Back 4 Blood released this week, ending a decade-plus wait for fans of the Left 4 Dead franchise to receive a sequel to 2009’s Left 4 Dead 2. Well, not exactly a sequel but, being from the developers of Left 4 Dead, this looks to be the closest we will ever get. Indeed, Back 4 Blood feels exactly like what a Left 4 Dead game in 2021 should be. There are more than a few similarities between the two games. One of the biggest differences is in Back 4 Blood’s “Special Ridden” vs Left 4 Dead’s “Special Infected”. While the original Left 4 Dead had just 5 special infected, Back 4 Blood has double that and they are horrifyingly awesome. Truly terrifying.
It’s obvious that the special ridden take cues from the special infected but it’s like they have all been amped up, combined, and then evolved into formidable enemies that can really mess up your game. Whereas the special infected can mostly be dealt with pretty easily the special ridden are incredibly threatening. Both in the powers they have and how they spawn. In Left 4 Dead special infected spawned one at a time. So, you could have one hunter, one smoker, one boomer, etc. This isn’t the case in Back 4 Blood. Multiples of special ridden can all come after you at the same time and it really changes the dynamic of dealing with them and, importantly, the threat that they pose. It’s a simple but great improvement on the Left 4 Dead formula.
The special ridden are also no piece of cake to take down. You need to empty quite a few magazines into one to kill it, even on the easiest difficulty. That’s before we even get on to the Ogres and Breakers. Basically Back 4 Blood’s version of a Tank. When an Ogre, a special ridden that is about 3 stories tall and throws lava-type bombs, pops up your entire team has to be on the ball to take it down. The special ridden have made Back 4 Blood a worthy successor to Left 4 Dead. I can’t see what special ridden the developers add next.