I pen this Dying Light 2 Bloody Ties Review with great sorrow in my heart. The original Dying Light was a rare hit in an era where developers were pumping out mediocre zombie games one after the other for some easy cash. I instantly fell in love with the fluid gameplay mechanics of the game, especially the seamless parkour, although the story left a lot to be desired. And with a more cohesive plot and branching storylines being the key marketing feature of Dying Light 2, I was beyond stoked.
But unfortunately, when Dying Light 2 launched in early 2022 it completely stumbled over the weight of its own hype and subsequently received a mixed reception. It had glaring flaws in both the story and gameplay departments and utterly failed to live up to its predecessor. With Bloody ties being the title’s first major expansion, Techland aimed to fix most of the base game’s problems and breathe new life into the game, but they failed to do so.
Story And Setting
Dying Light 2’s narrative was one of the weakest parts of the game with a predictable story, mediocre writing, and one-dimensional characters. Although this DLC’s main attraction is the Carnage Hall, which is a combat arena, it still has a cliche story tied to it. The story follows Ciro who is out to avenge his tragedy-struck family. Unfortunately, like most of the characters in the base game, Ciro is a bland and poorly written-character. The main protagonist sympathizes with him, but the game fails to properly introduce or set up the character for me to care about him or his quest for vengeance.
There is also a small area to explore around the Carnage Hall, which is really well-designed and doesn’t really feel limited in space. You can find some notable side quests there which will allow you to venture deeper into this area and explore areas to acquire new weapons and upgrades. Some of these side quests are also linked to the main story of the DLC, so it is better to tackle them before wrapping up the central narrative. Completing each Carnage Hall challenge opens up new sidequests as well.
The story does offer branching paths, but they don’t seem to have a significant impact on the plot. What’s on offer is a meager improvement over the base game’s plot and leaves a lot to be desired. The ending is also abrupt, leaving no follow-up as to what happens next and how the world changes. It left an unpleasant and unfulfilling taste in my mouth, leaving me disappointed yet again. I had to suffer that feeling twice due to having to write our Dying Light 2 Bloody Ties Review.
Carnage Hall is the shining beacon for this expansion, which is an arena mode where you can participate in 16 different replayable challenges to test your skills. These challenges range from facing hordes of zombies and human enemies to completing parkour challenges. In some instances, you are even forced to face off against some unique special foes, which raises the stakes even higher. The arena challenges are timed and these might throw some people off, but I found them to be comparatively better than the base game’s timed challenges. Completing these awards you with tokens that can be spent in the in-game shop to buy different customizations for your outfits and weapons.
Now, these rewards will sound great if you are starting the DLC as a low-level player, but high-level and experienced players should not expect them to be better than something they already have. Even the new weapon introduced does seem unique at first, but its novelty quickly wears off as the modifications available for it are limited in scope and underwhelming.
Despite being the main focus of the DLC, the gameplay, unfortunately, remains the same. The base game had some neat gameplay mechanics with all the parkour, but compared to the original Dying Light it felt lackluster. The physics were underwhelming and the parrying and dodging mechanics felt awkward. These flaws have become more rampant in the DLC as you are continuously thrown into combat. Thus I do not have much praise to give it.
Visuals And Performance
Since most of the game takes place inside the arena, there aren’t many intriguing sights to see at all. If you need a break from the dark environment of the arena, you can head out and explore the small area surrounding it, which can offer some slightly more interesting things to see but not by much. And since most of the assets are carried over from the base game, chances are that nothing here will surprise you at all.
I have no complaints regarding the performance of this game. I tested it on an i7 6700 with a 1060 6GB graphical processor and didn’t run into any performance issues or game-breaking bugs and glitches.
The DLC is a mixed bag, and I would say right off the bat it isn’t for everyone. If you are someone who didn’t enjoy Dying Light 2, then this DLC will surely not change your opinion of the game. The story is lackluster, the characters are dull, and while the first game didn’t excel much in this department either, it had really good gameplay to make up for it.
Unfortunately, the gameplay of Dying Light 2 is a hit-or-miss most of the time and since the prime focus of this DLC is combat, it suffers pretty heavily in the gameplay department too. If you are willing to look past some of the flaws in the gameplay, the arena is a pretty solid addition to the game. It serves as a good escape to blow off some steam after a hard day, slaughtering hordes of zombies and jumping over ledges and rooftops. Completing challenges provides another incentive to progress in the arena, and while the rewards can be lackluster at times, the new unlocked sidequests make up for it.
Summing it all up, I am sad to say that this DLC failed to improve the image of the game. As a fan of the first game in the series, I wanted Dying Light 2 to shine too, but I guess I still need to wait for what Techland has in store further down the line and hope to God that it succeeds where the base game failed.
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Dying Light 2: Bloody Ties Review
- Story And Setting
- Visuals And Performance
Bloody Ties is a mixed bag, and I would say right off the bat it isn’t for everyone. If you are someone who didn’t enjoy Dying Light 2, then this DLC will surely not change your opinion of the game.
- Side Quests
- Arena Challenges
- Mediocre Writing
- Boring Characters
- Abrupt Ending
- Lackluster Weapon Mods