Generally favorable reviews - based on 67 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 66 out of 67
  2. Negative: 0 out of 67
  1. 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.
  2. Valve has taken something unscripted and dynamic, and seeded it with the right amount of narrative flavour, pacing and spectacle. [Christmas 2008, p.82]
  3. 90
    All in all, I can't recommend Left 4 Dead highly enough.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. All in all, Left 4 Dead is an amazing game, and I highly recommend it, but only if you are able to play online.
  13. 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]
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. It comes down to this: Left 4 Dead is a hell of a lot of fun to play.
  20. 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.
  21. 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!
  22. 85
    Left 4 Dead is one of the most unique titles to release in quite some time.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1278 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 30 out of 209
  1. Jun 6, 2011
    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
    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
    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 »