Dying Light takes place in the rundown city of Harran after an outbreak has turned most of the residents into zombies. You play as Kyle Crane, who is tasked as being the quintessential errand-boy upon arriving at the Tower. I guess none of the survivors legs work anymore, because they ask you to do everything for them. However, all is not as it seems. Along with helping out the people at the tower, Crane’s also in constant contact with the GRE (Global Relief Effort), a corporation he secretly works for. Crane’s orders are to find the cure, but is it possible that the GRE has other plans? Things take a turn for the worst when an evil warlord named Rais starts terrorizing the survivors of Harran and hoards the one thing that will keep them alive : Antizin.
I had a lot of worries about Dying Light, and they’re all because of Techland’s previous zombie endeavor, Dead Island. I put at least 80-100 hours into Dead Island; that’s a lot of time to put into a game that I really didn’t enjoy. Yeah; I didn’t enjoy it. Because of the bugs and issues, I was unable to play the game with friends. I had to play the game solo. Playing Borderlands solo was a vacation compared to Dead Island. There’s absolutely no music in the game, with the exception of some ambience and “Who Do Ya Voo-Doo Bitch”. If the first city wasn’t boring enough, wait until you see the places you go for the rest of the game. There’s a second shitty slum city, sewers, a police headquarters, a forest, and a prison. Yawn. By the time I got to the prison, I just wanted the game to end. When you finally do find guns, there’s never enough ammo for them. It’s just 70-100+ hours of “go do this”. Another problem I had is that my weapons were constantly breaking. I’d always have to go find a craft table to repair all of my weapons. Annoying. Because of the issues I had Dead Island, it would be my last zombie game until Dying Light. I skipped the add-on, Dead Island Riptide (because it really was nothing but an add-on), and let’s be honest, no one bought Escape Dead Island. I was excited when Dying Light was announced, but I was very hesitant when I learned that it was being made by the same team who did the Dead Island games. And then the reviews came out. I decided to give Dying Light a chance.
Dying Light plays just like the previous Dead Island games. It’s an open-world zombie game based on melee combat. Weapons such as wrenches, hammers, bats, knives, and other blades are the primary attack tools. Firearms are available, but ammo is very scarce. There’s really no point in using guns anyway, because any loud noises attract psychotic speed-freak zombies. These zombies also appeared in Dead Island. The problem I have with Dying Light is that it’s a constant reminder of a game I hated. Even the majority of zombies used in the game have just been brought over from Dead Island. There also doesn’t seem to be much in terms of variety. You’ll encounter about a handful of so of regular zombies for the entire game that look exactly the same, and then there’s your unique zombies. However, not everything is the same. Dying Light also features a parkour system. Yes; you can finally escape if you get overwhelmed by zombies!
The best thing Dying Light has to offer is its parkour gameplay, of course. There’s something really cool about combining the climbing physics of Mirror’s Edge or an Assassin’s Creed title and putting them in a zombie game. It just feels right. The controls feel great. Sometimes my player doesn’t always go where I want, but it doesn’t happen often. The parkour abilities become even greater as Crane’s skills increase.
The coolest feature in Dying Light, apart from the parkour, has to be the grappling hook. I’ve always wanted to unleash my inner Batman in a zombie game, and now I can. Climbing in first person isn’t always simple, especially when it comes to tall radio towers and bridges. The grappling hook makes everything so much easier. If you have vertigo, then this game is definitely not for you. Actually, I don’t even have vertigo, and some of the higher climbs had my heart racing. It really feels like you’re making this climb; like every step could be your last. You really feel like you’re way high up. It’s surreal.
Dying Light features a very detailed leveling system. Each weapon has its own stats, and the amount of times it can be repaired before it’s broken for good. The more durable a weapon is, the longer it will last in combat. When a weapon needed repair in Dead Island, I’d have to go find a crafting station. In Dying Light, repairing a weapon is as easy as holding a button down. Crafting can also be used to make new weapons (with blueprints), or make some upgrades on current ones.
What I disliked most about Dead Island were the open world areas and not being able to really hide or escape besides safe zones. I did enjoy the interior mission locations (mall, police offices, grocery store, houses, etc…). I just wish there were more of these. Dying Light’s parkour abilities gives me plenty of places to escape, and there’s plenty of interior mission locations to completely fill my needs.
Dying Light features a day / night cycle. You can check what time it is in the menu, and someone from the tower notifies you when night is drawing near. Night time is horrifying, and a tad bit frustrating. A unique zombie, the volatile, only comes out at night. They’re able to track, run, and climb. If they spot you, good luck escaping. They can kill you in one hit early on in the game.
Dying Light also features a Companion App. Essentially, it works just like Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood. You recruit scouts to go out in missions to collect supplies, which can be sent as a care package to the Quartermaster in the game. This is a crucial way to farm Medkits, cigarettes, metal parts, and other things. Medkits aren’t that easy to find in the game, especially when you need them a lot like I do (I die very often). Sometimes you can find full medkits inside the back of company vans, but it’s a gamble. You can also craft medkits. They require two items : Alcohol and Gauze. I always have more alcohol than I need and never enough gauze. There’s also a giant plane that sends out air drops twice a day. These drops contain full medkits and relief supplies. However, you have to race to get to them (the drops release blue smoke signals), but most of the time Rais’s men got to them first. I was having constant issues with dying and running out of medkits, so I downloaded the Companion App. It works really well and takes no time at all. You just send out scouts with a high enough power rating, and they bring home the supplies and cash. As you go along, scouts level up, more scouts are recruited, and more missions open up. It takes little to no effort at all. You can fit up to 20 items in a care package. The Companion App works great, but by exploring some more in Dying Light, I’ve found two great locations to collect medkits and items needed to craft medkits. One spot is a pharmacy by a Bolter feeding ground by the old railroad tracks. This pharmacy has at least 5-6 pieces of gauze inside, a long with several other crafting items (nails, household supplies, etc…). A yellow van outside will always have one or two medkits once you pick the lock. The businesses across the way will also net you at least one gauze for each first aid box. Another great spot is across the Infamy Bridge gap. There’s an abandoned military compound across the way. There’s a fair amount of zombies here, but even a greater amount of medical supplies. Between farming these two locations, I didn’t really need the Companion App anymore. I was finally able to survive Harran without it.
Dying Light, at times, can be just as frustrating as Dead Island. If you ever think an area is clear, you’re wrong. Anywhere you go, you can pretty much be surrounded by zombies. The key here is to watch your back at all times. This may seem obvious, but just because an area appears to be cleared, proceed with caution before you go to work on that lock.
After completing Dying Light, I didn’t feel like going for the Platinum trophy. I spent approximately 60 hours playing the game. That’s a lot of time for one game. I still had a quite a bit to do in order to earn the Plat, so I just felt like moving on to something different. However, that doesn’t mean that I won’t return to the world of Harran, especially if Techland continues to support the game. I definitely have to give them credit in that regard.
Dying Light is a complete change for me. This game is everything that Dead Island was not. Sure; Dying Light had its frustrating moments, but by the end, I was quite addicted to it. I couldn’t put it down. I loved this game. No more did it remind me of the awful experiences I had with Dead Island. Just like with Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row, I’m glad Dead Island and Dying Light can coexist as similar but separate games that give the player the ability to play the way they want to.
Two Vita reviews will be posted soon. I’m currently working on Arkham City!