PAX West 2018: Thrash Zombies and Players in Dying Light: Bad Blood

The battle royale genre has shot up in popularity recently, with each new one having their own twist on how it should work. Dying Light: Bad Blood is yet another one of those to embrace the idea, but on a much smaller and competitive scale than many others. What started as a fast-paced parkour journey through hacking down zombies and helping people in need has turned into a race to see who can make it out alive. It sounds simple at first, but of course is a lot more challenging in the nitty gritty details.

Fighting zombies this time isn’t enough to survive this time in Dying Light and as every player enters the arena they will be there alongside eleven other players. While zombies are still an active threat, they aren’t the key goal this time around. Scattered around the map are various hives where players must collect samples in order to get a helicopter to come and pick them up. Unfortunately, the helicopter only has room for one person, so even if one person has collected every drop of blood they still have to survive in order to make the cut. Zombies surround their hives to also stop players from gathering the goods, which adds an extra blend of combat and needing to avoid enemies outside of other players.

Combat is similar to the other Dying Light titles, with a strong emphasis on parkour exploration to get around. Every match starts in a training area where players can get a grasp of combat and try out various weapons. Once dropped into the world it’s up to them to find weapons and any other items to defend themselves. Interestingly, the main weapons found tend to lean more towards melee rather than ranged weapons. Even then, bows seem a bit more common than guns at least in the showcased map. This leads to many dangerous up-close fights which can have a lot of back and fourths as players try to get a hit in without dying quickly in order to make it out alive.

One of the nicest aspects of Bad Blood is that despite the small number of players being a bit less common these days for a battle royale scenario, it makes for fast matches to keep things going. Matches go by quickly and after losing players move on to the next without having to watch it finish up in order to dive back in. The longest part of any match will usually just be collecting samples, as it can be a lot of back and fourths between zombies. The area is also large, so running into other players at the beginning is unlikely until exploring around for a bit, giving everyone a chance to start off with supplies and maybe grab a sample or two before they start running into opponents.

The smaller scale of fights in Bad Blood makes for some quick matches that seem quick to pick up to let off some steam. It’s unique enough to allow players the chance to even temporarily work together in order to fight zombies before turning on one another when everything’s clear. Although we’re seeing an increase in these PvP titles, it’s nice to see ones that decide to take it in a unique direction. Zombies are no longer the only enemy and everyone will have to stay on their toes if they want to make it out alive to the end. Early access for Dying Light: Bad Blood is planned to launch this month, with eventual full release for PC, Xbox One and PS4.