Back 4 Blood is a multiplayer survival game heavily based on the game Left 4 Dead. Though significantly similar to Left 4 Dead, several aspects of the game make it unique. One of the most apparent differences in the deck-building system introduced in Back 4 Blood. In the game, the player builds a deck of cards that they carry into each level. These cards are categorized under four different titles: Brawn, Discipline, Fortune, and Reflex. Brawn cards provide in-game buffs that boost players, health, damage, and resistance levels. Discipline cards provide buffs focused on accuracy and abilities such as shooting while sprinting and having unlimited ammunition for a secondary weapon. Finally, reflex cards hone in on speed and stamina, providing boosts to both.
The player selects 15 cards from those categories to build their deck. At the beginning of each level, the player is prompted to draw three new cards and choose one card. These cards will be taken into the following level as their starting active boosts. Every time the player enters a safe room and proceeds to a new stage, they can add another active card to their deck. It is not all beneficial, however; in contrast, to boost cards for the player, there are also corruption cards generated by the game’s A.I.
Also, to boost cards from the four categories, each level begins with selecting corruption cards informing the players of which enemies and obstacles they should expect to encounter. New corruption cards are added to challenge the player with scenarios ranging from dense fog to giant ogres in addition to new boost cards.
Though small and containing minimum features, the alpha release of the game provides a glimpse at the functionality of Back 4 Blood’s deck-building process. The alpha release shows the duality of boost and corruption cards and provides insight into how the cards come into play when players are strategizing and preparing for each level and its challenges.
In addition to the deck-building system, another new feature of the game sets it aside from Left 4 Dead. In Back 4 Blood, a mini shop is available at the beginning of each new act. Instead of safehouses gifting players with new items and weapons, the player is instead given the opportunity to choose what they wish to acquire before heading any further into the game. These items are purchased at the mini shop with a resource called copper, which serves as a form of currency and is available throughout all levels. Now that things are no longer spawned at safehouses or randomly located in levels, the player must save up their copper to purchase new items.
Beyond the deck system and mini shops, every other feature of Back 4 Blood is what is expected from a zombie survival game. Players will have to work together in teams to effectively beat each level and its challenges. Different enemies in the game have different potential attacks that can be used towards the player, such as exploding and alerting other enemies to the player’s presence. Even boss-like enemies such as the Ogre serve as a challenge even for an entire team of players.
The single-level featured in the alpha release is structurally and objectively similar to those of Left 4 Dead. There are obstacles and puzzles that must be completed to progress through the level, as well as new features that are a refreshing change from Left 4 Dead. New monsters and team-driven objectives give Back 4 Blood a fresh unique feel on top of its new deck-building system and shop functions.