Way back in (when did I write that) I wrote about how much fun we were having playing Back 4 Blood. That fun didn’t last long, however, and my group gave up on the zombie (sorry, “Ridden”) shooter only a week or two after I published my review. Despite my group falling off of Back 4 Blood so hard, I always wanted to go back and take a look at the game to see if it improved–and getting a Steam Deck along with the latest expansion, Children of the Worm, was a great excuse to get back into the Left 4 Dead-like co-op zombie shooter.
Children of the Worm is Back 4 Blood’s second DLC, and it is much meatier than Tunnels of Terror before it. Children of the Worm is still significantly shorter than the first three acts of base Back 4 Blood, but it does add a few interesting elements that helps flesh out the world of Back 4 Blood as well as make it a tad less generic by adding human antagonists. Now Children of the Worm wouldn’t be the first to implement such a thing, with Dying Light one of the games that come to mind. And ironically, Children of the Worm does feel a bit like Dying Light meets Left 4 Dead in parts–but even so, this newest DLC finally helps Back 4 Blood stand out a bit from its progenitor.
Surprisingly, I had a lot of fun coming back to Back 4 Blood over the last couple of weeks. Some of that was due to my Steam Deck, and Back 4 Blood being a surprisingly great fit. It doesn’t hurt that Back 4 Blood has undoubtedly been given a few more optimization passes which finally makes it run smooth as butter on my 3090 equipped rig as well as on the Steam Deck. But that’s not the only change that I experienced, and those who have been playing Back 4 Blood already know, but the entire way the decks are used have been overhauled. You will start with your entire deck, though you can still find and buy upgrade cards along the way. This changes Back 4 Blood’s roguelike structure, but it’s a change I appreciated.
Unfortunately, I don’t think Children of the Worm is the DLC that will get me and my group playing Back 4 Blood again. And even though its faction of fanatical ridden devotees is a change of pace from Left 4 Dead, it’s another concept that ends up feeling generically plucked from other games. It feels like Turtle Rock Studios left all of its original ideas with Evolve, and I’d much rather go play that game than Back 4 Blood.