So, Left 4 Dead. I was pretty skeptical about this game since I remember seeing ads all over de_dust as long as I can remember, but since it was being hailed as the second coming if John Carmack himself, coupled with a hefty $50 price tag ($44.99 if you pre-order now on steam) by both console gamers and uhhh… yeah console gamers. I guess they liked the Orange Box.
The verdict: It's not. Definitely not worth $50, and depending on how much your currency trades at, not worth $75.
It is a very fun game though. I jumped in to single player first to learn the ropes, and good thing that it was only to learn the ropes. It's a shit boring game in single player. Left 4 Dead really shines online though, and especially with friends.
The magical levitating powers of L0ken
The gameplay is streamlined so you won't have a problem having fun online. The health system is great, and all of the guns are well balanced, so it's really up to you how you want to play. Molotovs and pipe bombs are few and far between, but when you get them, they can turn the tide of a fight against the undead. I kinda wish there were more of them, since it would fit with the game's intense style.
It runs like any other Valve game to date: great. If you can run Half-Life 2, you can run this. I maxed it with no problem on my rig from late 2006 (E6600, 2GB PC2-6400, G80 8800GTS 640). It ran so well that I didn't even bother to check the framerate.
On my computer though, it suffers from severe stuttering problems. Sometimes it freezes up every few moments, but other times it runs free of any stutters for a long time (fyi: it's not lag). I'm guessing this is just a bug that only affects a small amount of people, and it'll be ironed out soon enough.
The PC version has no server browser, dropped in favour of some stupid XBL-style matchmaking system. More than once I found myself shooting the laggy undead with comrades from Hawaii or some other location that isn't Australia. I eventually gave up on the system and found a way to open the server browser. Getting into a good game with the server browser is much easier, even if matchmaking does look good on paper. (tip: open the console and type openserverbrowser)
Left 4 Dead is a great multiplayer shooter, fast paced, action-packed, etc. etc. I personally found anything below Expert difficulty too easy, but my votes to change the difficulty settings on many servers were shot down. I guess I'm already settling into the 'guy who always gets #1 on the server' archetype again.