More bear traps than you’ll know what to do with
Back 4 Blood‘s latest DLC, The Children of The Worm, didn’t just bring new enemies. It brought new weapons, locations, cards, and zombie-killing mechanics to the party.
The Children of The Worm DLC hints at a much larger story in the world of Back 4 Blood, with a whole new faction of humans who worship and fight alongside the Ridden. But it delivers on none of it. It’s wildly disappointing in terms of lore, story, or original content. And the fact that it took Turtle Rock Studios almost an entire year to release it is more than a letdown; it’s appalling.
But what The Children of The Worm DLC does well is adding more gameplay to Back 4 Blood. The new enemies brought in with the DLC can populate any map in the campaign, there’s a whole new Act for players to attempt, and there’s a slew of new accessories to experiment with.
In Act 5, the new Act brought in with Children of The Worm; players will undertake a rescue mission that brings them to Kenosha County Prison. This prison is the home base for a breed of humans who’ve decided to worship and commune with the devil worms. This form of worship has allowed them to assimilate with the devil worms; now, they have mutated powers and retain their human consciousness.
Which is a bad thing for the Cleaners of Fort Hope.
In the opening cutscene for the Act, players are treated to pictures of a hooded figure leading the cult of worm worshippers. It shows a cathedral of bodies and an altar of blood and seems to foreshadow a big showdown between the heroes of Fort Hope and the Children of The Worm.
Too bad none of that comes to pass.
What does come to pass are four new human-worm hybrid enemies for players to put out of their misery.
The Slasher is the heavy attack class for the Children of The Worm. He moves slowly and can’t dodge very well. But he packs a punch and wears armor over most of his body. He carries claws in each hand that he’ll use to stack bleed damage on you, which takes a hefty toll on your health. He has a leaping attack that can close distances quickly, so ensure you’ve got plenty of space between you and him. Also, shoot for his head; his armor can eat through your bullets before you damage him.
The Pussflinger is like a Reeker but in human form. He tosses what amounts to the same kind of bile that a Reeker pukes at you; he just keeps them in neat little jars. Thankfully, you can usually hear a Pussflinger coming from a mile away because they talk the most of any Children of The Worm, they have a maniacal laugh that is impossible to miss, and they’re always shouting something at you. You can also dodge their puss jars easily enough. They don’t have armor, so just put them down quickly.
The Crone almost isn’t worth our time. We’ve never been damaged by her, so we’re not sure what threat she’s supposed to pose. The Crone is like an evil, mutated Katniss Everdeen. She carries a bow that fires flaming arrows. We assume it does decent damage, but the Crone advertises herself as much as the Pussflinger does, and she just stands right in the open while aiming her bow. She’s hard to miss. She’s not even a moving target. No armor to speak of and the second lowest health of any Worm Child.
The Sniper can be a bit of a problem at the worst of times if you’re not careful. The problem with snipers is that there’s never one; there are always other enemies closer at hand, and they do a lot of damage. The good thing is that there are audio cues whenever a sniper is active and whenever they’ve got a fix on you, so you can be aware of what is happening. Also, they die in one shot. Pretty sure you could throw a rock at them, and they’d call it quits. Use cover, and I mean full cover. There’s never just one sniper, so even if you’re covered from the sniper you’re aiming at, chances are good a few more are aiming at you.
Experimental combat technology
For some players, the new cards are the most exciting new content in Children of The Worm. While the DLC brought some cards that bring fun and powerful perks, it’s the cards that replace accessories that bring Back 4 Blood to new heights.
Experimental Stimulants, Ultrasonic Wound Therapy, and Expired T5 are all cards that replace an accessory slot–either quick item, support, or offense–and cost ammo to activate. But all can turn players into soldiers of the future. The most broken card thus far is the Expired T5 card, which emits a cloud around players that deals eight fire damage to every Ridden’s weak spot every second. In other words, when activated, Expired T5 kills every common Ridden in the immediate area (except for charred Ridden) and does hefty fire damage to everything else. And that fire damage can be buffed with cards like Pyromaniac.
Experimental Stimulants was our favorite new card. It made us feel like a paladin casting a damage buff on our team every time we activated it. Experimental Stimulants add 15% damage and 25% reload speed to all teammates within the area. It’s an excellent card for challenging missions where holding your ground is the only way to survive. Activating Experimental Stimulants and having every Cleaner focus their fire is a quick way to eliminate almost any boss you encounter. It was for us.
On top of the experimental cards, there’s Suppressing Fire and Out With A Bang. Suppressing Fire is an excellent card for crowd control, especially when paired with Meat Grinder and a good LMG, and Out With A Bang is yet another way to get some buffs whenever a teammate dies. Couple it with Inspiring Sacrifice, and you’ll be fine even on No Hope difficulty.
Accessorize for death
Each of the weapons carried by the Children of The Worm–the Slasher’s claws, the Pussflinger’s puss, the Crone’s bow, and the Sniper’s Sniper—are all available to use by players throughout the game.
We highly recommend the Slasher’s claws, as they are now the best melee weapon in the game. The Pussflinger’s bile jar will spawn a new horde of Ridden to attack any target, and you can tell which Ridden are bile-spawned by their glowing green eyes.
The Crone’s bow isn’t bad; it does hefty damage from both hip fire and aiming down the sights, and it uses stamina to shoot instead of ammo. But if you can find the Lockjaw Legendary Sniper, you should use it. It bypasses enemy armor and does insane amounts of damage. Very helpful against Breakers, Slashers, or any armored mutations.
But those aren’t the only additions to a Cleaner’s arsenal. Smoke bombs and bear traps will litter the campaign now, and not in a good way. We can’t count how many times we got caught in a bear trap while running through Act 5. It was enough to make us put a dent in our gaming desk. But the bear traps are red, and developers were clever enough to hide most bear traps right on a stain of blood, so they blend in together.
Moral of the story: look out for bear traps. They immobilize you, forcing you to press an escape button while you pry it open. And the entire time you’re trapped, you’re stacking bleed damage. Fun.
Smoke bombs are non-damage grenades that help to conceal Cleaners in a cloud of smoke. It’s a little hard to time properly, but using a smoke bomb correctly can interrupt most mutation’s charges and make ferocious sprinting Ridden stop dead in their tracks. Of course, the smoke doesn’t last long, and if you start shooting or punching enemies, they’ll figure out where you are quick enough. But it can come in handy in a pinch.
While the Children of The Worm DLC isn’t a lousy DLC for Back 4 Blood, it was advertised as so much more. It looked to bring life to a story many gamers thought long dead. It was billed as promising more–more answers to the myriad of questions players had. And while it did bring a ton of new features for gameplay, it clearly fell short of its lofty promises.
We hope the third and final DLC for Back 4 Blood delivers everything we want and more.