Dying Light Review

When night falls, cry for mommy.

Posted by smokin cheez   27th January 2015

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Dying Light

Xbox One

While Techland's Dead Island definitely set up the scenario of surviving an overwhelming zombie apocalypse, their new title Dying Light perfected it. With the addition of parkour and more interesting ways to take out the infected (called Virals in-game), you'll be sure to have your fill of killing madness.



STORY
An outbreak of a strain from rabies has plagued the land, and only the medication dubbed Antizen can forestall the inevitable infection. You, as Kyle Crane, are placed in Harran, Turkey as an undercover operative on a top secret mission in order to observe a crumbling society. You free run through the city doing odd jobs for the survivors and are faced with difficult decisions along the way that may prevent Crane from completing his mission.

The Virals are some of the most unique zombies I've seen in awhile, though they do remind me of many other games at times when they tread into their variants. They vary with their own unique abilities; taken from the book of zombie games there is such Virals as the Screamer, who alerts other infected to your location; the Volatile, who shoots acid at you from a distance; and the Bomber who, of course, explodes his guts all over you.



But that doesn't mean that the "regular infected" aren't unique in their own right as there are too-far-gone zombies who amble around the city, biting and slowly chasing passer-bys, and then you have some who actually retain some semblance of their human instincts. These Virals dodge your attacks and seek the opportune moment to strike. I thought this factor was something that was a fresh idea as usually zombies are predictable and come straight at you (i.e. Left 4 Dead).

Virals aren't the only enemies in Dying Light. Naturally, there are other survivors of the outbreak trying to get by on their own or in groups, and some aren't as friendly as others. These enemies view you as an obstacle and are intelligent, though some are simply crazy and will attack you on sight.



Opinion
I personally didn't care much for Kyle Crane or the main story, seemed like a typical infiltration of an operative into a city and he deals with helping survivors and people of importance along the way. I did feel bad for him when he had to do bad things in order to get close to a gang lord, but otherwise it wasn't too heart-breaking. He is voiced by Roger Craig Smith, the voice actor for Ezio in Assassin's Creed, and does a badass job at it. The true merit goes to some of the characters that are spread throughout the city; from high-functioning sociopaths to plain lunatics to people just down on their luck all of them you will come across and feel sorry for. There was one guy just sitting on a rooftop that told me his story without me asking, just reiterating how he got there as if he's been saying to himself without your presence.

The night sequences were the scariest bit of the game. The Virals in the game are sensitive to UV light, which is generally why they amble around town during the day dazed and confused. During nighttime they are quicker and more persistent in chasing you, I found myself trying to flash my UV light as much as I could into their eyes to blind them (another cool aspect). I pretty much peed my pants when you see the arrow on the map, as it alludes to the Night Hunter coming after you, the ULTIMATE mutation that is fast and difficult to kill.



GAMEPLAY
The aspect of the game I found most fun was, of course, the parkour. It feels effortless though it has its own complexity about it. Running across rooftops, pulling yourself up ledges and the side of buildings in a first-person perspective makes you feel completely absorbed in the game. You feel like you're apart of the world and get spooked when your character gets spooked.

Like Techland's previous series, there is an option for crafting weapons. By utilizing blueprints found throughout the game, you can create some powerful weapons and even add elemental aspects to it to give it that extra boost to killing zombies. I found the crafting somewhat complex but easy enough to understand after awhile, it really reminded me of Dead Island and I suppose Techland wanted the gamers to feel like they were using a familiar system.



As you progress through the game, the more you exercise the better your stamina gets. You earn points by completing successful maneuvers such as climbing ledges, jumping a great distance and landing in trash to cushion your fall, and so on. These points accumulate on a level system and eventually, the more you gain in level, Crane will be faster and be able to perform greater skills once bought. This goes for his melee skill as well, the more he bats zombies, the better he gets and levels at this as well.

Skills are abilities that you can purchase in-game in order to upgrade your combat efficiency. Nothing is more satisfying than drop-kicking a Viral off of the ledge of a building to their deaths, though nothing is more funny when you miss and fall to your own.



The game has made me laugh at many parts and also made me cry out in frustration. One of the only things that bothered me was that a pile of tires could be preventing you from jumping inbetween a tight spot to avoid a pack of infected. It's just little things like objects in the game that make you angry from preventing you from running away to catch your breath, or how that object that stopped you doesn't stop a zombie from climbing over it to get you.

Co-operative
Many times, when tackling certain side quests or even some main missions, I found that co-operative would be necessary in order to complete it. Playing with another player definitely made things easier, as one would distract the infected to follow them while I completed the objective. I'd definitely recommend trying the more difficult missions with someone you know, not only to make things easier but also for a good laugh. Soon enough you'll find yourselves making up your own challenges while playing, either thinking up races to a certain place or seeing how long you can last. You could be playing for awhile not realizing you two are doing useless things, although it would help build your levels.



Multiplayer
With the 'Be the Zombie' PvP multiplayer mode, you and players online can enjoy different types of matches together while either being the infected or the survivors. This is a wicked mode because while playing as the zombie you are very powerful and are able to leap great distances. You can play as the notorious Night Hunter and rip through your opponents while they're performing their objectives in a 4v1 match.

Opinion
I honestly felt like Kyle Crane through his view and exploration of the infected city. The parkour is a perfect touch and is, what I believe, something that would be necessary to avoid zombies in any circumstance. I found it very easy to get lost in simply running around the city and beating up the infected along the way with your melee weapon, soon completely forgetting about certain missions I had to do. Co-operative is definitely a fun aspect of this game while you and your friend could come up with different ways to race to a certain objective or just see who could last longer against a horde of zombies. Just... beware the Night Hunter...



ACHIEVEMENTS & COLLECTIBLES
The achievements for Dying Light are actually quite fun, there's many that involve killing the zombies in certain ways such as kicking 100 enemies off a rooftop ledge to their death. A lot of them just involve completing the story, or achieving new levels in different categories, or performing other certain tasks that don't involve killing. There are also achievements involving collectibles. These achievements seem grindey but not all that hard, it's no "Seriously..." from Gears of War but it will be sure to keep your time occupied after completing the game initially.

Collectibles throughout the game are sometimes necessary in order to complete missions such as finding supplies for survivors or picking up food to regenerate health from a random fridge. There are, however, text collectibles throughout the game digging into more of the backstory and also how certain citizens were coping with the mass infection outbreak. I personally like these touches to games and think that backstory should be told more through texts if you wanna be more absorbed into the world and learn the finer details.

SUMMARY
Dying Light succeeds where Dead Island was lacking and is thus the most impressive survival-horror game I've seen in awhile. With its balance of parkour and combat along with its serious story, solid voice work and fantastic atmospheric soundtrack, it is fun, interesting and keeps you feeling like an expert gamer with its ease of play. It has a generic storyline and can be frustrating with many objects getting in the way of your escape plan that shouldn't be.

Personal Rating: 4.5 / 5
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