If you’ve already covered every length and breadth of Techland’s massive Dying Light 2, the good news is there’s more to see.
The brand new Bloody Ties DLC is now available and it’s the first premium pack of many pieces of content planned for the open world zombie adventure.
But does it add much of value and merit or is it just a little bit more of the same?
How to Play
Once purchased and installed, the content can be accessed from the base game. You just need to have completed the Prologue, and then Aiden will receive a transmission on the radio from a Stranger who will outline the base plot of Bloody Ties. From there, you can access and follow the questline ‘First Blood’.
Bloody Ties gives an impression of itself early on and will probably set immediate expectations in your head of what to expect. Carneige Hall is a place where you fight lots of people, earn rank, renown and reputation, and eventually end up in a head to head battle with its champion.
What you may not be expecting is some of the plot points that happen to get you there, some of the scenes and sequences you get to play a part in, and, indeed, the rounds required to qualify for this carnival of chaos.
It all starts with a call which builds into a fractured relationship that doesn’t seem like it’ll bare much fruit for you, but drives your very purpose for sticking with this sideshow.
You meet Ciro, an ambitious young fighter who claims he’s going to be champion and steals your money to get the entrance fee needed to prove his point. While this may make you want to dropkick the little shit off a rooftop for his trouble, you eventually decide to team up and join the fray together.
But you have no idea what you’re letting yourself into allying with this pup.
As such, it might surprise you to learn this content has some real creativity. There’s emotional layers to its characters, there’s some fun twists and turns and even an ending that might just leave your jaw on the floor.
The same goes for the content, too. While fighting is the core driver in your bid to becoming a champion (or not) you’ll have to take on several qualifying missions to even get you into the Hall.
Some of these vary from taking out set targets in the quickest amount of time possible, to gathering some idols scattered around a dark, enclosed room, avoiding as much danger as you can before being eaten alive.
The opening hour of the content is probably its most frustrating because one or two of these challenges don’t go lightly, no matter what difficulty you’re on and there’s one section in particular where you need to climb up to a rooftop that doesn’t have many obvious leverage points.
I got annoyed quite early at Bloody Ties because it clearly tries to test the player’s resolve as much as Aiden’s and the best content is actually locked away behind an overly padded opening that some people may not even get through.
Make it to Carneige Hall, however, and the game really does open up with some of Dying Light 2’s most creative missions and objectives to date. There’s lots of optional quests to take on as you try to build up rank, and you’ll even have to do a bit of sleuthing and investigating in stealth to uncover certain truths about this house of blood.
There’s lots of characters to meet and figuring out who to trust and who might be an enemy is definitely one of the highlights of Bloody Ties. The one disappointment I did have, though, is how few choices you can make. The base game offers lots of opportunities for pivoting the story in a few different directions, but Bloody Ties is pretty linear for the most part. Which is a shame as there’s a few routes I would have liked the story to explore and a few avenues they could have gone down.
But the real meat here is the challenges as mentioned, and some of these are interesting. In one you’ll have to take down several marked targets within a time limit. Another sees you go on an investigation to find a thief by following their tracks. There’s of course a few obstacle courses to swing and flick through, and even a situation where you have to ‘survive’ a full ambush.
Techland keep the action fresh, no doubt, it’s more a question of whether the content is something players will relish diving into again or if it ties into sections of the game they hated. One thing I will say is Bloody Ties does not go easily on you, so suitably levelling up or refamiliarising yourself with the controls again before diving in is probably advisable.
As a first piece of content goes, though, Bloody Ties does a bit of everything, keeps things interesting for the most part and doesn’t outstay its welcome for too long, bloated opening aside.
Bloody Ties drops you right in at the deep end yet it keeps you waiting for the good bit until an hour or so in. When you do get there, the action stays fresh, different, and oftentimes interesting, and the story has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and invested. It’s a nice mix of everything you’ve seen in Dying Light 2 already, not really pushing boundaries or doing anything new, but still justifying its value and adding even more content to a game already loaded with it.
+ Courses and Qualifiers offer some interesting and sometimes fun challenges
+ A surprisingly well conceived story with some good twists and turns
+ Good spread of everything you’ve come to expect from Dying Light 2
– Bloated opening stutters content pacing
– Story doesn’t offer many choices and is mostly linear
– Nothing really new to see that you haven’t experienced already
Bloody Ties: Dying Light 2 DLC Review
7 out of 10
Tested on Xbox Series X
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