The Royale is, Indeed, BRUTAL
Throughout the past year, I’ve grown fond of multiplayer games featuring elements of battle royale crossed with additional objectives. Notably, I’m a passionate fan of Crytek’s ‘Hunt: Showdown.’ Its fresh take on the general battle royale genre enlightened me to what’s possible to achieve through the ever-evolving mode. Having read the description of Dying Light’s Bad Blood mode, I knew it’d be right up my alley. Thankfully, I got to play two full matches at PAX West 2018 and had a blast in doing so.
In Bad Blood, 12 players enter the match and only 1 escapes. Your goal is to outrun, outsmart, and outfight your opponents as you dash around the map collecting blood samples. Samples are guarded by hives of undead, and it’s up to you to determine how to dispose of them. Once they’re dealt with, collecting samples increases your health and weapon damage. Additionally, various weapons, upgrades, consumables, explosives, and health kits are spread across the map; all of which are scarce. It’s worth exploring every nook and cranny of the favela, as you’ll need all the power you can get to face off against the undead and opposing players during the final showdown.
Melee weapons, throwables, bows, and a few firearms lay at your disposal. During my experience, I wielded a sledgehammer, combat knife, hatchet, machete, throwing knives, and a bow. Each weapon reacts as you’d expect. Heavier weapons are slower and deal more damage, while lighter ones are faster but inflict less. If you’ve played Dying Light, you’re well aware of how well these weapons feel and function. Whether smashing zombie skulls or slashing another player, weapon attacks feel as smooth and satisfying as the parkour. While exploring, I discovered an upgrade that enabled me to electrify my machete. My attacks proceeded to slow enemies as I slashed them to bits.
The most interesting encounters occurred when an enemy player or I attacked each other while dealing with a group of zombies. The chaos that ensues in a PvPvE clash reminds me of what I love about Hunt: Showdown. The same can be said for getting the drop on a player. On more than one occasion I stealthily ended players with my bow while they harvested samples. However, I, too, lost my life twice while grabbing samples of my own. Whether it was death by poison or a frag grenade, I quickly learned that it’s best to mind your surroundings.
Players who manage to collect enough samples are marked as “Hunted.” Being the primary target, they’re directed to an escape helicopter where remaining players converge for a final showdown. Witnessing players utilize the upgrades and weapons they’ve acquired throughout the course of the match is exciting to behold in spite of the hilarious character animations. The last man standing escapes on the helicopter and wallers in the glory of victory.
I had a ton of fun with the two matches I spent running around in Bad Blood. Combat and parkour feel as equally exceptional as the single-player campaign, and Techland’s take on the battle royale genre features a unique spin. It’ll undoubtedly evolve over time, but it’s in a great place as it stands and I encourage all fans of Dying Light and competitive multiplayer games to give it a shot. It’s free to play and hits Steam Early Access this month via The Founder’s Pack. For more on Dying Light, you can check out my 5 Reasons Dying Light 2 is to Die For.