It’s dark! You watched the last bit of sunlight dip beyond the horizon just a few moments ago. Circumstances beyond your control have forced you out, into the city. You take a quick inventory of your supplies; cigarettes, a small knife, a hammer, a pocket full of firecrackers, and two flares. “Flares are good.” you whisper to yourself “I just might survive this.” There’s a safe house close by, but you haven’t taking time to clear out the undead that reside there. The only other safe house is more than a few blocks away, a lengthy run even in the daylight when only a few virals and biters are around. “Oh, No!” You duck behind a retaining wall, your worst nightmare is just on the other side, a volatile.
You can hear the creatures heavy breath just above you. You’re perfectly still, not blinking, holding your breath, waiting. The seconds seem like hours. Will the creature notice you? Is this your last moments on earth? A nearby biter has stopped moving, and is slowly turning toward you from the street. It sees you! With a groan the biter lurches toward you cueing the volatile above that something is amiss. With a loud scream the volatile leaps down landing practically on top of you . It swings missing you by only a few inches. You do what you do best run, your life depends on it … This is Dying Light the new survival horror game from Techland the makers of Dead Island.
Dying Light Techlands Zombie Masterpiece
In Dying Light you play Kyle Crane an undercover agent sent inside the quarantined city of Haran by The Global Relief Effort (GRE). GRE has recruited you to find Kadir “Rais” Suleiman a rogue political figure turned warlord in the inescapable zombie infested wasteland. Kadir is rumored to have a file that GRE wants back. This is the catalyst that begins your tenure as an undercover agent in a zombie bashing playground.
Dying Light, The Storyline
As mentioned above you play the character of Kyle Crane a parkour prodigy and secret agent who works for GRE. You are air dropped into the quarantined city of Haran where a rabies like virus has broken out turning most of the population into flesh eating zombies. A medicine called Antizin is the only thing that is keeping the remaining infected population from turning. A brutal warlord named Rais owns and controls the majority of the Antizin supply and he also just happens to be the person that GRE sent you to investigate.
The storyline is mediocre and the characters lack any real depth. After the intrigue of the game has worn off and you’ve churned out a couple hours of gameplay, the lead characters are reduced to nothing more than walking talking kiosk where you obtain your next mission. There’s no emotional attachment or real reason to care about what happens to Haran or the survivors.
Gameplay in Dying Light is fun beyond belief not because of a great story, but because of great gameplay. In Dying Light you are free to do whatever you want, and with freedom comes creativity. It’s just extremely fun to try new things.
Climb to the top of the highest building, and jump into a trash receptacle. Looking for a real thrill, climb to the top of the highest building, and drop kick a biter. “Take that you zombie punk, a dropkick from the top rope.” Throw firecrackers until a suitable number of zombies are gathered around, and toss a Molotov Cocktail into the bunch just to watch them scatter. There are so many combinations of weapons and environmental effects that the possibilities are endless.
The looting system in Dying Light could use a little work the balance of items you receive seems fine, but just about everything is in a yellow tool box or a rusted looking crate, which is ok but there are so many other locations in the environment to spawn loot it seems silly that every other balcony has the same crate and tool box.
Leveling up is one of the game mechanics that drives the game forward. The higher your skill level the more options you have for dispatching pesky zombies. You are relatively weak at the beginning of the game, and zombies seem to be able to take a good bit of punishment. It doesn’t take long and you will be at a level that’s more suitable for infiltrating a zombie infested quarantine. The game really shines after certain skills have been unlocked like vault.
There are three skill trees power, survival, and agility.
The agility rank is increased by performing acts of agility and improves things like how far you can fall without taking damage, how quickly you can climb, how far you can run, breaking your fall etc …
The power rank is related directly to combat and is increased by performing combative actions like smashing in zombie heads. The combat tree affects your offensive capability, and gives you skills like stun kick, multi-throw, combat adapt, etc…
The survival rank is leveled up by performing quest and side quest, and grants you crafting, bartering, backpacking, you know the general skills you need to survive a zombie apocalypse.
Dying Light, The Weapons
What would a zombie apocalypse be without ordinary weapons that can be modified into zombie slaying items of mass destruction. When you pick up a small knife to defend yourself you expect to be able to stab fast and repeatedly in a small amount of time. If you choose a shovel for your zombie smashing needs you expect it to be heavier, have a longer reach, and the recoil from each blow to affect your character in some way. The various weapons in Dying Light respond to your controls like they should. The weapon you decide to use is more than just a cosmetic object with a numerical damage value attached. Weapons in Dying Light are unique items with unique physics that prove that no detail was left unattended by the Techland team.
Modifications make ordinary weapons into extraordinary zombie killing machines. The crafting system is simple enough, you must have a blueprint, the weapon or group of weapons the blueprint calls for, and the items that are used for the modification. You can craft other items besides weapons, but who cares, the point is to kill zombies in the most creative way possible right? What’s not to love about an exploding throwing star? For me the weapon mods and the ability to use the environment as a weapon is where Dying Light truly shines.
I spent an hour just sticking Zombies to one of the barrel traps in the game. (I stuck fifty if you’re wondering.)
You can play Dying Light in one our two ways you can run through the campaign as quickly as you can or you can slow down enjoy the game and take in all of the detail that the developers so painstakingly put into the game. I can’t stress enough how impressive the environment of Dying Light is.
Dying Light Go Anywhere Do Anything
Techland has boasted the go anywhere do anything aspects of Dying Light from the very beginning. They have bragged extensively about the parkour style gameplay that they’ve developed, and for good reason Dying Light is smooth, fast, and responsive.
Dying Light’s Haran is a beautiful apocalyptic sight to behold from any vantage point.
You truly feel free to go anywhere and the ease of movement coupled with the amazing environment makes exploring the city of Haran a joyride you want soon forget.
There are a few flaws that need to be pointed out, but these are minor in the grand scheme of the game.
If you’re standing slightly under an awning your character won’t grab the edge, which sounds like a minor complaint, but when you’re in the heat of the moment, seconds away from losing your life, and more importantly precious survivor points to a herd of Zombies. You don’t want to be a human jumping bean bouncing along a wall trying desperately to grab your only point of safety, the edge that’s right in front of you.
Dying Light has such a beautiful environment, and with such a fast-paced smooth running style of gameplay motion blur is more a hindrance than an asset. Motion blur is easily turned off from your settings menu.
Dying Light, The Night Life
Navigating the streets, ruble, and the rooftops is done easily enough in the daytime, but at night the world changes and so does the atmosphere of Dying Light. You are no longer protected by your parkour style running skills because your vision at night is reduced to the beam of your flashlight, and the ambient light from a few other sources scattered throughout the environment. At night you must rely more on stealth than the bold in your face gameplay that is preferable during the day. If you’re chased by a volatile the bouncing of your flashlight, and limited vision adds a level of realism and anxiety that makes you feel like you’re really in a desperate situation running for your digital life.
Dying Light Final Thoughts
Dying Light is one of those games that has set a new bar in the way that we move around in a first person environment. If you take the time to enjoy the world the team at Techland has created paying attention to the details you can have a lot of fun playing this game. Although it is blemished by it’s mediocre story the parkour play style and attention to detail carry the game to new heights. I have no problem calling Dying Light a masterpiece created by a team called Techland.
If you want to know more about Dying Light you can check out the official website here.
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