Naturally when you create stuff in the survival horror/zombie genre, around the time of Halloween is always a great time to release something, even if it’s just an alpha/beta/anything really. Sadly there’s nothing of that sort quite yet, but I’m getting there.
I thought I’d write out some of the details of the gameplay, and what I’m hoping to achieve alongside this single map.
The first thing I should mention is that this is intended to be a two player coop map – that’s two survivors. This changes a lot of the gameplay dynamics as I’ll explain throughout (in the mean time, I’m calling this style of gameplay Left 2 Die. Catchy, eh?). Also to be noted is that weapons and the infected will be changed, in terms of their damage/ammo and health respectively. The default movement speed has also been changed to walking – which means you move significantly slower than the infected, making it ideal to avoid them initially until you have means to kill them.
In itself, Mercy is a complete circle. You start the game at a random location on the map, and then can travel in any direction to explore. The map itself contains all of No Mercy 1 (apartments), as well as a portion of the subways of No Mercy 2. No matter where you start or what direction you go in, you can eventually travel around the entire map – in that it comes to a complete circle eventually (with proper exploration!). Supplies are scattered throughout the map, and for the first several minutes of gameplay you’ll have to do your best to deal with the wandering infected to try and collect as many supplies as possible. You start off with only a single weapon, and all weapon and item spawns are randomly generated – meaning sometimes there will be an item, a weapon, or nothing at all in almost all locations. Also scattered around the map in random locations are witches – which might as well signal a ‘do not enter’ zone when you see one. The random locations of witches can occasionally block your path, forcing you to take a different route or backtrack, wasting precious time. Unless you’ve already got plenty of firepower trying to go toe to toe with the witch is unwise in this mod. This scavenge phase will last quite a few minutes, how long obviously depends on eventual testing and feedback.
Next, the zombies start to get a little more threatening. Storms start up, alarm cars can be triggered, and so on and so forth. At this survival-like stage you need to keep you and your buddy alive, while still moving around replenishing supplies. A lot of the gameplay here is micro stuff, such as defending against a hunter/smoker combo with only two players, and so on. This stage is the bulk of the map experience, but the climax is of course right afterwards. One thing to keep in mind – it’s not a constant horde and isn’t like actual survival. It does however feel like the zombies have started to sniff you out and find you, coming in small groups along with special infected.
The final stage of the experience, is of course the finale. No, it’s of course not a standard Left 4 Dead finale. Throw in a tank and an escape helicopter to this mix and things can get pretty tough. Ideally you’ve got some spare supplies to deal with the zombies, tank(s?) and make it to the escape helicopter. Does that mean you can just camp out near the escape and then quickly rush to the end?
Of course not. I wouldn’t let it be that easy, would I? I’m not going to spoil that surprise just yet.