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Dead Island Bloodbath Arena DLC (Xbox 360) Review

November 30, 2011 | Posted by Todd Vote

Dead Island Bloodbath Arena DLC
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Techland
Genre: First Person Action Horror
Players: 1-4
Rated: M for Mature

The Bloodbath DLC has arrived, adding some new things to Dead Island. We are here to decide if this was worth the wait, and what exactly is on offer here. Let’s get into the sticky gory mess, and try to make something out of the chaos, shall we?

Bloodbath Arena is Survival Mode, inside a survival horror game, plain and simple. From what I gather, it is supposed to take place after the events of the main campaign, though you can access them at anytime through one of the fast travel portals. Which brings the first gripe, gaining access to the Bloodbath Arena shouldn’t be as difficult as it was. Had it not been for the online leaderboard, and one kind fella, I would probably still be searching the menu’s for a way into the arena. For some of us, it has been a couple months since we have played the campaign, and unless you remember there is an actual hub in game for the arena, why would you think to get to the online Bloodbath Arena through the campaign mode? It’s a minor gripe, but you would think you could hop into the Bloodbath Arena right from the main menu.

That minor gripe out of the way, Bloodbath starts with a cut-scene to catch you up on what is going on. You stumble upon a bunker full of military types, who are carrying out final orders to kill all infected. As expected, some of the soldiers have gone off the reservation, so to speak, and think the best way to do this is by having 4 arenas ranging in difficulty from easy to very hard, all cleverly named as arenas A through D.

As I stated, the arenas range in difficulty from easy to very hard. With door A being the easiest. Door A also leads to an arena that is similar to the one you will run across in the campaign mode. It is made up of mountain paths and whatnot. The other doors offer variations in the form of a maze like base, a boggy field, and a swamp at night. Unfortunately, this little bit of creative naming is where it stops.

Once in an arena, you will notice that the enemies are all the same as they are in the campaign. I know this is no different than any other survival mode in any other game, but I at least expected waves where I would face only thugs, or perhaps a wave where you only come up against them nasty bastards that like to explode when you touch them. Perhaps I haven’t made it far enough into any one arena to see something like this. I guess what I am getting at, is that there is nothing new here. The difference between this and the campaign, is that here you are forced to fight off the undead in a confined space instead of all through the streets and many locales of Banoi. That’s not to say that the Bloodbath Arena doesn’t have anything to offer, I’m sure gathering a group of four and going at the arena for a while could be fun, but outside of the instinctively watching one another’s back, things will wear thin pretty quickly. There are no additional elements added here to keep things interesting. For example, Call of Duty offers you points of strategy to employ when you play the zombie modes. The doors you open and path you take all can affect how far you will make it. For Dead Island the sole strategy is run, punch and don’t get surrounded.

One good thing about the Bloodbath Arena is that all money and XP earned can be carried back to the main campaign. Trust me, you can rack up plenty of both in these arenas. It will really come in handy for those of us trying to grind out the last few levels before hitting the level cap.

Each arena, in addition to endless waves of enemies, also offers individual challenges for certain waves. For example, kill ten infected with bladed weapons might net you an XP bonus. The bad part about these here, is that the bonus is pretty miniscule compared to the XP you will earn just by going through the waves and killing everything in sight in whatever way possible. I guess they get points for trying, but it ultimately falls flat.

In addition to the arenas, your download will also get you a new weapon to create, called the brain wave bomb. From what I gather, you have to pick up the blueprint for this inside the Bloodbath Arena, and I have yet to find it. Therefore I am unable to comment on the effectiveness of that weapon.

+ XP and money carry over to main campaign
+ Lots of XP to be earned

– Pretty simple and a bit of a let down compared to other horde/survival modes out there.
– Arenas are pretty bland
– For the long wait we had, there could have been so much more done. Bloodbath Arena seems like it should have been an additional play mode available at launch, not as DLC.

The 411
If you got the Bloodbath Arena code for your pre-order, than there is no reason not to give it a shot. However as a pay DLC, it is pretty thin, especially when compared to other horde/survival modes that are out there. It’s great for grinding out those last few levels you need, but beyond that you would be hard pressed to come back to them. It could be fun with a few friends, but with the DLC releasing so long after the game, it might be tough to put a team together. You have to have your team ready when you enter the arena, others cannot join you once you are in there.

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Todd Vote
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