Title: Dying Light Bozak Horde
Version Tested: Xbox One
Where To Buy: Steam, Xbox Live, PSN, Local Retailer
Dying Light elegantly combined the genres of survival horror and free running parkour and this culminated in Techland creating one of my favorite games of 2015. The first DLC expansion for the surprise hit is named the Bozak Horde and the premise here is significantly different from anything witnessed in the standalone game. Unfortunately, the lack of narrative and the scarce amount of varied content makes this well-constructed expansion fall short from being a great addition to Dying Light.
The first issue I had with the expansion is that there was a lack of players online. The Bozak Horde expansion is a challenging endeavor and having companions to assist you is immensely beneficial. I managed to play with friends just once and it undeniably made the missions easier. That being said, you can play the Bozak Horde as a lone survivor (you are warned before accepting the mission that this will be difficult) or you can wait until the Dying Light Enhanced Edition releases in February where I’m sure there will be a larger active community.
The Bozak Horde is reminiscent of The Running Man or The Hunger Games. You are captured by a crazed psychopath named Bozak, fitted with an ankle explosive and then your survival is determined by your performance in the stadium. The entirety of the DLC takes place within the confines of the derelict sports arena. How Bozak has found the time in a zombie apocalypse to construct a survival obstacle course is unexplained but he did an impressive job. The level design here is brilliant. The free-running aspect of Dying Light was a strong point and you will find yourself utilizing those abilities here. You will be jumping between platforms, scaling scaffolding and swinging between lighting fixtures. There is a great use of verticality too and you will often find yourself aloft an impending doom far below. The intelligent level design grants you freedom with your exploration and sometimes taking a risky diversion can save you precious seconds or result in an easy dinner for the pests beneath you.
Bozak will grant you your freedom if you complete the tasks that he asks of you. Every challenge here is time-based so you have to use intuition to quickly scale the obstacle courses and complete objectives. These tasks can range from defusing bombs to killing all the Virals in a specified area. These missions are not easily done! Having accomplices really helps as you can distribute orders and this survival game soon becomes a tactical undertaking. You can complete these tasks on your own but expect to die… a lot.
The timer which is constantly ticking becomes as much as a threat as the zombie hordes surrounding you. The time allotted by Bozak is certainly not generous and when the countdown reaches the dreaded 20-second mark, a deadly beep caused me to make more mistakes than I would have liked. It differs significantly from the main game where you can allow yourself to be patient; you do not have that luxury here.
The developers have put a great deal of thought into creating these meticulous and intimidating structures but not as much time was spent infusing the DLC into the overarching narrative. You start the Bozak Horde by accepting the mission at your home base and there is never any backstory given to how Bozak abducted you or even why he is doing this. The slightly ironic aspect about the whole expansion is that if you fail any of the missions given to you, the explosive attached to you will explode, however, you can leave the stadium at any time, explore the world of Harran and then return whenever you feel like it.
I completed all of the challenges within a couple of hours but you could absolutely finish it quicker. If you have fellow runners helping you, this could coolly be completed within an hour. Once the DLC has concluded you are granted with dockets, which can be spent in the main game for new gear, and given the elusive Bozak Bow. You can reattempt any of the levels to complete them in record time and an online leader board may give you the motivation to do that. Replaying the DLC will benefit you as you gather tons of experience here, particularly in agility, and these points all transfer over to the main game.
I applaud the developers for trying something new with the first DLC for Dying Light. The concept and execution of the expansion are great but the lack of integration into the world I had spent 25+ hours with previously is a little disappointing. My most memorable moments within the main campaign was executing perfectly timed jumps and taking daring dives onto lower rooftops and there is an abundance of that within the Bozak Horde. If you can get some friends together you will have a great time here and hopefully, with a resurgence of Dying Light players in February, that opportunity may be possible.
- Gameplay: Free Running and Zombie Slaying
- Graphics: Well Designed Areas Within A Derelict Stadium
- Sound: Zombies, Guns, and Death
- Presentation: Consistent With The Standard Of Dying Light
- Great Level Design
- New Gameplay
- Tense Timed Missions
- No Narrative
- Short Duration
- High Difficulty
- Unsatisfying Ending