Arriving some nine months after the launch of Dying Light 2, its first expansion Bloody Ties invites you to take part in a brutal bloodsport.
When a stranger contacts you and informs you of a new threat to Villedor, you soon find yourself making new friends and perhaps gaining some fans, too. It all begins at local try-outs for a violent tournament where those who know how to fight and keep on their toes can win big. With the help of hopeful competitor Ciro you initially impress, but after a run-in with the imposing Skullface you realise getting to the bottom of the whole set-up isn’t going to be easy.
Unfortunately, while the story found within Dying Light 2: Bloody Ties is multi-faceted, with you working to both find out the secrets of the organisation that runs the tournament and manage a troubled father-son relationship, it never gets more than mildly interesting. You might begin to care a little for some of its characters, but ultimately it’s very much a side excursion with little in the way of stakes.
What Dying Light 2: Bloody Ties does offer that’s pretty engrossing, however, is a series of challenges that will test your combat and parkour skills like never before. Eventually you’ll find yourself at Carnage Hall, a new location where you quickly become the main attraction. In a bid to become number one and progress the story you’ll need to take part in a range of events, and they can be wildly entertaining.
Spectacle events put you in themed environments and task you with completing a range of objectives against the clock, for example. Rush events challenge you to race through a number of checkpoints while under threat from infected and other hazards. And then there are one-on-one battles against powerful freaks. To keep things fair, you’ll be provided with a loadout for all events, so you can’t rely on your overpowered gear or wealth of med kits.
While the events being timed can be a real pain, and the occasional troublesome bug, it’s easy to get drawn into making a name for yourself, as well as earning rewards along the way. Completing all the events on offer will take a considerable amount of time – and skill – but you’ll earn tokens along the way that can then be exchanged for a wealth of gear items and cosmetics. You can take a chance on weapons of varying qualities, for example, buy some freaky masks, or acquire a snazzy new outfit.
While the tournament is the main focus here, Dying Light 2: Bloody Ties adds in some side-quests, too. All in all, it’s a fairly meaty expansion that fans of the game will probably want to dig into. Some will no doubt be disappointed that it largely forces you to use the gear provided to you rather than your own that you’ve worked so hard to acquire, though. That, and the fact that the gear you acquire in this expansion looks cool, but stat-wise isn’t impressive at all.
Bloody Ties isn’t likely to wow you in any way. As DLC goes, it’s very much inessential. But for just £7.99/$9.99, those wanting an excuse to return to Dying Light 2 might at least find it entertaining. The challenges will test your skills, while the cosmetics will allow you to further make Aiden your own. It’s just a shame that it very much feels like an extended side-quest, and that your hard-earned equipment is mostly rendered useless.