Dead Island – Bloodbath Arena DLC
Dead Island takes a step into Borderlands country.
Here at PEOWW (bringing you the BLEOWW since NOW) we really hate DLC. We know that our games of the year, Saints Row 3 and Skyrim will be riddled with it, and for some reason, developers seem to think they can get away with any old shit if they whack a few achievements on it. Borderlands still remains the very worst example with the original game being our readership’s game of the year but then seeing it ruined, sullied and spat on by four pieces of DLC that ranged from average to fucking awful.
Prior to this insane November that saw several great games released, Dead Island was definitely the best game we’d played this year. An open-world, zombie survival adventure, it polarised reviewers with now-boycotted idiotcunts like Edge giving it 3/10 and others, including us, going with eight or above. An excellent game with a delicious setting and some real scares, it was a tremendous effort. Even if it needed a post-release patch to iron out several technical and gameplay issues.
Bloodbath Arena is the first chunk of DLC to arrive for the game. Various retailers included a code for it in their special editions, where as people who used other retailers will have to pay 800M$P (a frankly irritating trend in this fucking industry that needs to end, like now). The DLC is basically your bog-standard horde mode, offering the chance to make a last stand against waves of zombies. One of the things we liked about Dead Island was the lack of this sort of shit but immediately you can’t help think this is the kind of thing that could have been on disc from the start.
The DLC supports four cooperative players over Live. I nabbed me a couple of partners and dived into it. A brief cutscene introduces the DLC. The whole thing is a training arena/proving ground for idiot soldiers or something. The lobby area, a large, open industrial-looking room has a storage locker for your gear, a workshop and a merchant. The merchant only sells a few items at a time though and doesn’t adjust to your level. So if you want to bring in a level one character, don’t expect to buy any usable weapons from him until you level-up at least ten or so times. After that you get to go into one of four doors that lead to this piece of DLC’s four arenas.
Starting in Arena A, we played through until Wave 30 before getting bored. The arena, a sort of split-level affair set in a mountain canyon with a thin bridge in the middle, offers little in the way of variety and invariably your best chance for survival is to stay near the bridge and hope that the zombies approach in single-file towards you. That said, even playing with three level 40 to 50 characters, the arena still only threw low level attackers at us until Wave 25 or so, so it’s a bit of an unfulfilling experience. The main game only has six zombie types which isn’t an issue in a big world with lots to do but this DLC brings it sharply into focus and soon gets tedious. The only positives from this experience were that you pick up fucking loads of money in the game and also it will help you level up a bit quicker.
Moving swiftly on, we tried out the other three arenas and unfortunately realised that Arena A was probably the best one. B is a mess of staircases and corridors that baffles both the players and the zombies and ends up being a complete waste of time. You won’t play it more than twice. D is set in a dark outdoors area with no notable features apart from a hut that you can climb on. I’ve left C until last because it is just so fucking ridiculously terrible.
Arena C gives you a hut and some grassland. But this is grass you can’t see over. A few paths aside, the visibility on this map is basically zero and whilst that may be a design choice to somehow make the game scarier, it ends up being irritating and utterly shit. In the end your best bet is to stay in the hut. Indeed that’s the thing with the whole DLC. Just stay in one small part of the already tiny arenas and just swing for the fences. That’s your whole DLC right there. An afternoon’s worth of boredom. If this is a taste of things to come, Techland can literally go fuck themselves. We’ve gone through this bullshit with Borderlands and 2K Games lost a lot of good will from gamers over that DLC debacle. So if Techland and Dead Island want to remain fond memories to gamers, they need to nip this shit in the bud fucking pronto.