Left 4 Dead

Common Sense Media says

Combines multiplayer shooter with gory survival-horror.

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

You play as one of four survivors of a Zombie attack, and have to fight for your life. If you play the multiplayer mode, part of the gameplay involves getting help from other online players who can heal you.

Violence

Similar to many other first-person shooter, this game features ample amounts of violence, blood, and gore. Players work together to take on wave after wave of zombies and other creatures with more than 10 different kinds of weapons, such as shotguns, machine guns, Molotov cocktails, and hand grenades. Body parts, such as heads and arms, can be blown off, as the undead enemies scream in pain. Blood can be seen splattering on the walls or floors.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

No "F" word, but players can hear "s--t," "damn" and "goddamn."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this game contains graphic violence and gore not suitable for young players. It is a first-person shooter in which the player is fighting zombies and other mutated creatures. Gamers can blow off enemy heads and limbs using a variety of weapons and see blood-splattered or streaked floors and walls. Characters will utter profanity.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

We've seen "survival horror" video games, pitting man against deadly creatures in scary environments, and we've seen multiplayer-focused first-person shooters with an emphasis on co-op play. Now there's LEFT 4 DEAD, a new zombie thriller that combines both genres into an intense – yet mature – action experience. Published by Valve, the creators of Half Life and Counter-Strike, comes this modern-day survival horror game that challenges four "survivors" to stay alive despite attacks by hordes of the undead and mutated creatures. By working together and coordinating efforts, players will traipse through dangerous locations – such as a subway tunnel, countryside, airport, loading dock and hospital – and will need to help each other to stay alive (example: only a teammate can help another survivor if taken down by a zombie). Players can also heal each other and save their progress at safehouse spots and rescue points.

The main game is divided into four scenarios, each lasting about 60 to 90 minutes or so, but the time it'll take depends on how the survivors -- the attractive Zoey, a biker Francis, an army vet Bill and an average guy Louis-- tackle the level as a few alternate routes and objectives can extend the adventure. While this doesn't sound like a long game, gamers can play Left 4 Dead solo, with artificial intelligence (A.I.) handling the other survivors (called 'bots), or better yet, with 2 or 3 other online players for both the PC and Xbox 360 versions of the game. In fact, playing with real people is preferred as you can better strategize and work together instead of the A.I. teammates merely following your lead (and if you're hurt, you can't request to change formation with 'bots as you can with human players). Zombies can move slowly, like Night of the Living Dead, or quickly, a la 28 Weeks Later. Then there's creeps like The Smoker with its frog-like tongue that can strangle those out to harm it.

 

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Left 4 Dead will surely satiate fans of co-op shooters, such as Counter-Strike, Call of Duty and Halo 3, with its cooperative multiplayer modes, as well as provide some creepy moments for those who are into "survival horror" games. A co-op focused game isn't for everyone, but Left 4 Dead certainly succeeds in trying something new with this hybrid thriller.

For those wanting to give the online co-op play a try, consider the single player experience as a practice round. Another plus is that other game modes exist, too, along with nearly two-dozen maps, such as a "Versus" option that allows gamers to assume role of a "Boss Infected" enemy instead of a human survivor, which proves to be a fun alternative if you have some friends who are up for it.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about genre fusing. Does a game like Left 4 Dead successfully combine two different genres to create an all-new experience? Or should game makers only stick to one genre and make it as good as possible? Also, would this game be as effective with considerably less violence and gore or is it very much part of the appeal (and thrill)?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, Windows
Price:$44.99 - $54.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Valve
Release date:November 17, 2008
Genre:Survival Horror
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language (Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Left 4 Dead was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 11 and 12 year old Written byjustdoitman May 14, 2009
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

ESRB is off the mark with this one.

I have two sons. One is almost 13, and the other is 11. Now, the thing is, both of them can play this game. I bought it for them. I see nothing wrong with either of them. They know that the game is fictional, and none of them have scary nightmares or anything. I even play with them sometimes. Left 4 Dead is just a teamwork game. It stresses on the fact that if you play just for yourself you won't survive.

This is different from many shooters in the fact that you aren't shooting real people, but zombies. Although this may seem pointless, it is a game just for fun. This is also another reason I bought it for my kids.

So this is what I think. If your kid is able to handle any T or M shooter, and you've bought one of them for the kid, buy this game. It's a GREAT game, and it is good, I believe, for children 11 and up.

Of course, if your kid walks around the house as if he has a gun, and makes references to video games all the time, you don't want to buy him this game. Actually, you don't want to buy him any shooting games, because that can ruin him. But if your son/daughter is normal and knows that the game is fictional, buy it. It's not even a scary game, at all. Even for my kids. When a zombie comes right to their face, they don't flinch at all. And these are kids who were afraid of Scooby-Doo Vampire movies at age 8.

Trust me, get this for your kids. They'll love you for it.

Teen, 14 years old Written byTsukasa March 30, 2009
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

LOW VIOLENCE MODE

First, this is a brilliant, co-op shooter. this is great to play in groups
yes i will ahve to admit, the dismemberment and blood would be a bit much, for children under 12 that is. the actual game play is quite tame, i was playing worse when i was 11 and I saw more violence on the tv back then.

the thing this website failed to inform you about is the games "low violence" mode, it reduces the blood and dissables the dismemberment, turning it into a very tame shooter.
Link from developers website: https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=5402-YUJX-7271

This is a brilliant game and the rating the website has given it should, must be reconsidered using the low violence mode. and perhaps reviewed by a actual gamer?

Adult Written bygamenerd323 October 21, 2009
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Great for teens

Despite the gore and violence, this is a great game, it's easy, it's fun and it's addictive. I would recommend this for 14+. It's fun but violent.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great role models

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families