Back 4 Blood is coming out this week on PC and consoles, and based on our initial playthrough during the early access, the game offers a lot of zombie-blasting thrills that make it a great game for spooky season.
Now, whether you’re new to these kinds of games or are a Left 4 Dead veteran, Back 4 Blood has unique gameplay mechanics that every player should be mindful of when starting the game. Knowing the game’s mechanics is a must, especially as the final release is more challenging than the Open Beta last August; yes, even the Recruit difficulty can put up quite a challenge.
So, without further ado, here are eight tips for any and every Back 4 Blood Beginner for the Campaign mode!
Start on Recruit Difficulty
When you start the Campaign, you have three difficulty options: Recruit, Veteran, and Nightmare. Based on their descriptions, you might think that these three are the Easy, Normal, and Hard modes respectively based on their descriptions and colors. But make no mistake, starting on Veteran may just frustrate you as a beginner.
During the game’s Open Beta, the Recruit difficulty didn’t exactly offer a massive challenge, but that all changed in the final release version. In the current state of the game, even Recruit offers a challenge, especially for uncoordinated teams. So, if you’re new to the game, make sure to start on Recruit as it’s pretty much the “Normal” difficulty for Back 4 Blood. Just think of Veteran and Nightmare as the Hard and Very Hard modes.
Pick the Right Cleaner
In Back 4 Blood, players can pick one of eight Cleaners. Each Cleaner has unique skills, and sometimes even team-wide buffs. For example, Walker has a 10% Damage Increase for himself, increases the health of the whole team, and gains more accuracy for each Precision Kill (headshots or hitting Ridden weak spots). Then there’s Doc who can heal teammates without items once per level and has 10% more Healing Efficiency.
Because of their different perks, picking the right Cleaner for your preferred playstyle is a must. If you prefer to fight up close and personal, consider Holly who has extra Damage Resistance and recovers Stamina with each kill. If you like hanging back and picking off Ridden with a Sniper Rifle, Jim is a great choice as each Precision Kill increases his damage.
Build a Proper Deck
One unique mechanic in Back 4 Blood is the deck system. Essentially, players can unlock cards as they play the game, with each card having a set of perks. Players can then build a 15-deck card which they use during the Campaign mode. For every level cleared, players can activate one card from their deck to make them stronger.
While there is a Starter Deck to use, make sure to build a 15-card deck as soon as you have unlocked some. It’s important to not just randomly pick cards though; you should check cards that have perks that suit your playstyle. For example, if you want to play as a support or healer, make sure to select cards that enhance Healing and Healing Efficiency. Plus, you should also put the most important cards in your deck at the top, as these will be the cards that you’ll get access to first.
Watch out for Birds
When going through levels, you’ll spot groups of birds. If you see them, make sure not to fire at them or even get close. If you do so, they’ll alert a Horde of Ridden which will make your lives difficult.
If you spot birds, you should go around them so that a Horde of Ridden won’t suddenly attack. But if they’re positioned in such a way that it’s tough to go around them, you can kill them without alerting a Horde by using a Molotov Cocktail (so make sure at least someone from your team brings some).
Prioritize Special Ridden
This tip goes without saying for most zombie game veterans, but if you’re new, you need to keep in mind that Special Ridden must be taken down as soon as they appear, and they can appear quite literally from anywhere. These Special Ridden have unique abilities that can wreak havoc on your team if not taken down ASAP, so you always have to be on your toes and call out a special if you spot one.
There is one exception though, and that is the Snitcher. These Ridden will trigger a Horde when aggro’d so it’s better to steer clear of them if you can.
Make sure to use Different Weapons per Player
There are four categories of guns in Back 4 Blood: Pistols/SMGs, Shotguns, Rifles/LMGs, and Snipers. Given that ammo can be quite scarce, it’s important that each member of the team uses a different weapon, so you won’t cannibalize the limited amount of ammo in each level. This is important as you can’t buy ammo until after you finish a level.
One thing to note is that each player can carry all ammo types in their inventory. This means players can share ammo with each other if someone has run out. For example, even if a player has a Shotgun equipped, he/she can still pick up ammo for Pistols, Rifles, and Snipers. He/She can then drop the ammo from the inventory to the ground for a teammate to pick up if they have run out.
Be on the lookout out for Rare Weapons and Items
Speaking of weapons, Back 4 Blood has a rarity system for weapons and items. While you start with weapons with base rarity, you can find rarer weapons as you progress, so make sure to explore to find more powerful weapons as these can be hidden in rooms throughout each level. You can even find rare weapon mods that improve your firearms, so watch out for these.
For most situations, higher rarity weapons are better, especially as rarer weapons have better stats compared to common firearms. Though there are exceptions at times, so make sure to check the stats which pop up when you’re in front of a weapon.
Don’t Forget Team Upgrades
During the start of each level, you can purchase health, ammo, weapons, and items. But one thing you can also purchase is Team Upgrades. These range from giving players an extra Healing Item slot or increasing everyone’s health and/or stamina. As you progress through the later parts of the game, these Upgrades are a must if you are to survive.
One thing to consider about Team Upgrades is that they are quite expensive, and they are bought by one player at a time, meaning players can’t pool their cash to buy one upgrade. So, it’s important to communicate with the team so that the player with extra money is the one to buy an upgrade.
Bonus Tip – Play with Friends!
As Back 4 Blood is a co-op shooter, the best way to play it is with friends. This is because communication is key in this game, especially on higher difficulties. While you should be able to get through Recruit difficulty even with other random players, playing with friends is a must if you want to tackle the game’s higher difficulties.
The good thing about the game is that even if you and your friends don’t play on the same platform, you can still play together thanks to the game’s crossplay support. So if you can, play it with people you know, or at least play it with other players who are willing to play as a team for the best experience.
Back 4 Blood is available October 12, 2021 on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One.