Comments on

Left 4 Red

Original entry posted: Wed Nov 19 15:55:38 2008

Josh @ Wed Nov 19 11:09:03 2008 EST

Yeah, this is why I'm still a fan of couch coop. I have way more people who swing by that would play as opposed to finding peeps online.

Corvus @ Wed Nov 19 11:27:34 2008 EST

Heh, no offense taken. (-.0) I won't be getting it on Steam anyway. At least not until I hear reports of it running better under WINE or Crossover.

Thomas @ Wed Nov 19 12:23:53 2008 EST

Couch co-op's still very nice, especially now that I have a large enough TV that I'm not squinting at it all the time. Good for parties, too.

I guess I'm just more of a versus kind of guy, anyway.

Corvus, I'm impressed you got Steam running in the first place. I tried fiddling with it and WINE in a VM at work one day, and couldn't even get the thing to load. Kept crashing on a steam.dll error.

That Fuzzy Bastard @ Wed Nov 19 13:25:37 2008 EST

Couch co-op---or living room co-op, in the case of Rock Band---is the best. I know there are those who hate split-screen, but I shrug at 'em.

That said, I think L4D, like a lot of XBL-centric games, is really aimed at the junior high/high school set (though certain professional games journalists can also enjoy them, as their lives are not so different from junior high). I do remember the days when I would hang out with my friends at lunch, take the bus home, then get on the phone with them, and I think these kinds of games are very much the modern equivalent of hanging out at the mall.

gatmog @ Wed Nov 19 17:10:24 2008 EST

I actually had these same thoughts before I played the demo, but I'm actually enjoying Left 4 Dead playing solo for the time being. I may not be getting the picture perfect intention of what Valve intended, but it's pretty close. More than playing with a bunch of run-and-gunning strangers, anyway.

The game's adaptive difficulty has certainly been highlighted in many reviews, but it really isn't that noticeable on Normal. And the game's AI is good enough so that your companions aren't completely useless in a firefight - they just don't come with the personality you'd get from playing with humans. What I find most entertaining is how the game is constantly feeding you things to kill. It's FPS gaming at its most raw, and while it's kind of lonely not having anybody to share those daring escapes with, the feeling of accomplishment at the end of each act is there. The swarms that are launched at the end of each act before the miraculous rescue borders on unfair.

Your argument could be applied to MMORPGs, and some "mature" gamers still manage to find the time to organize massive raids for those. Perhaps it's MMORPGs more overt social aspects, or the return on investment on a custom character? In our game group's case, WoW became too onerous to schedule sessions and we're jumping into L4D to give it a try on the weekend. It's something you can easily walk away from (selectable chapters) and doesn't require much mental investment. It's still way too expensive for what it's actually offering, though, and most reviews seem to point this out.

Thomas @ Wed Nov 19 17:33:39 2008 EST

MMOs are an entirely different paradigm. They have a built-in social network, and the ability to form communities within the game. With L4D, those abilities are based around the Live/Steam communities. The former makes grouping 'discoverable,' while the latter does not.

In other words, you can join an MMO and make friends with people on the same schedule. That's not a part of the FPS functionality or culture.

gatmog @ Wed Nov 19 18:10:31 2008 EST

Wouldn't Steam be, in a way, the "built in social network" you're talking about? It's certainly making it easier for FPS gamers to reconnect after random meetups on servers (or match-ups in the case of L4D) via the friends list and in-game interface. And I think the shared "adventure" style of L4D is something that would cause people to contact those they may have had a particularly good time with after a random match-up.

I'm not saying L4D is an MMORPG (probably a bad comparison), but it's definitely not your typical FPS, either.

Thomas @ Wed Nov 19 19:15:35 2008 EST

In my case, at least, clearly it's not. Otherwise I'd have more than one friend after a year of Team Fortress.

Thomas @ Wed Nov 19 19:38:50 2008 EST

This is all a fun aside, but it misses the point entirely. As I said, I'm not interested in playing a game like L4D with strangers. I don't want to go through the hassle of lengthy matchups with the not inconsiderable population of jackasses online, just to find people who are not dysfunctional, which is basically what you're suggesting.

It's beside the point to ask if Steam makes it easy for me to befriend new people. I don't care about making new friends on Steam, even if it were just as easy as finding people in WoW. I care about having known quantities to group with right now, and since that's not a situation in which I find myself, it's hard to become interested in games aimed primarily at co-op play.

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