no doubt that Left 4 Dead is one of the most social and exciting multiplayer games that we've ever played. It's almost pitch perfect in how it captures the tension and the action of a Hollywood zombie movie.
  33. The game works excellently both as a co-op game and as a classic competitive multiplayer experience.
  34. Left 4 Dead is a shining example of zombies done right in a video game. It's an action-packed riot with gore galore and is four times as fun with friends.
  35. Valve hits gold again and turns zombie apocalypse into year’s best co-op-shooter. The tank doesn’t really fit the game, otherwise it’s a winner. [Jan 2009]
  36. As a co-op game, Left 4 Dead is literally the best the genre has ever seen. As a competitive experience, it's still very entertaining, but ultimately conflicted and uneven. But that's okay: I'll just play campaign that much more.
  37. 90
    The inventive and highly entertaining competitive multiplayer mode just adds to the experience, and we're looking forward to seeing what Valve's got planned for the game's future. Out of all the titles that have shaped the Year of Living Cooperatively, this may be the best experience of them all.
  38. Left 4 Dead is a great multiplayer shooter with many elements that you won’t find in any other shooter this year. The co-op experience is unrivaled and the dynamic AI is an excellent design choice.
  39. So Left 4 Dead is basically the „Royale with Cheese” of this year’s multiplayer shooters. Just that the french fries next to it aren’t covered in mayo, but blood.
  40. Left 4 Dead is one of the most pleasant surprises of this final quarter of 2008. Without making too much noise it brings a very interesting set, in which the cooperative campaign is its main breakthrough. Short, thrilling and intense.
  41. Besides five boss monsters, there are over 1000 zombie models, which have been designed very well and seem to be taken out of a zombie movie, … a good one!
  42. L4D’s Versus mode is on par with Call of Duty 4 in terms of drama and tension. Every battle is a Hollywood blockbuster, an endless well of war stories about bravery, team spirit, betrayal, and cunning tricks.
  43. It's a playable zombie movie. Would you like to hunt down the infected or rather rip human flesh to shreds? What may look like a simple shooter turns out to be very challenging, scary and a lot of fun. The game may be short, but with great replay value and different ways to play like versus mode or co-op mode.
  44. It comes down to this: Left 4 Dead is a hell of a lot of fun to play.
  45. Left 4 Dead is a fun game while it lasts, but that’s not long. There’s not much nuance to the combat or weapons, but the realistic enemy behavior gives it a sense of unpredictability.
  46. If you love good stories and are seeking for a long and player-focused singleplayer experience, Left 4 Dead is definitely not the shooter for you to get this Christmas. If you consider yourself a multiplayer enthusiast who’s looking for a true, old-school coop shooter, on the other hand, this could well be your GotY!
  47. Left 4 Dead makes both sides of the zombie apocalypse a thrill to experience, as long as you're not alone.
  48. 85
    While it arrives with a meagre number of campaigns to play through, the edge of your seat gameplay and team-based focus of the title make Left 4 Dead the most comprehensive co-op title on the market at this time.
  49. Gripes aside, Left 4 Dead is a well polished experience that is an absolute blast to play co-operatively with mates (or randoms for that matter).
  50. The zombie apocalypse has begun in a small town in the USA. Everything and everyone is at stake. Four players must survive, playing together, fighting agains hordes of zombies. A great co-op shooter and an excellent game in the genre, which lets us live a horrible nightmare.
  51. I really enjoyed playing Left 4 Dead, and will continue to do so for many more hours. My only complaint is the slight lack of content and different gaming modes. The AI controller guarantees a certain level of variation in gameplay, but the playable levels and types of enemies remain the same. Content wise the game would score an 8, but Left 4 Dead packs enough fun to raise that score half a point.
  52. The only thing missing from the game is a decent story for the single-player mode. I understand that this is a game made for online play, but you get this really great animated opening that kind of lays down a general plot and that’s it.
  53. The online-focus and lack of plot are sure to rub some people the wrong way, but FPS-fans and zombie aficionados have never played anything quite like Left 4 Dead. It is a near-perfect mixture of decayed ambiance and relentless pacing that pushes the boundaries of sanity to the breaking point.
  54. Although we zipped through the four "movies" in less than five hours, we can't stop playing co-operatively with friends via online play and competing against others in the thrilling Survivors vs. Infected, a four-on-four multiplayer mode where monsters attempt to slaughter their gun-wielding adversaries.
  55. Hilarious survival horror – is it even possible? Missing singleplayer campaign is forgiven in the very first moment when you try “co-op or die” four-player mayhem. [Issue#173]
  56. Whether or not L4D should form part of your gaming collection can be decided with your reaction to a single word: Zombies. If a little chill of excitement tingled down your spine right now, you know what to do. [January 2009, p.47]
  57. Beyond its categorical success in establishing a vivid picture of the zombie apocalypse, Left 4 Dead's biggest breakthrough is the way it blurs the lines between the often compartmentalized pieces of a modern first-person shooter. It makes for a game that's unlike any other, and while the limited amount of content is admittedly unfortunate, that shouldn't keep you from experiencing this fast-paced, nerve-wracking game.
  58. 70
    If you're a multiplayer fiend and like the thought of mowing down zombies with chainguns, this is definitely worth checking out. The thrill of obliterating hordes of screaming bad guys that just want to gobble up your brains really is quite unique and fun. Just don't expect to be getting very good value for money because there's really not very much inside the box.
User Score
9.3

Universal acclaim- based on 3481 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 29 out of 497
  1. Aug 17, 2010
    10
    The base concept of moving from area to area killing hordes of zombies is nothing new. How they go about making it is remarkable, however. The game forces teamwork and with the help of the ai director you can play this game over and over and over and almost never have two similar situations. Defiantly a groundbreaking achievement in the gaming world. Full Review »
  2. Nov 8, 2011
    7
    Okay gentlemen, what you see here is a FPS zombie killing game that is actually addictive and entertaining (and funny) at the same time. "Left 4 Dead" made me play the single player and the multi player for hours and hours non-stop. The single player, inspired by movie scenarios, is very innovative and fun. The multiplayer is also a big hit for the game. With 3 other partners, you can go out and whoop those **** zombies anytime!! A great must-play!! Hurray for Valve!!!!






    Note: The game gets boring after a few months.
    Full Review »
  3. Oct 8, 2012
    10
    best zombie game ever! the characters, the zombie models, the special infected, the co up, the versus! all so fun! i always wanted a game which had easily killed zombies but still had to use team work to survive, probebly the best co up game i can think of in the moment, nope its the best i know! Full Review »