Whilst there is no doubting it has its flaws, I’ve had a lot of fun with Back 4 Blood since its launch late last year. There’s something cathartic about laying waste to seemingly endless Ridden (the game’s take on zombies), whilst playing in online co-op with three friends adds to the tension and brings a rewarding sense of strategy to the experience. ‘Children of the Worm’ is the game’s second expansion and introduces a bunch of new elements to the game, including a new campaign act to play through, new enemies, new weapons, and an additional character to play as. It’s fun to play through too, and whilst it doesn’t fix some of the existing issues of the game, it does add some welcome variety to the experience.
Check out some screenshots down below:
The new campaign act takes place over six chapters as players battle new enemies known as Cultists, who blend together the worst parts of the Ridden and humanity in a variety of deadly ways. Players will explore some cool locations (with a personal favourite being the prison block) on this romp, whilst they’ll also face off in deadly set-pieces that blend together both a Ridden and Cultist threat as players fight for survival. It’ll only take around two hours to play through the new act, but it’s nice to see new story-focused content available after the previous expansion (‘Tunnels of Terror’) was lacking it.
What makes the Cultists such interesting foes is the fact that they bring a human-like threat to the equation. They don’t rely solely on trying to tear you up and eat your flesh (though the Slasher does have Wolverine-like claws that it’ll happily rip you apart with) – instead, they have ranged weaponry and can sneakily take you out from afar. The Crone will bombard you with arrows for example, whilst the Sniper will pick you off with gunshots from a distance. Finally, there’s the Pusflinger, who’ll lob jars of pus your way to attract the Ridden to your location (clue is in the name, really). Whilst the Cultists don’t necessarily re-invent the gameplay loop too much, they do give players an additional danger to think about where they’ve got to carefully consider their position and tactically take out foes that’ll threaten them without relying on being up-close. But hey, at least you’ll get to use their weapons too, with the likes of a bow, bear trap, smoke grenade, and those aforementioned claws available as part of your arsenal.
“[The Cultists] don’t rely solely on trying to tear you up and eat your flesh (though the Slasher does have Wolverine-like claws that it’ll happily rip you apart with) – instead, they have ranged weaponry and can sneakily take you out from afar.”
One addition in the new act that I’m a bit unsure of are the Duffle Bags, which essentially act as loot boxes which players can find in levels. If you manage to get these back to the safehouse at the end of a chapter, you’ll get the chance to unlock something new, whether that’s a cosmetic item or a new card to alter the game mechanics. The problem is, you can ONLY earn these new items via the Duffle Bag, which means there’s an element of luck in place given that the reward is random. Whilst Supply Points have been spent to purchase exactly what you wanted previously, those hoping to unlock all of the new goodies included as part of the expansion will have to hope they strike it lucky. It was a bit annoying and means players will have to do repeat playthroughs just to have a CHANCE of getting a card they might be after.
The new character included in ‘Children of the Worm’ is Prophet Dan, a gruff Irishman who previously had a cult of followers in his midst. Things have gone a bit pear-shaped for him following an attack though, so he’s found himself stumbling upon Fort Hope looking for help. Oh, and he has a killer moustache, which is something EVERYONE needs in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.
His main ability is Divine Intervention, which grants the party a random power-up whenever an incapacitated member is revived. These range from granting players full health or a damage boost to rewarding the party with an extra life or spawning a bunch of live grenades, so there’s definitely a sense of unpredictability that can prove quite chaotic. I’ll admit, there were plenty of occasions during my playthrough that Prophet Dan was super useful, so I think he’ll certainly prove popular amongst the player base who might be looking for that extra boost in dire circumstances. He also has increased stats when his allies are incapacitated and knockback immunity when reviving, making him an invaluable teammate when the going gets tough.
Check out some screenshots down below:
I’ve really enjoyed playing through the ‘Children of the Worm’ content and it has been fun to have a reason to bounce back into Back 4 Blood after not playing it for a while, though it did remind me of some of the issues that previously existed in the game. Some of the mission objectives could feel a little bit repetitive, for example, whilst the special Ridden could feel unnecessarily overwhelming at times and bring some nasty difficulty spikes to missions. I also found myself stuck in a wall on one occasion which meant my allies couldn’t complete the mission, so it shows that some of the glitches that existed before are still present. Back 4 Blood was never perfect and ‘Children of the Worm’ hasn’t changed that, even IF I had a good time with it.
Back 4 Blood: Children of the Worm Review
‘Children of the Worm’ is a fun expansion for Back 4 Blood that adds an enjoyable and fresh campaign act to play through as well as new enemies that shake things up. Prophet Dan makes for an invaluable member to the team thanks to his abilities, whilst the new weapons are really satisfying to use (especially the claws that’ll let players rip the Ridden to shreds Wolverine-style).
I’d be lying if I said it fixed any of the issues players might have had with the game in the past and it would have been nicer if the new campaign act was a little bit longer, but ‘Children of the Worm’ still feels like a worthwhile addition to Back 4 Blood that has certainly reignited my interest in the game.
Developer: Turtle Rock Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros. Games
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC