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Competitive zombie hunt Dying Light: Bad Blood drop-kicks into early access

Dying Light: Bad Blood is an odd beast – a volatile mutation, split from Techland’s excellent zombie survival sandbox Dying Light. Twelve players roam the infested city of Harran, hunting for blood samples from pulsating zombie hives. Whoever fills up first gets a ride out of town. Competitive aspect and cringeworthy “brutal royale” designation aside, it looks very much like Dying Light, with familiar environments, enemies and weaponry. A curious choice for a spinoff, Bad Blood will be free-to-play later but early access costs money. Below, a parkour-heavy launch trailer.

Despite invoking the all-consuming zeitgeist beast that is the battle royale genre, Bad Blood bears little resemblance. It reminds me of Dying Light’s own asymmetrical multiplayer where one player was a mutant super-zombie, while another player was out hunting for hives. That and perhaps the hybrid PvE/PvP Dark Zone from The Division. For the most part, Bad Blood looks to play like Dying Light, player scavenging gear from houses, completing objectives and levelling up. As well as the usual zombies and mutant monsters there’s even human NPC foes to fight and loot.

After watching a bit of it streamed, it seems the (arguably overpowered) grappling hook is absent but all your other movement tricks from Dying Light are fully intact. This is still a game about fast parkour-style movement through a complex environment, getting from A to B and evading enemies with agility above all. Ranged weapons seem rare and guns seem rarer still, so most fights are resolved through close combat. It really is just Dying Light but with twelve players competing instead of four cooperating. Strange that this is a standalone game instead of DLC but there you go.

By the time it fully launches in an estimated 4-6 months, Techland hope to add more game modes, at least one more map (possibly Old Town from Dying Light?) and tune balance further. It appears that purchasable and reward items are merely cosmetic, so unless you’re raring to go right now, there doesn’t seem much reason not to wait until the final release.

Dying Light: Bad Blood is in early access on Steam now. It will be free-to-play at launch but buying in early (£15.49/€20/$20) gets you a bundle of cosmetic ‘founders’ skins.

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