The Beta of Back 4 Blood not only allowed us to try the entire first act of the campaign in cooperative mode and to delve into the system of using the cards (here are our impressions on the Beta of Back 4 Blood), but also gave us the opportunity to spend some time within the competitive online mode, the only one in which you can take on the role of the most advanced infected and have fun hunting the survivors. After spending a few hours on the competitive side of the title of Turtle Rock Studios, we decided to offer you our opinion on the component in question, waiting to get your hands on the final version of the game and analyze all the maps included in the package.
Exterminators vs Infested
With Back 4 Blood’s PvP, Turtle Rock Studios wants to offer a different type of multiplayer experience than that of classic shooters. Swarm, the mode that we had the opportunity to test during the Beta, is conceptually quite simple and contrasts with a team of four Exterminators another made up of as many Champions of the Haunted, or the most powerful mutations.
The two teams on the field, who alternate roles during the rounds, do not simply have to kill each other: the goal of each match is in fact to eliminate all survivors as quickly as possible, Since only the Infested have the opportunity to re-enter after death and that for the killed exterminators there is no possibility of returning to life.
To protect themselves from dangerous creatures, humans can use all the tools found inside the crates scattered around the arena, which contain not only weapons and medkits but also barbed wire and other accessories that can hinder the assaults of the mutated enemy. To make the match more interesting, we start with common level equipment that increases in rarity with each round to give users more chances against the Monstrosity Swarm on the other side.
Obviously there is no shortage of cards, mechanics that we talked about extensively in our previous article (to learn more: Back 4 Blood, a game halfway between tradition and innovation). Through the use of these upgrades, players can improve the efficiency of the characters and build intriguing cooperative synergies: unlike the PvE sector, the Swarm mode offers an assortment of pre-built decks designed to accommodate different styles of play, all without altering in a disruptive way the balance of the gameplay.
On the side of the monsters
For their part, the Haunted cannot use the cards during the game, but the developers have thought of a different system to make the Haunted stronger and stronger during the match. Each of the available monstrosities and their related “subclasses”, or their variants, can be upgraded by spending i Mutation points earned in the field: these allow you to apply power-ups to both the Infested you are using, and to the Common, or the hordes of zombies under the control of artificial intelligence that accompany the onslaught of the team of mutated beasts, and help them to breach the defenses of the humans.
Each Infested family offers distinctive game mechanics, which contribute to amplify the variety of the game offer and encourage users to build team strategies. L’Sharp it is incredibly agile and compensates for its fragility with the ability to leap from one side of the map to the other and then hit the enemy from a distance. The Maleolent instead it is an abominable mass of flesh and nastiness that creates panic by overwhelming survivors with an acid jet, or by blowing itself up with a suicide attack.
The latest Infested archetype corresponds to the Colossus, a mighty hitter who doubles as a tank thanks to the very generous health gauge. As anticipated, taking advantage of the differences between the nine playable Infested it is possible to implement strategies that, with the support of good communication, leave no way out for the opposing team. For all the curious, here is a rich special on the monsters of Back 4 Blood.
The right balance
To have particularly surprised us during the test is the great attention paid to balancing of experience. The few maps that we were able to test in the Beta also managed to convince us thanks to the right balance between indoor and outdoor areas, so that players could freely decide what kind of approach to take to face the enemy.
In spite of everything, however, we cannot be fully satisfied with the respawn mechanics chosen for the Infested, the only ones who can return after death. Once a countdown has expired, the player returns to take control of the monstrous creature in a sort of incorporeal form, and in order to fight again he must position himself in a place that is at the same time away from the visual cones of the opponents and inside the circular area in which that specific phase of the match is taking place. Two conditions that are not always easy to satisfy, at the center of a system that should be revised and that will most likely be retouched before the arrival of Back 4 Blood on the shelves.