Dead Living Zombies completes Far Cry 5‘s phenomenally disappointing season pass which never even made it to the mediocre highs of the base game. This expansion has some great writing and a premise that could have set it apart from all the other zombie games out there. Instead, Ubisoft settled for spawning in hoards of zombies which are even dumber than the human AI and having us pour bullets into them. It’s bland and unsatisfying.
Dead Living Zombies continues the trend of linking Far Cry 5‘s DLC to the main game by having you play through seven movie pitches from director Guy Marvel as he tries to convince an increasingly exasperated group of actors to accept staring roles. As with Lost on Mars, everything is delivered with the tongue firmly lodged in the cheek, as you’d expect with levels titled The Fast and the Fiendish and Undying Love.
Guy Marvel is regularly laugh-out-loud funny as he talks over the action unfolding on screen. When you stumble across a sewer in the Romeo and Juliet level, Marvel describes it as a romantic hideaway for the two lovers. “They’d do each other here sometimes. A little pokey pokey. How’s that for character building?” It’s immature humor, for sure, but the deadpan reactions from the actors acknowledge the silliness and let you laugh at Marvel, not necessarily with him.
Marvel also controls the environment around you, leading to some of the game’s strongest moments as he instantly changes the weather for better lens flare, switches between night and dark, or decides to blow up a truck. One second you’re holding a machine gun, and then next you’re holding a flamethrower as loads of wolverines charge at you. This mechanic is excellent, however it’s used far too sparingly and when it is desperately needed to spice up the monotonous gameplay. If the entire DLC had been based around this premise, we could have had something special.
Everything else about Dead Living Zombies feels like a cheap asset flip. Enemies spawn in and run at you. That’s about it. The first pitch sets the scene for what you can expect from the remaining six. You’re tasked with killing waves of zombies and destroying the mutation station that keeps spawning them. Then you have to do it again. And again. And again. The second pitch pretends to shake things up a bit. You’re told you’re low on ammo and have to get to the supplies. The level looks set up for some parkour, so you’d be forgiven for thinking you might need to run and avoid the zombies this time. Nope. Just keep killing the waves and destroy mutation stations as you go. Boss battles take the form of a mutated monster, but serve as little more than bullet sponges for you to empty ammo into.
Holding off hoards of zombies can be exciting, but here it is tedious. One section had me standing near a ledge and holding fire for a few minutes while zombies tried to climb up. There was no skill or excitement involved: just hold fire and wait. The zombies weren’t even really climbing the ledge. They were climbing on something invisible about three feet away, making the whole thing look even more ridiculous.
Unlike the other two pieces of DLC, there are no new weapons for you to play with and the ones you do have all feel broken. The zombies twitch around a lot and seemingly have minuscule hitboxes. Bullets constantly fly right through them, even when using a shotgun up close, although occasionally the opposite happens as well when you hit them with shots that clearly missed. You end up just holding fire and vaguely aiming in the direction of the horde, with little in the way of skill required.
Much of the game feels flat out broken, like an amateur mod. The zombies even made me feel a little nauseous at times. Not due to creative design or tense encounters, but because the screen shakes all over the place when zombies are in melee range. Each zombie has about 8.57 limbs which all hit you in quick succession, causing the screen to shake all over the place as you inevitably get stuck in the scenery.
Dead Living Zombies does at least have a cheap price point to go with the low production quality. At $8, it’s the cheapest piece of DLC in the season pass and provides some laughs if you can force your way through it. There is also a high score challenge if you have a high threshold for boredom.
There are no difficulty settings in Dead Living Zombies. It’s not a huge problem although a few hoards feel designed for co-op which is available from the start. If you do die, you have to restart the entire pitch from the beginning. It’s thoroughly depressing to get stuck on some scenery and suffer a cheap death to a boss only to have to go through all the zombie waves once more just to get back to the same place. I didn’t bother to finish the final pitch. A cheap death at the end was too much for my increasingly limited patience to handle.
And so ends a terrible season pass. As with Lost on Mars, the only redeeming quality with Dead Living Zombies is the silly humor. However, this isn’t enough to get through the low-quality zombie hoards or motivate you to pump bullets into mutation stations. At least it’s all over now. I can delete Far Cry 5 from my hard drive and forget about it just like Ubisoft did judging by the effort put into this DLC.