Dying Light is Dead Island on a more serious note.
It is very hard to define what exactly Techland wanted to achieve with their latest title, but the end result is a good game. Well made? Not so much, but still worth playing.
As a zombie game fan, this feels less like a zombie game than any other zombie games I have played in the past. For those who have not played Dying Light, it’s an open world first person adventure game with RPG and well-designed parkour elements.
Why do I say that Dying Light is not a well-made game, but still worth playing you may ask? Because the story is uninteresting and as faulty as it can get, the characters are bland, very generic and straight out annoying and the optimisation is faulty. (See our Dying Light performance guide for a dedicated article on this matter).
Dying Light is everything about gameplay, and nothing else.
The story is centered around a main character called Kyle Crane, involved in a virus outbreak in the city of Harran. The outbreak had turned most of the population into aggressive zombies, forcing Herran’s Defense Ministry to quarantine the entire city.
The story develops as you complete the main and side RPG style quests. Usually, the quest sends you out in the open in order to kill and collect a specific item, sabotage different facilities, and turn in the quest at the end.
The name, Dying Light, comes from one of its core mechanics, specifically, the way one choses to approach a mission: one can either attempt to complete quest by day, when the zombies are not aggressive and almost powerless, or by night. The darker it gets, the more powerful the undead become. This mechanic interacts directly with the leveling system of the game.
At the beginning of the article, I mentioned the RPG elements. Unlike classic RPG games, the player gains experience and levels up three different skill categories: Agility, Survivor and Power. Levels are gained for each individual tree by performing actions originating in that respective skill tree. For example, the Agility specialization is leveled up by performing stunts, climbing buildings and performing parkour moves around the city. The “Power” tree governs what combat moves you are able to improve upon once you invest points in the skill tree and go deeper.
It is worth mentioning that not all skill sets gain experience and level up at the very same time or at the same pace. The longer you stay on the ground fighting, the faster you can level the “Power tree”.
Would you rather sneak about and travel on the roof tops? Then, your “Agility” skills will develop better.
The parkour moves are a joy to perform. The control is intuitive and responsive and fleeing from zombies when you are surrounded this way is rewarding.
The stunts can also be used in combat in hilarious ways. By developing the power and agility trees, one can pull off original ways to massacre hundreds of zombies.
But you have to be careful tought! At night, the zombies are way stronger and gain the ability to climb rooftops and follow you, but this only opens new means of entertainment.
If you think tossing zombies off the roof is fun, then Dying Light is for you.
The combat at first is stiff and boring. The crafting system is frustrating. Steel bars break too easily and materials are hard to find. But the more you play, the better you become at it.
Later into the game, firearms make their appearance .
The variety of weapons in the game is good enough, but could have been better. So is the upgrading system.
The co-op mode is really fun. Dying Light is ten times more fun with a friend. Up to 4 people are able to join your game and complete quests together. The situations you may end up with are hilarious. Some of them, because of unintentional design faults, others, just because going on killing rampage with friends is fun.
Storming herds of zombies with three other friends, or knocking a weak one to the ground and trampling it under your feet is amazing.
The graphics of dying light are on par with any big game published in 2015. The scenery is rich, the details are plentiful and the city has its own personality. There is a lot to be seen and explored on the map.
I am not a man of the soundtracks, because I am playing most of my games with music off, but I really liked the soundtrack of Dying Light. This comes down ultimately to one’s preference and it’s not much up for debate as long as it’s not upright terrible.
In the end, is Dying Light the game I’ve been waiting for? Well, somewhat. I am not dissatisfied with it, it’s a fun way to spend your time and definitely worth checking out with friends. In my opinion, the story is abysmal and full of clichés. So boring, that I have even stop following.
Dying Light is a good game and all about gameplay. There is a lot to explore and the character progression speed is exactly where it should be. You are gradually introduced to the skill sets, so they do not become overwhelming.
Although it has its faults, I would argue that Techland did a pretty good job with Dying Light. It’s an adventure game in the first place and more often than not, you forget that you are fighting zombies or why you are fighting them. I would say, in the end, that Dying Light is a damn good ass kicking simulator (literally you can kick the zombie’s ass and make them fall over 🙂 )