Developed by Techland
Published by Warner Brothers
Ever since The Walking Dead graced out television screens a few years ago, the zombie-loving epidemic has become bigger than ever. With said boom in popularity comes more than just television shows. We’ve seen movies, apparel, and toys, but most importantly we’ve seen a large number of zombie video games hit the market. One such game that’s trying to separate itself from the pack is Dying Light. It’s a first-person zombie survival game starring a man by the name of Kyle Crane. He’s an operative with the GRE that’s been inserted into the quarantined city of Harran to retrieve a file from a rogue GRE agent that may contain the information needed for a cure to the virus. It’s a city separated into two major factions: the survivors in the Tower and the army of the vicious dictator Rais, who is coincidentally the reason why you’re there to begin with.
The big selling point of Dying Light is the parkour-style gameplay. A La Mirror’s Edge it’s the only real way to travel from place to place in a city literally crawling with infected zombies. Unlike Mirror’s Edge though, Dying Light has an open world meaning you can go wherever you want, whenever you want. Luckily for us, the game’s big selling point is also one of its most fun features. There’s nothing more satisfying than working your way through the city and through its less than friendly inhabitants like a giant puzzle to whatever you destination may be. While there are a few annoying bugs, Kyle not grabbing on to ledges when you jump to them namely, none of them are enough to ruin the experience for you. Techland took a page from Skyrim’s book and added in a leveling system that allows you to hone your skills by using them. So if you run more than you fight, your agility skills level faster and vice versa. Once you level your agility to a certain point traveling around is seamless and a blast. You can use zombies as springboards and even swing from building to building like Batman with a grappling hook.
The combat is a lot like Dying Light’s predecessor, Dead Island. Most of your weapons will be of the melee variety while guns and ammo are scarce. Early on I found it extremely difficult to kill even one zombie; not because the zombies were fierce or threatening, but mostly due to the fact they took SO many blows to the head until they finally died. For this very reason I stuck to the rooftops early on and leveled my agility so I could travel around unbothered by any of the lesser zombies in the city. Combat became MUCH less frustrating after I found some better weapons though. One of the most satisfying parts of the game is facing a horde of zombies head on and walking out the other side virtually unharmed.
Dying Light turns into a different game at night though. While during the day you have a free run at the city, at night you’re hunted by zombies known as Volatiles. They’re ultra-zombies that run faster than you, climb buildings, and will chase you until one of two outcomes happens…either you die or get to a safe house. When you first start out I wouldn’t suggest going out too much at night, but the rewards down the road are well worth it. Both agility and strength trait experience is doubled at night time. Just don’t square up and try to fight one without a good escape plan, odds are you won’t win.
I’ve heard a few knocks about Dying Light’s graphics. While I think most of them are extremely nitpicky, there is one gripe that I have. Most of the skins on the zombies are very similar. I swear I’ve killed the same guy at least a hundred times now. Other than that I have extreme confidence in saying that this game is absolutely gorgeous. Down on the streets you don’t really get a firm grasp on how vast Harran really is. Forget that you can go in and loot a large number of the buildings, but once you get to a nice vantage point, prepare to have your breath taken away. You can see almost the entire city from certain points in the game and if it weren’t for the horrifying monsters lurking around, you could put most of these views on a postcard and not even realize it was a video game, not a real place.
Most reviewers will say that the one downfall of Dying Light is the story. While I agree that Dying Light isn’t the Last of Us, I disagree that some reviewers are calling it bland. Early on you do some things as Kyle that you will absolutely hate yourself for. I have a hard time calling any story that can invoke emotion like that bland, even if the plot may be a bit generic. That brings me to my one big wish for Dying Light: I want to be able to make choices and see the repercussions of them. I know, I know, as gamers we’ve been spoiled by games like Mass Effect, but I think Techland really missed an opportunity by not letting gamers turn Kyle into the character that we all want. In a game that’s already huge it would’ve made it twice as big and twice as satisfying.
I’m in love with this game. Jumping from roof to roof and smashing zombies is sickeningly satisfying and I can’t get enough of it. I haven’t found a game since Skyrim that I lose track of time playing, but Dying Light has officially made that exclusive list. If you play this and like it, grab a friend and play the co-op. There’s already so much to do, but even more with a friend. Random events pop up like, “Who can kill the most zombies?” or “Who can find the most loot?” While these aren’t game changers it’s fun to add a little competition into the mix when you and a buddy or three are smashing zombies together. Dying Light as a whole is a largely fun, satisfying game that I would recommend to anyone who loves some good action and some good adventures. Any fans of The Walking Dead and gaming will love it, this guy included!
4 out of 5 nerds