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Back 4 Blood tips and tricks: how to beat the campaign on Nightmare difficulty

It's brutal out here on Nightmare mode

Back 4 Blood is finally here, and the campaign is a doozy. Veteran and Nightmare modes pack some punishing difficulty, and many players will struggle to complete the campaign on the higher difficulties (even the Left 4 Dead pros will struggle here). That makes the game extremely rewarding though, so whether you're just getting started or looking to finish the grind, we’re here to help with some Back 4 Blood tips and tricks for Nightmare difficulty. Before you get stuck in though, you should learn how to unlock cleaners in Back 4 Blood, so that you can choose the character that's right for you.

Take advantage of the roguelite design

The biggest key to avoiding frustration with Back 4 Blood’s difficulty is understanding how its design differs from Left 4 Dead. You aren’t meant to beat this campaign on Veteran or higher difficulty on your first try, even if you’re the most grizzled of Left 4 Dead veterans. Back 4 Blood uses a deck building system, similar to what you’d see in many roguelite games. The first time you face the campaign, and particularly the much more difficult second half, you’re likely to run into trouble. The default, prebuilt deck will only get you so far. You'll need the best cards if you want to survive until the end.

Thankfully, you can use Supply Lines to unlock more cards and build better decks. After that, you can restart the campaign from the last level you reached with a fresh set of continues and an improved deck. Push as far as you can, upgrade your deck, and go again. Eventually, you’ll make it to the end of the campaign, unless you get dealt a particularly brutal Corruption Card.

The game doesn’t fully explain this system, at least in the open beta, so check out our guide to Supply Lines and deck building in Back 4 Blood to get a feel for the concept.

Pick the right team

Another key difference from Left 4 Dead is the character system. Back 4 Blood’s cast has more than just witty quips up their sleeves. Each character brings unique abilities to the table to help themselves and their team. For example, Walker increases everyone's health, whilst Evangelo and Holly increase team speed and stamina respectively. Every character is solid, and you can play to their strengths through deck building. However, on Nightmare difficulty, you’re going to need the best team you can get. We’ve got a guide to the best characters in Back 4 Blood to help you and your team stay alive.

Fighting enemies in Back 4 Blood
Image credit: Image provided by Turtle Rock Studios

Understanding weapon attachments

More Left 4 Dead differences! Back 4 Blood has more complicated weapons, which include attachment slots you can modify over the course of a campaign. Attachments can be purchased at the buy station in each safe house or found over the course of a campaign. Most of these are straightforward and include descriptions of the stats they provide. There are over 30 weapons to choose from, so check out the best weapons in Back 4 Blood if you need help narrowing down the selection.

Some weapons found on the ground will also have broken attachments that have stat penalties instead of bonuses. Keep an eye out for red attachments; these are the broken ones. Unfortunately, you can’t just pop them off either. If you find an attachment for the same slot though, you can replace the damaged part. I’ve seen a lot of players wondering how to remove weapon attachments in Back 4 Blood, and this is the only way right now.

Learn about the special infected in Back 4 Blood

We've mentioned how different Back 4 Blood and Left 4 Dead are, right? Well, here's one aspect in which they are actually very alike. Just like Left 4 Dead, Back 4 Blood is filled with special infected that want to smash, spit at, and generally slap around your team.

One of the best tips we can offer is to try to get familiar with each type of Special Ridden early on in your zombie-slaying adventure, because it really does throw a lot of them your way. Whether you are playing on recruit, veteran, or nightmare difficulty, you can get overwhelmed by a few Tallboys and Hockers very quickly, leaving your team scattered, bruised, and on the brink of death.

Special Ridden stuck to wall waiting to pounce on player in Back 4 Blood, bullet fired towards it on screen

Watch the walls

*Sigh*. This one's caught me out more times than I care to admit. Watch the walls, folks. There are some particularly nasty Ridden that stick to the walls in weird blood-sacs, waiting for you to wander past. When you're nearby, they launch forwards, throw you to the floor, and start swiping.

If a teammate is close, a quick melee attack should be enough to save you. However, if you're alone, which somehow ends up being the case more often than not, then expect a swift death. Zombies will quickly pile around you and add to the damage, leaving you without many options. So, to avoid all of that misery and heartache, please watch the walls. If you see one of these horrors, shoot it before it shoots out at you.

Save some Copper for Medical Cabinets

Scattered throughout Back 4 Blood’s levels (and occasionally even in safehouses) you will find red Medical Cabinets on walls. These are sort of like Half-Life medstations, and are an absolute godsend on higher difficulties. Medical Cabinets heal you for a good chunk of your health, and, even more importantly, reduce your Trauma significantly. Trauma reduces a player’s maximum health, so getting some of your health bar back is massive.

However, Medical Cabinets have only one free use. After that, each player will have to pay 400 copper per use. If you are low on Copper, your team should give the free use to the player with the highest Trauma and lowest maximum health. After the first level though, you should really try to save 400 Copper at the start of each level in case you happen upon a Cabinet.

Pay attention to Corruption Cards

At the start of every level, Back 4 Blood’s AI director draws Corruption Cards that modify the difficulty of the campaign. This is especially impactful in the second half of the campaign, where the Director draws five cards instead of two. It’s a big component of the difficulty, and it’s easy to get caught off-guard if you aren’t paying attention. If you missed an Armored Bruisers draw at the start of a level, you may find yourself dumping ammo into a protected weak spot to little effect. That’s a great way to get crushed and die. Read the Corruption Cards carefully so you know what to expect.

That wraps up our Back 4 Blood tips and tricks, so you should now be ready to take on Nightmare mode and push for completion. It’s a big challenge, but we believe in you. If you're finding it too difficult, try mixing our support builds for Doc and Mom into your team. A bit of healing will go a long way to keeping your crew on their feet. Visit our Back 4 Blood hub for more B4B content!

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Back 4 Blood

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