Left 4 Dead: Prima's Official Game Guide (Prima Official Game Guides) Paperback – 14 Nov 2008
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One of the things I dislike about the guide are the maps. They are crude, hand drawn maps that show very little detail. For a game guide I expected more detail and I couldn't believe how low tech it was. I understand they were trying to make it seem that the maps were drawn by the characters in the games, but I didn't buy a story book. I bought a game guide to help me become a better player. I can't make out where I am on the maps there. There are no landmarks or visual clues or a way to tell distance, etc. They describe elevation by writing "rooftops" to the side of a drawing of a series of boxes(building).
The info given in the text and explanations throughout the story is good. I did know about the lackluster maps before I bought the book and still bought the book because the rest of the book is good and I was desperate for intel about the game. Go to the Prima web site and you can view a few of the pages and decide for yourself. It's a great game. In the game you don't get time to explore and sightsee especially if you're playing online. If you linger around you can expect to have a horde of zombies bum rushing you before you know it. Players online are running and gunning and if you get left too far behind you'll get attacked by the special infected enemy. They home in on the stragglers.
To sum it up I would recommend you buy the book after you preview the deficient maps at the Prima home site. I like the pictures, story, tips, cautions and information given in the text and charts. You'll appreciate it especially if you're new to the game.
There is very little in the way of story information in this guide. The character bio's are copied almost word for word out of the booklet that comes with the game and in many cases actually contradict the information directly from the developers. The descriptions of the Infected are stylized and somewhat incorrect but they give you something to think about considering Valve doesn't give you anything on them at all.
Now most people couldn't care less about the story. The game is about blowing up zombies, right? Well for that kind of person this guide is not much better. The maps are crude drawings on little pictures of notebook paper with poorly drawn symbols and lines with no detail at all. There are several spots in the guide where giant pictures of Infected bosses or normal infected actually cover up information, leaving you to guess what is hidden behind the picture.
However, its not all bad. The Guide does have one strong point in that it contains a ton of tips for people playing as the Infected in Versus mode. Every chapter will have tips on where best to ambush the survivors and how to do it (or in the case of the two campaigns that aren't available for versus, tips on where the AI Director might spawn special infected and how to avoid them.) The only downside is that the remaining two campaigns will be added to versus in the near future and this guide will offer no information for those maps.
I can honestly say that for an experienced PC or X-Box 360 gamer who has played games like Halo or Team Fortress 2, you'd be better off saving your money. However for a beginner, this guide might actually be of some use for the price.