Parkour enthusiasts and fans of zombie-slaying rejoice! Dying Light has finally arrived on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC after a minor setback with a delay from its 2014 release.
Did Techland Games have enough time from the delay to work out all the weak spots and improve on the mechanics enough for Dying Light to shine on its own as a new IP? Or is Dying Light just a so-so release that doesn’t carry its weight enough to break away from the Dead Island series? Read on for my review on this release!
We’ll start off with the best part of Dying Light, the gameplay. It borrows heavily from Dead Island, of course, that much has been obvious from everything shown about the game before its release. And why wouldn’t it? It is made by the same guys. And as far as the basic gameplay goes from the Dead Island series; they were fun to play and everything worked fine, so not too much needed to be changed there.
What has changed though has been for the better and definitely improved the gameplay mechanics. The addition of the parkour elements has greatly added to the fun. Jumping over zombies, running along the walls of the broken down town with ease, and using these skills to take down zombies in fun and creative ways. It all works well here. Or if you’d rather take the stealth route, you can do that as well and then use your parkour skills to make a quick getaway when needed and feel like a real boss.
On the negative side of such similar gameplay to Dead Island, what also comes along with it is the feeling of much, much repetition. While I enjoyed the hell out of Dead Island, there were definitely times where I felt like I just did the same thing ten times over. While it’s nowhere near as bad in Dying Light there were still a couple of times where I felt that same way. I think the development team knew this would be an issue though, so they did throw in different elements and a lot more areas to explore without any nagging time limit to keep an eye on. So when you do get a bit tired of all the main story stuff, you can just chill out and do your own thing every now and then with no time constraint to hold you back.
On another negative note, the story of Dying Light never really takes off anywhere. It’s decent and easy to follow, but there’s nothing that really stands out from it. Most of the NPCs are bland and just there to give you repetitious missions and odd jobs. Most of the time there’s never really any feeling of your character truly connecting emotionally with any of the other in-game characters. It’s just frequent, silly requests asking you to go about and do simple things here or there. There are a few occasions however where you do get a little emotionally involved with tragic events and stories that take place. But this doesn’t happen too often. Fortunately though in a game like Dying Light where you’re jumping from roof to roof and bashing the skulls of zombies in, there isn’t much need for a great story or deep and thoughtful conversations. You’re not here to care about any of these people; you’re just here for the insane gameplay.
And to make the gameplay even more fun, and add even more positive vibes to this review, you can group up with a team of four just like in Dead Island for some co-op greatness! While it’s still fun as hell even when you’re playing solo, just like in Dead Island this game truly shines when you have a couple buddies to play along with. And if co-op isn’t always to your fancy, you could always join the enemy side and hunt your friends down as one of the undead! You can even join random open multiplayer games to hunt down and torment some strangers online.
The great thing about the multiplayer system in this game is it works just like the solo campaign. Your group is free to do whatever you want. Go through missions, side-quests, or just explore all the different areas and have a blast fooling around with all the enemy zombies. Dying Light is an absolute treat to play online. And like with most games in this genre, your main goal is to level up and rank up those skills. This is completely doable both solo and in group play. So there is no reason to stay solo and neglect the multiplayer fun to be had, unless you simply just want to see how well you can do on your own.
Now on to the visual side of things for Dying Light. The graphics are really well done here. Techland did a tremendous job setting up a great environment and atmosphere to truly capture your attention and engulf you in to the experience. I always loved the atmosphere and tone of the Dead Island series, but Dying Light is truly something special. Especially when the day ends and the night begins in the game. Once the sunlight is gone the zombies have a big advantage over you. And you feel it through the whole night. This is when stealth is key and you’re always checking your surroundings to make sure you have an easy escape route if things get hairy.
All in all, I think Dying Light is a great game and if you’re a fan of the Dead Island games It’s definitely worth a purchase and a play-through. Or Even if you aren’t a fan of this type of genre and might be new to it, I think it’ll still be worth it to experience something new and maybe even find yourself to be a fan of something you never knew. It takes all the positive elements from games like Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, and Dead Rising, and blends them all in to an amazing albeit sometimes repetitive experience.