Turtle Rock Studios were down bad for a long time. It’s true. There was as much reason to be concerned as excited when we learned that Turtle Rock was going back to the Left 4 Dead genre it made a name for itself when you consider that its last major game was Evolve. Nonetheless, Back 4 Blood launched and we can’t think of a game this year that we’d rather play more with our friends than by our lonesome.
Back 4 Blood is, in many ways, simply a return to form for Turtle Rock. Set in a world where parasitic worms have turned much of the population into blood and flesh hungry zombie-like creatures (or worse), players take on the role of up to four survivors to fight back and survive a mad world with every bullet they can find. It’s the proper Left 4 Dead formula. Up to four players push through a multi-level scenario in which safehouses serve as the passage points between. Between safehouses, zombie threats can appear anywhere, including special zombies such as vomiting exploders, debilitating spitters, tanky bruisers, and more.
Back 4 Blood also improved on its formula in a few ways. Not only do new weapons and attachments come to the fold, giving players all-new ways to narrow down their favored playstyles, but it also introduced an interesting card system. The cards allow players to give perks to their characters at the start of each level, including more ammo, better healing, stronger melee, and much more. It’s just another way in which every player can both build their own style and contribute to the team in a meaningful way.
You can play Back 4 Blood by yourself and trust the teammate AI, or throw caution to the wind on online randoms, but this game is easily at its best when you’ve got some buddies ready to rock and roll. There were a lot of great games that had co-op elements in them or were even built around co-op gameplay, but nothing captured the fun, spirit, and need of co-op quite like Back 4 Blood. That’s why it gets the Shacknews Best Co-op Game of 2021.
Watch the Shacknews Awards 2021 YouTube playlist or read our Year of the Games: 2021 article for all of the awards in one place. We will be announcing our Shacknews GOTY 2021 on December 31.