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Which character to choose in Back 4 Blood

back 4 blood characters fighting a monster
(Image credit: Turtle Rock)

Before you grab a gun and start blasting zombies, you have to choose your Back 4 Blood character. Or rather, your 'Cleaner'. With eight in the game, there’ll be plenty of options to fit your playstyle. Perhaps you’ll find your perfect match in melee expert, Holly, or Army Ranger, Walker. Who knows, it might even be conspiracy theorist, Hoffman.

Who qualifies as the best Cleaner largely depends on your role in the team. Some are true Ridden-killing machines, while others are more focused on keeping the team alive. Here’s an overview of all the Back 4 Blood characters, their abilities, and how to unlock them.

How to unlock Back 4 Blood characters

Before you get to choosing your main, you'll notice once you start the game that only half are available to begin with: Hoffman, Doc, Jim, and Karlee are missing. But if you were keen on choosing them, don't fret.

You'll unlock the four remaining characters once you've finished the first Chapter of Act 1, The Devil's Return while playing online with others. With the four levels included in it done, you'll be treated to a cutscene and, crucially, the missing heroes.

Meet the Back 4 Blood characters

Hoffman

(Image credit: Turtle Rock)
  • Team skill: increases ammo capacity by 10%
  • Chance to find extra ammo through kills.
  • Has an extra Offensive inventory slot.

As running out of ammo is pretty common in Back 4 Blood, Hoffman is almost always useful. Thanks to his first skill, he can easily recover ammo for himself as well as his teammates. He’ll also upgrade everyone’s overall ammo capacity and he can carry an extra Offensive item (like pipe bombs and molotovs). The latter is a lot of fun and super handy if you need some quick kills (and ammo). 

Walker

(Image credit: Turtle Rock)
  • Team skill: +10 increased health.
  • Scoring a precision kill increases his accuracy by 20% for 5 seconds.
  • Damage is increased by 10%.

Walker is one of the best Back 4 Blood characters to pick if you want to show off a high kill count. For starters, he deals higher damage compared to other Cleaners. Furthermore, he gains increased accuracy if you manage to kill Common Infected with headshots or Special Infected by aiming at their weak spots. His team skill isn’t bad either, but may feel a bit superfluous if you already have Doc or Mom on the team. 

Doc

(Image credit: Turtle Rock)
  • Team skill: plus 25% Trauma Resistance.
  • Can heal each ally once per level for 25 HP, using her 'field dressings'.
  • Plus 20% healing efficiency.

Perhaps the name ‘Doc’ gives it away somewhat, but this Back 4 Blood Cleaner is the game’s specialized healer class. Her team skill alone makes her extremely useful, as Trauma Damage (reducing max HP after talking hits) can be a real pain. Doc’s first skill also means she can heal low-health allies even when you’re all out of med kits. 

Mom

(Image credit: Turtle Rock)
  • Team skill: grants one extra life (every ally can be incapacitated one more time).
  • Can instantly revive an incapacitated teammate (once per level).
  • Plus one Support inventory slot.

Let’s not beat around the bush: Mom’s ability to instantly revive a teammate is pretty damn good. It’s only once per level, but it can easily save the team from a domino effect when surrounded by a large Horde. Mom can also carry extra bandages and med kits. In comparison to Doc, Mom’s support role is more focused on bringing downed allies back in the game and less on normal healing. This elderly biker truly shines once the team gets in real trouble.

Holly

(Image credit: Turtle Rock)
  • Team skill: plus 25 Stamina.
  • Recovers 10 Stamina for every Ridden kill.
  • 10% increased Damage Resistance.

If smashing zombie heads with a baseball appeals to you, Holly will be your favorite Back 4 Blood character. While her teammates can easily get overrun in close-quarters combat, Holly just keeps going as long as she lands fatal blows. As such, Holly is the perfect Cleaner to swipe up large groups of Common Infected.

Evangelo

(Image credit: Turtle Rock)
  • Team skill: 5% increased Movement Speed.
  • Can break away from Grabs every 60 seconds.
  • Plus 25% Stamina Regeneration.

Every player who knows the pain of getting grabbed while your teammates are nowhere in sight is probably happy to see Evangelo’s first ability. This highly mobile character can be a true blessing if you plan on joining random teams. However, this reactive first skill is far less useful if you can rely on teamplay. Whether you save yourself from a Grab or depend on a teammate to do so, you’re still going to receive the initial Grab damage. 

Karlee

(Image credit: Turtle Rock)
  • Team skill: plus 25% Use Speed.
  • Is able to sense Hazards.
  • Plus one Quick Inventory slot.

Karlee is blessed with the useful ability to warn the team when approaching a tricky situation. She’ll also make it easier to clear objectives by increasing Use Speed (interaction times such as opening a lock) for the whole team. Finally, Karlee has an extra quick slot, which means she can carry an additional defibrillator to instantly resurrect an ally, or a stun gun to escape a grab. 

Jim

(Image credit: Turtle Rock)
  • Team skill: plus 10% weak spot damage.
  • Precision kills increase his damage by 5%, up to a total of 50%. This effect is lost if Jim takes damage.
  • Plus 25% aim-down-sights (ADS) speed.

As his abilities suggest, Jim is one of the best Back 4 Blood characters if you enjoy sniping. His aim is much faster compared to other characters and he deals higher damage if he lands headshots on Common Infected or weak spot hits on Special Infected. Having Jim on the team will make it a lot easier to take down the particularly intimidating Ridden, especially if others go for the weak spots as well. It probably goes without saying that playing as Jim requires a steady hand.