Far Cry 5’s final piece of DLC, the zombies-themed (as the name gives away) Dead Living Zombies is an appropriate end for the game’s run of fresh content. It’s not the best way, or the perfect way- far from it. I say appropriate because it perfectly encapsulates the kind of post-launch content Ubisoft have released for Far Cry 5. Both of its previous DLCs have been fun yet utterly forgettable experiences, lacking many of the strengths of the excellent Far Cry 5 itself, but doubling down on the silliness that the base game, for the most part, veers away from. Dead Living Zombies is exactly like that, but more.
When I reviewed Lost on Mars, the previous DLC, I praised it for its consistently strong humour and for how self-aware it was about every aspect of being complete nonsense, and how it didn’t really care about that. Going along with that, I also criticized it for being a tad shallow, for being repetitive, and for lacking the nuance and mechanical depth that made Far Cry 5 as amazing as it was. And really, those same praises and criticism apply to Dead Living Zombies almost word for word, just in a slightly different context. If you’re looking for some mindless zombie-shooting fun to go along with an unabashed and campy sense of humour backing it up, Dead Living Zombies isn’t going to disappoint you. If you’re looking for a truly amazing piece of content that makes you stop in your tracks, which Ubisoft have been known to deliver in the past (remember Blood Dragon?), you most definitely won’t be satisfied.
“If you’re looking for some mindless zombie-shooting fun to go along with an unabashed and campy sense of humour backing it up, Dead Living Zombies isn’t going to disappoint you. If you’re looking for a truly amazing piece of content that makes you stop in your tracks, which Ubisoft have been known to deliver in the past, you most definitely won’t be satisfied.”
In Dead Living Zombies, amateur filmmaker Guy Marvel, an ancillary NPC from Far Cry 5 that you may or may not remember, is looking to make it big in Hollywood, and as such, he’s going around and pitching ideas for movies to all the bigwigs (or not so bigwigs) he can find. The DLC uses this as a framing device- Guy pitches seven different movies to people, and you play through all seven of these pitches in mission-form. Each pitch, ultimately, involves zombies, explosions, and all the other shenanigans you’d expect a Michael Bay-wannabe to cherish in his ideal movies. It’s a clever idea, and the DLC has some fun with it. There’s near-constant narration, which is at least amusing and downright hilarious on a surprisingly consistent basis (except a few isolated incidents here and there where the jokes don’t really land).
More than that, though, Guy is also constantly changing up scenarios and circumstances in his pitches on the fly on suggestions from the people he’s pitching to, or to somehow integrate a bizarre plot point into his idea. The DLC presents this as sudden changes in the environment, or as objectives that change abruptly, and it keeps things moving nicely. The DLC is very much aware of its ridiculous nature, and it has no qualms with that. It knows that it isn’t taking anything seriously- it doesn’t want to take anything seriously, and there’s something refreshing and very enjoyable about that. While the base game could often let you down by not living up to or not doing justice to the heavy themes it so often hinted at, Living Dead Zombies, just like Lost on Mars, really couldn’t care less about even trying any of that. It’s pure, mindless fun in the most self-aware way possible.
“While the base game could often let you down by not living up to or not doing justice to the heavy themes it so often hinted at, Living Dead Zombies really couldn’t care less about even trying any of that. It’s pure, mindless fun in the most self-aware way possible. “
However, while running around and shooting zombies is, of course, a lot of fun, it’s only a lot of fun at first. Sooner or later, as you play through the entire DLC, it starts getting somewhat repetitive and monotonous. It does, to its credit, try to mix it up by adding vehicular sections, while the aforementioned changing scenarios also help a little bit, not to mention the few different boss battle type encounters you have with some different kinds of zombies- but the issue is that, just like Lost on Mars, Living Dead Zombies does away with most of Far Cry 5’s interwoven mechanics. The base game was inherently varied and consistent on a long-term basis because of its emergent mechanics in an open world environment, and this newest DLC sheds most – if not all – of that stuff. As a result, while it feels like a blast in its initial stages, after a while, it’s mostly just going through the motions. Of course, it never gets repetitive to the point of being dull – mowing down zombies with an assault rifle or blasting them away with a shotgun can’t ever not be fun, after all, at least to some extent – but the repetitiveness does wear on you a little bit.
Thankfully, though, its structure makes it perfect for short sessions of play. Each mission in Living Dead Zombies is at the most ten to fifteen minutes long (twenty if you really stretch it out), so even though the entire experience in its entirety is a bit too shallow and repetitive, it’s structured in a way that those things don’t have to be as much of an issue as they could have been. Once you’re done with all the missions, there’s a score attack mode, while you can also always play through the missions in co-op- so there’s definitely incentive for replaying here. One final area where the DLC disappoints a little bit, though- Living Dead Zombies also could have been more ambitious with its selection of weapons. This was an area where Lost on Mars at least tried to do new things, which made sense given its pulp sci-fi setting on Mars, and Living Dead Zombies could and should have followed suit. The shooting feels solid and weighty because the shooting in Far Cry 5 is inherently solid and weighty, but the weapons selection in Living Dead Zombies can feel a bit too vanilla, especially when viewed in context of the otherwise outlandish and unabashed nature of the rest of the DLC.
“The base game was inherently varied and consistent on a long-term basis because of its emergent mechanics in an open world environment, and this newest DLC sheds most – if not all – of that stuff. As a result, while it feels like a blast in its initial stages, after a while, it’s mostly just going through the motions.”
Living Dead Zombies, then, is pretty much what you would have expected it to be if you’ve played Far Cry 5’s last two DLCs. Just like its two predecessors, this final piece of DLCs for Ubisoft’s massive open world shooter doesn’t really leverage the base game’s biggest strengths, but it provides a unique flavour of experience of its own. It’s a little bit on the shallow side and can be a bit repetitive, but it’s definitely not unenjoyable. Is it a little disappointing that Ubisoft chose to spread themselves thin with three forgettable DLCs instead of giving us one top-notch piece of content? Definitely. But for what it is, Living Dead Zombies is, if nothing else, a good way to mindlessly mow down waves of zombies.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 4.