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A beginner’s guide to Back 4 Blood: How to fight back against the horde

Back 4 Blood pits you and three other players against unending waves of bloodthirsty zombies — and staying alive in this post-apocalyptic world isn’t easy. Featuring a complex Card System and a variety of deadly Special Ridden, there’s no shortage of ways in which the game will test your mettle.

If you’re just getting started with your Back 4 Blood career, here are a few tips and tricks to help you stay alive. From playing as a team and pinging points of interest to using tool kits and conserving bandages, these 11 beginner tips make it easy to reach the next safe house without breaking a sweat.

Further reading

Change your field of view

Hoffman in Back 4 Blood.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Before you jump into the zombie-infested world of Back 4 Blood, you’ll want to take a few minutes to explore its available options and settings. The field-of-view option, in particular, is one you should adjust — regardless of whether you’re playing on PC or console. Increasing your FOV will provide you with a better view of your surroundings and help alert you to any zombie movement in your peripheries. This becomes a huge advantage when you’re being swarmed by dozens of Ridden, as you can easily determine which directions are safe to run toward and which ones you’ll need to put down suppressing fire.

Be smart with your bandages

Bandages and medkits are incredibly scarce, and you’ll need to be strategic with how you use them. If you’re nearing the end of a level, it might be best to hold off on healing your wounds — you’ll often find health stations in safehouses that allow you to replenish your HP at no cost. Keep an eye on your teammates, too, as your bandages might be better served to help a friend whose health is running low.

Stick with your team

Back 4 Blood Cleaners in a group.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Left 4 Dead veterans understand the importance of sticking together, and that holds true in Back 4 Blood. Becoming a lone wolf and venturing out on your own is a recipe for disaster — not only will you be swarmed by opportunistic zombies, but you’ll put the rest of your team in a bad situation as they try to rescue you. Staying together, planning ahead, and moving slowly through each level are the keys to success. If you’re hoping to tackle the game on its highest difficulty, you’ll need to become a master at both slaying zombies and communicating.

Tool kits are more important than you think

Tool kits consume a precious inventory slot in Back 4 Blood, but they’re often worth their weight in gold. These utility items can be used to quickly open locked doors and give you access to otherwise restricted areas of the map. Some of these locations are loaded with high-end weapons, medkits, and boxes of ammo — and unless you or someone in your crew has a tool kit, you’ll be locked out.

Ping everything

Communication is key to your success, and Turtle Rock makes this easy with an intuitive ping system. Not only can you pull up a wheel that gives you a variety of alerts, but you can also aim at any point of interest and press the ping button (assigned to LB, L1, or Q on your respective platform) to highlight specific weapons, Ridden, and more. While you should still be talking with your team and communicating verbally, the ping system is useful for players without mics or to quickly alert everyone to a nearby weapon without disrupting the conversation.

Claim the high ground

A squad of humans looks down at a swarm of Ridden in Back 4 Blood.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Each level in Back 4 Blood is packed full of zombies — and it’s not uncommon to have multiple swarms of enemies rushing toward you and your teammates. In these moments, finding the proper vantage point to survive the onslaught is your top priority. And while barricading your entire team in a small room or hiding around corners might work in some instances, your best bet is to find the high ground. Most of the foes you’ll face off against are surprisingly fleet of foot, but they struggle when it comes to climbing. Because of this, clambering on top of cars, trucks, bookshelves, or any other object will give you a few extra seconds to react as enemies close in on your location.

Master the card system

Shooting an enemy in Back 4 Blood.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Cards offer a unique way to personalize your playstyle. Want to become a melee powerhouse? Load your deck with skills that restore health for melee kills or improve your overall stamina. Prefer to take on the role of a medic? Seek out cards that provide you with better healing abilities or grant an extra life when being revived. Of course, finding the right cards is only half the battle — you’ll also need to figure out the best order to play them. Typically, you’ll want your best cards at the front of the deck and less critical ones at the end. Cards are drawn in the order you slot them, and it only makes sense to draw your favorites as soon as possible.

Test your kit in Solo Mode

Speaking of cards, be sure to take advantage of Solo Mode. This game mode populates your party with bots and removes the ability to earn supply points — but it does unlock every card in the game. Because of this, it’s the perfect place to test new decks and experiment with cards and playstyles you’d otherwise skip.

Don’t forget about melee weapons

Hunters in Back 4 Blood.
WB Games

Shotguns, assault rifles, and LMGs might be the flashiest weapons in Back 4 Blood, but don’t forget about melee weapons. Since ammo is such a prized resource, having a melee weapon in your back pocket gives you the ability to take down enemies without wasting your bullets. Specifically, the machete is excellent for slicing down zombies that get too close and can even be used to carve your way through crowded corridors. Using a melee weapon during less-tense scenarios helps conserve ammo for when a horde rears its ugly head — or when multiple Special Ridden come stumbling around a corner.

Keep enemies away using bash

Even if you’re not a fan of melee weapons, you’ll need to make liberal use of your bash mechanic if you’re hoping to stay alive. This attack can be performed while holding just about every weapon in the game and is perfect for pushing back approaching zombies. It doesn’t deal much damage, but it’ll create some breathing room between you and your enemies that’ll help keep you out of harm’s way. Best of all, you can use the move without interrupting your reload.

Scavenge the entire map

Back 4 Blood Cleaners attacking Retch.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ammo, bandages, powerful weapons, and a variety of other secrets are scattered around every single map in the game. If you find yourself struggling to make it through a difficult section, don’t be afraid to backtrack and search a new area — you’ll often find supply crates or ammo caches tucked away in a dark corner or up a random flight of stairs. Keeping your inventory fully stocked — and finding new weapons — is the best way to stay alive, and scavenging every inch of every map is an easy way to accomplish that goal.

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Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites…
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