I reviewed the original Back 4 Blood back in October of last year and I really enjoyed it. My major issue was with how the game feels on a controller and I’m happy to say that with the right tweaks it actually doesn’t feel half bad nowadays. Launching its first expansion titled “Tunnels of Terror” is now a good time to hop back in either alone or with friends and clear the lands of the Ridden? Let’s bore down deep and see if this Tunnel is one you should love.
The star of the show here is the Tunnels of Terror expansion. The review code provided to us by the publisher was the Deluxe Edition so I had access to this DLC when it launched. I have seen some annoyance online that these new areas must be accessed from within the current mission layout, but I think it’s a brilliant move. There are a lot of levels in Back 4 Blood, which means matchmaking is already stretched thin at times. Having these new areas be offshoots randomly distributed in existing levels means that it doesn’t add extra stress to the matchmaking system. I primarily played solo for this review though and another improvement to the game from launch was immediately obvious to me. The AI is pretty damned useful now, constantly giving me ammo, healing me, saving me from special Ridden, and being laser-sited death machines in the easier difficulties. Getting back to the expansion, though.
The Tunnels appear to be procedurally generated in what they can contain, including new warped variants on special Ridden, three Skull totems that become a melee weapon and must be carried to the exit, tons of special loot (including an incredibly powerful legendary sniper that I fell in love with), and a dark, sometimes enormous, and truly terrifying set of areas to fight through. To enter a tunnel you need to find its glowing pinkish-purple … butthole? This starts up a timer and ends your current mission, with you beginning an extra tunnel mission and getting to choose another card for your deck. A new mechanic here is holding the interact key to “remove webbing” as the Ridden can run past this disgusting web of viscous fluids but you cannot. It leaves one of your team vulnerable and thankfully the AI at least was good at keeping me safe as I cleared our path.
Outside of that, this DLC is mainly just an excuse to keep playing, and for me, it held up. There are no big story additions just a new type of map with a few new takes on the familiar enemy types. The tunnels themselves are called Ridden Hives and to tackle them you’ll have access to two new cleaners; Sharice & Heng. Heng has a hatchet and is a team buff dedicated to supply items. Sharice has a large axe and can offer the team temporary health and useable armor (when shot off of armored Ridden). The voice acting on these two isn’t annoying, which is a benefit as a few of the main cast are damned unlikable. A bevy of skins, new cards to try and customize your playstyle with, and a free addition is the No Hope difficulty setting for the most seasoned and powerfully setup Cleaners out there.
Another nice touch is that the Ridden Hives are available for everyone as long as one member of a party owns the DLC. There are seven different dungeon layouts available which is matched by seven new legendary weapons (boy that sniper rifle was great).
One Major Change From My Original Review
I absolutely loved playing this game in a way I never did before launch, and that is because I played 95% of my time with this expansion on PC. Back 4 Blood feels “ok” at best on a controller, but it feels amazing with a mouse & keyboard. Being crossplay and play anywhere on Xbox meant my digital deluxe version carried over to the windows store (along with my save). Hopping back and forth between console and pc was a breeze with zero issues and the game can run well on a toaster. My average framerate was well over 200 in my time playing and while I think this DLC is worth it on any Xbox console it goes from a 7 to a 9 on PC. It feels that much better with a mouse for aiming.
I hope they keep working on improving the feel on a controller, as the FOV settings along with tons of new options for just how your controller works allowed me to get it from the always bad feeling of launch to something that was almost good.
The base title is available still on Game Pass for PC and Console, and if either you or a friend purchased this DLC or already have access from a more expensive edition then checking this one out is a no-brainer. Solo it’s pretty damned fun, but with a group, this is still one of the more enjoyable co-op shooters out there. Tunnels of Terror is a great first expansion with a lot of high-quality content and it’s well worth your time and money if the base game ever held your interest.
|Reviewed on||Windows PC & Xbox Series X|
|Available on||Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Playstation 4&5, Windows PC|
|Release Date||April 12th, 2022|
|Developer||Turtle Rock Studios|
|Publisher||Warner Bros. Games|
|Rated||M for Mature|