Dying Light put a unique spin on the generic “zombie apocalypse” genre. Its release helped Techland redeem themselves after the blunder of Dead Island.
Two years later, it is still one hell of a ride.
But first, here’s some context for those who may not know.
Protagonist Kyle Crane is an operative for the Global Relief Effort. His mission is to track down a rogue operative while undercover in Harran. If you haven’t played the game, that’s all I’ll be saying in terms of the plot. If you really want to know the entirety of the plot without playing the game, use a Google search.
The game utilizes a similar mechanic to Dead Island with its scavenging-based crafting system. Besides that and the zombies, the games are vastly different for the better. Remember earlier when I mentioned how Dying Light had a unique spin to it? Well, that spin was taken straight from Faith’s playbook because there is parkour everywhere.
Parkour is the main method of transportation in the base game. Running and climbing are your best friend and your worst enemy as you try to find escape routes on the fly. A players value and need for parkour are diminished when you get the grappling hook, but since this is an optional tool it’s not any kind of deal breaker.
Nighttime is a force to be reckoned with in Dying Light. Much like it is in the Dead Rising franchise, the infected can turn vicious when the sun goes down. The difference with Dying Light is that a specific class of infected surface, they’re known as Volatiles. Volatiles are unique in that they can get damaged by UV rays, essentially making them nocturnal. If these fast and relentless infected get their hands on you, you better hope you can fight them off or you won’t survive the short 7 minute night cycle.
Now, what makes it so good?
Dying Light is not a new title, it was one of the first games to release back in 2015. Even though that is pretty recent, Dying Light has had to compete with 2 years worth of new games. Competition has been stiff, but the sheer amount of fun you can have and the fact that the game still looks beautiful makes it tough to compete with.
There is a constant feeling of satisfaction that gets dished out throughout your playthrough. Lockpicking the right containers can reward you with epic weapons and upgrades and there’s an incomparable feeling of accomplishment when you finally conquer climbing one of the tallest points in Harran. Being chased at night requires quick thinking and escaping these chases lets you breathe a momentary sigh of relief. If you want to have some real fun, unlock the dropkick ability as soon as possible. Hilarity will ensue.
Basically, what I’m saying is this game is extremely satisfying.
Dying Light has a solid balance of combat, strategy, and suspense to keep you on your toes at all times. You never know when a Viral is going climb that seemingly safe roof that you’re on. The story and the constant fear of getting ripped apart at night have kept me coming back to Dying Light. Every time I return, the gameplay is fresh and is still as fun as ever. When I pop the disk in, I never know what kinds of shenanigans I’ll run into on my next trip to Harran.
There’s a lot more I could say about Dying Light. However, since this game isn’t so cut-and-dry, I’ll have to leave that to you to find out what’s in store. If you like open world games, I highly recommend this title.
[Photo: BagoGames, Techland, Warner Bros.]