Back 4 BloodThe first expansion is now available and can be played by any group as long as it is owned by one person, adding much-needed new content to the co-op zombie shooter. However, unlike how left 4 Dead was supported by completely new campaigns, tunnels of horror takes a completely different approach, adding more variety to the base game. Whether this decision delights or disappoints depends on how often you play the shooter, but it certainly improves on an already solid base game.
A big addition are the named Terror Tunnels, which can be found randomly in the regular levels that come with Ridden Hives. You might be wondering why you want to enter a tunnel filled with Ridden, and that’s a very valid question. The answer is that there are some incredibly great gear out there that will either speed up an early game or get the team ready just before the final boss encounter. Due to the game limiting the number of retries, there is an interesting risk reward mechanic depending on whether or not you want to participate in these new levels at all.
If you go into the tunnels, you’ll find a rather similar-looking maze that looks hideous, but is perfect for those killer mutations. All in all, there are seven different Ridden Hives you can hit, and there are chances of escaping or going even further if you want to double down on trying to get good gear. There is also a fun melee weapon called the Skull Totem that can be found and traded for new cosmetics, though it’s a bit of a bummer that you can’t hit Ridden with a giant skull on a stick outside of these tunnels.
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If there’s anything negative about Ridden Hives, it’s that they can add controversy to the campaign progression. I’ve played a few matches where some players wanted to visit every Ridden Hive they saw, while others wanted to just move through the campaign as they already had pretty good weapons. This creates a strange tug-of-war as all four players must agree for a decision to be made, which results in who will live the longest to force a move into their chosen area, or if the stubbornness subsides and the players find a compromise. While the four-player nature of the game might make it difficult to vote, it would make more sense if the leader of the group could break this stalemate. The deciding vote will not only solve this problem, but also add drama to the team dynamics.
The three new Ridden enemy types, called Warped Ridden, are more significant additions as they can be found both in and out of tunnels. The Hedgehog is a fiendishly annoying enemy to deal with, as the enemy can plant landmines into the ground and does so in such a way that players have to watch their steps while fighting him. Meanwhile, a Riker-type Ridden named Shredder has plant-like arms and can close space quickly. Finally, the Ripper is a new type of tall boy who is even bigger and can crush players with his giant arm. All three of the new enemy types are great additions, even if they already fit into established templates, and are fun to beat, even if I’ve come to hate the sight of the hedgehog since I know I’ll clumsily step on its land mines. .
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tunnels of horror also includes two new characters: a cunning survivor named Heng and an ax-wielding firefighter named Sharis. They are the smaller part of the pack and may seem like extras since they don’t appear in cutscenes, the two additions are not without merit. Heng uses his knowledge of preparation to sense nearby secrets such as hive entrances, prepper caches, and attachments, which is very useful to have on a team as he cuts down on aimless searches. Meanwhile, Sharis can create makeshift armor whenever she shoots armor pieces from monsters. Add to that the already buffed injury resistance and she’s a great character for those who want to deal damage to tanks. While neither of these will replace my first choice damage-dealing Walker, they both have clear use cases and can add a whole new dimension to a team.
Back 4 BloodThe first expansion gives players a good reason to reinstall the shooter, but since it’s meant to expand campaign replays rather than offer a whole new experience, it won’t hold the attention of those who have already rebounded before. However, for those who have never stopped playing the Turtle Rock shooter, tunnels of horror is a much needed update and adds another changing element to the playthrough. Let’s hope the two upcoming expansions will feature new campaign acts to explore, as right now the game seems to be complete at a basic level, it just needs more fresh and detailed content in addition to the winning formula already worked out.
As explained in ComingSoon’s review rules, a score of 7 is «Good». A successful entertainment that is worth a try, but it may not be to everyone’s taste.