Metascore
89

Generally favorable reviews - based on 67 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 66 out of 67
  2. Negative: 0 out of 67
  1. 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.
  2. Left 4 Dead is THE best game I've played in years, and offers one of the best new multiplayer experiences available on the market.
  3. 100
    The most innovative multiplayer videogame since pioneers "Quake" and "Doom." Thanks to a brilliant marriage of gameplay mechanics with cinematic genre, Left 4 Dead creates genuine fright while not only enabling, but forcing cooperation between four players fighting for their survival. Endlessly engaging and virtually flawless, it's destined to be one of the most successful original vidgames of 2008, and set a new standard for cooperative gameplay.
  4. While playing offline or split-screen isn't as fun as playing with a two or three friends online -- Left 4 Dead thrives on camaraderie -- so that's probably your only consideration when purchasing the game, because everything else is too awesome to miss.
  5. 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.
  6. Left 4 Dead is an amazing experience and a real good reason to keep your Xbox Live account paid up.
  7. L4D is one zombie apocalypse I completely and utterly embrace. [Jan 2009, p.84]
  8. 96
    One of the most visceral and enjoyable experiences you will find on Xbox 360 this holiday season. If you love classic zombie movies and/or love the idea of co-op shooter there simply is no better game.
  9. Left 4 Dead's simplicity offers purity of gameplay - the same reason that gamers keep returning to classic arcade games. Come to think of it, with a handful of levels and unpredictable events happening within them, Left 4 Dead has more in common with "Ms. Pac-Man" than just the eating. It's the same thing over and over - but when simple ingredients are perfectly prepared, what could be a mere snack becomes a feast. This one just happens to be on human flesh. [Holiday 2008, p.32]
  10. 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.
  11. Left 4 Dead is a fantastic experience so long as you can get yourself into games with good players.
  12. If you are even thinking about playing this game, pony up for the Xbox Live Gold membership. It’s just as necessary as the controller. While light on content, Left 4 Dead needs to be in everyone’s library, not only because it innovates in ways that will shape the future of gaming, but also because it’s so damn fun.
  13. Left 4 Dead is a great addition to the zombie game genre. It’s a complete other direction from Dead Rising, which is a good thing since Left 4 Dead is one of the best co-op shooters around.
  14. The lack of maps and variety in the weapons may keep some casual players at bay. Hopefully Valve will offer DLC to keep it fresh. Its mastery of teamwork and tactical demands will keep players online until then.
  15. A brand-new breed of first-person shooter that absolutely everyone should try. [Jan 2009, p.61]
  16. The single player part of the game will barely take 4 hours to complete, so you are better off getting a game like Fallout 3 or Call of Duty. For your online needs however, look no further than L4D. As of now, it’s the best online coop game we have played on the Xbox 360, or any other system for that matter.
  17. 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.
  18. 92
    An incredible package. It’s claustrophobic and sinister, yet utterly action packed and arcadey at the same time. It’s completely gorgeous, yet the visuals serve the gameplay at all times, whether that’s through subtle changes to the presentation to alter the mood, or the fact that you’re playing so much of the game at the end of a flashlight.
  19. Even though you can finish all four chapters in just over four hours, the amount of replay value is immense. Weapon and ammo stations change, zombies will pour out of one area the first time through and another the next time and if you stay still you will get swarmed by a ton of zombies. This is a must buy for any action fan.
  20. It controls like a dream, isn't overly complicated and has a random generator of where the zombies are each time you start the game over.
  21. Left 4 Dead redefines how teamwork can excel in the internet age. A solid action game to begin with, L4D adds a few twists to the formula that encourages – nay, demands – cooperation amongst your group of four survivors.
  22. 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]
  23. It’s so immersive and satisfying to sling lead at an infinite number of creepy, crawly zombies! It’s not particularly deep, but there are far more moments that’ll make you grin goofily and move tensely to the edge of your seat.
  24. 91
    Simply put, every time the Director brings down a swath of Infected, who then pound me into hamburger, and every time my team and I manage to survive against incredible odds until the end, and we hoot and holler about besting the Director, I do the same thing: I jump into another lobby and wait for a match to start. I love this damn game.
  25. Unless you're genuinely lacking anyone to play it with though, Left 4 Dead is easily one of this year's must-have games.
  26. A redefining moment for the survival-horror genre.
  27. With a game that is so much fun to play single player or even better in multiplayer, Valve has a huge hit on its hands. Toss in the possibility of DLC and you got yourself some replay value that goes through the roof!
  28. Just like on the PC, the 360 version of Left 4 Dead is just immensely fun to play. Whether you go on the hunt or are the hunted, Left 4 Dead will leave you wanting more every time you finish a campaign.
  29. Looks like a straight run and gun horror shooter, but it's filled with ideas which will be copied for years. [Feb 2009, p.68]
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. Valve has taken something unscripted and dynamic, and seeded it with the right amount of narrative flavour, pacing and spectacle. [Christmas 2008, p.82]
  33. 90
    All in all, I can't recommend Left 4 Dead highly enough.
  34. 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. Valve’s newest might be one of their most masterfully crafted, and the attention to detail is impeccable.
  35. While it’s easy to say that it’s not so great offline, Left 4 Dead is supposed to be played with friends and when you do it’s hard to find any flaws. Very fun, very slick and very dead.
  36. 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.
  37. Fun, frantic, fresh, innovative, stylish and addictive, Left 4 Dead is a game that you will enjoy when playing alone and fall in love with when playing with friends. It's what survival horror is all about: teamwork, desperation and endurance - and in terms of crafting an atmospheric, pulse-racing FPS experience, Valve have absolutely outdone even themselves.
  38. 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.
  39. Left 4 Dead is a fantastic game. Not exactly flawless, but tremendous fun. And by tremendous fun, I mean the equivalent of riding the best roller-coaster in the world, whilst eating the best piece of cake in the world, whilst the most beautiful woman in the world does unspeakable things to you.
  40. Left 4 Dead transcends the black and white of 'single player' or 'multiplayer' – suddenly there's a realisation that four players have amalgamated into a single, unified body during play. It's an incredibly exhilarating feeling, and other games offering co-op modes that amount to little more than running and gunning together suddenly appear a little juvenile. Left 4 Dead has indefinitely raised the bar for true co-operative play.
  41. Overall this is a fantastic game to play with friends. If you can get a good group of guys together playing this you will have a blast.
  42. All in all, Left 4 Dead is an amazing game, and I highly recommend it, but only if you are able to play online.
  43. Valve has put together a wonderfully unconventional game – a taut FPS multiplayer that retains the same unease felt in the likes of Resident Evil. [Jan 2009, p.114]
  44. 90
    Left 4 Dead is a game which keeps things simple, but this to its benefit. It mixes all the right ingredients of tension, gore and rewards to make it thoroughly enjoyable.
  45. If you are even remotely a zombie movie fan, this title deserves a chance as many zombies will be killed in the playing of his game; and that is always a good thing.
  46. Left 4 Dead is one of those games like Madden NFL or Rock Band that is a lot more exciting and fun to play when played with friends.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. It comes down to this: Left 4 Dead is a hell of a lot of fun to play.
  50. Between the tense campaign and the frenetic Versus mode, Left 4 Dead offers two distinct flavors of multiplayer action that are equally delicious when enjoyed with friends. The single-player experience (and the marginally better but somewhat sluggish split-screen mode) isn't as tasty, simply because the friendly AI can't compare to a human teammate.
  51. Valve's much anticipated Zombie game is a co-op experience not to be missed. Although a few more levels would have been nice, the AI is smart enough to provide a unique game each time around. This one is highly recommended!
  52. 85
    Left 4 Dead is one of the most unique titles to release in quite some time.
  53. Where "The Club" and "Shadowrun" were online-only games that faded quickly because they were fun for a few minutes, Left 4 Dead has the potential to become a cult classic, like Counterstrike. It doesn’t matter that the levels are the same every time you play, because when you’ve mastered the various elements of the game, that’s what brings its own rewards.
  54. 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.
  55. Without a doubt this is one of the best multiplayer experiences you will find on the 360, however anyone wanting to go it alone will quickly tire of playing the scenarios over and over again. Repetition is kept to a minimum thanks to the A.I Director but unless you have LIVE and a solid squad of friends then you should probably give this a miss.
  56. 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.
  57. 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.
  58. Left 4 Dead is largely successful at bringing players a uniquely exhilarating, arcade-like zombie shooter. The eye toward multiplayer fun is definitely appreciated, and the accessibility is great. However, the experience is best taken in short bursts, as the repetitive action gets monotonous after awhile.
  59. 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.
  60. 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.
  61. This is gaming's equivalent of a B-movie. It might not last long, but with no plot, no fuss and no gimmicks, it's a guilty thrill that will live on in pub conversations, impromptu blasts with mates and the knowledge that if you ever want to sit down and enjoy some carnage, all you have to do is reach for this brilliant twist on survival horror.
  62. If you’ve got Xbox Live then Left 4 Dead is a definite 9. As it is, with the limitations and occasional annoyances, the lone gunman will find we’re obliged to keep the score down to cater for this offline review. However you play though, there’s nothing quite like slaughtering zombies and Left 4 Dead is one of the most intense, exciting, frantically paced and simply-good-old-fashioned-fun shooters on the market – and a game that you’ll find very hard not to love.
  63. When you're playing with a good team, against another good team or just the AI, it is exquisite. There just simply isn't enough of it, especially when the the elements all seem to be there to expand the versus mode.
  64. Compared to a lot of the other games released this fall the content offered in Left 4 Dead is on the meager side. You can breeze through the campaign in one sitting, and the multiplayer versus mode isn't all that interesting in the long run. Left 4 Dead should be enjoyed with up to three other players in co-op, a mode where this game really shines and offers you intense non stop action where cooperation is a must. If you enjoy playing with others, this is a must have. If not there are more meaty games to invest in this fall.
  65. It’s not nearly as methodical, subtle or intelligent as their other IPs, but Left 4 Dead dives head first into the abyss covered in blood, guts, bile – every horrible bodily fluid you can possibly think of, and comes out of the other end smelling like roses.
  66. As a co-operative multiplayer experience, Left 4 Dead is unparalleled on the Xbox 360.
  67. Yes, shooting hordes of zombies is fun, even more so with three other friends. But the game doesn't have anything to offer beyond that simple activity, and it most likely stop being relevant the moment someone makes a zombie FPS with a little more depth.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1277 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 30 out of 209
  1. Jun 6, 2011
    9
    Anything that Valve's touch becomes platinum, Left 4 Dead has a lot of similarities with Counter Strike in every aspect. Non stop action,overAnything that Valve's touch becomes platinum, Left 4 Dead has a lot of similarities with Counter Strike in every aspect. Non stop action,over the top violence will be found in here, laugh out loud coop , and nice campaign. Tho, this is not a game for everyone,as i said this campaign is hell of a fun experience but is very short, and especially for offline users, they will not get more content on it. Also L4D lacks in weapons, there's not many variety. Those minor flaws doesn't deteriorate the excitement , and you can get good use for it. So pick it , ( get L4D2 it has more stuff ) but, get in mind that less dont get everything right , even if it has zombies. Full Review »
  2. EricB
    Oct 31, 2009
    3
    Why is this game so highly regarded? This is a game that has far too much repetition, almost no storyline to make the game more interesting, Why is this game so highly regarded? This is a game that has far too much repetition, almost no storyline to make the game more interesting, and linear, predefined levels that force you to follow preset paths. The crying sound of the witch was the only seriously cool thing about this overhyped, overrated game. If this game came out at a $20 pricepoint, it would deserve an 8 or 9. The game seems likea solid effort a group of young developers would create, but as a full priced release, it is a joke. Maybe they'll try to create a full game when they do L4D2. But if they don't, all the Valve fanboys will give it a 10 anyway, I suppose. Full Review »
  3. RowanF
    Apr 17, 2009
    6
    An amazing game - In theory. It has great graphics, great multiplayer, great gameplay ect, all of which make it a realy fun game to play, but An amazing game - In theory. It has great graphics, great multiplayer, great gameplay ect, all of which make it a realy fun game to play, but it's completely flawed by one single factor: Its length. Four hours. That's how long it took me to complete it. Four freakin' hours. There are EXPANSION PACKS longer than that! Four hours! I mean, that might be ok if it was realy full and thought out, but not only are half the objects seen in game literaly ripped straight from Half Life 2, it doesn't even have a story line! What were valve doing all of those years? Sitting there picking their noses? Valve's feeble excuse for this pitiful gameplay time was the games massive replayablity, due to the 'AI director' which would change the positioning and quantity of the zombies each playthrough depending on how well players were doing. But as I played it, the zombies would either come from dark alley to my right, or a dark alley to my left, regardless of whether I was limping along with two temamates down and a single shell in my shotgun, or if i was tearing through the horde like an almighty god with full health and an almost unlimited supply of ammo. At any rate, they were the still just the same zombies in the same place to be disposed of in the same way. In short, the games excuse for not being pitifuly short - replayability - is... well a complete fabrication. This game had the potential to be great, but Valves inability to make a game of any length pretty much ruined it. Full Review »