Having played dozens upon dozens of zombie games in the past, and having watched most of the zombie movies/TV shows available, I consider myself a huge follower of the decaying stars. Once I found out the title of my next game to review I was very excited this was offered, but also very disappointed that I had not already checked it out. Disappointed in myself of course as Techland released Dying Light almost a year ago and it was still not on my “to play” list. Having a three year old son limits my time with rated T and M games and most of my year has been spent with platformers, strategy, sports, racing and family fun games. Nevertheless, it was now time to play and indulge in another zombie title. I did some reading of the game before I started it up for the first time as it was already out for eleven months. The Dying Light developers, Techland, originally introduced the Dead Island franchise and I knew if they took most of the positives from Dead Island and improved upon it with Dying Light, we were in for a heck of a ride.
Dying Light follows the main character, Kyle Crane, who is an undercover agent sent to recover data for the GRE organization. Kyle Crane quickly realizes that something is wrong and things aren’t what they seem. He decides to help a group of survivors. Chaos then ensues, as it does in all zombie games, with hordes of the walking dead roaming the streets. As we follow our group of survivors we grow with them in the story and really care about their progress, making the majority of the events in Dying Light deep and impacting.
Dying Light’s melee fighting is the best sort of combat featured in Techland’s game. The essential source of survival is the loot you search for, whether it’s to collect food, drinks, or to repair and create weapons. Creating weapons or crafting a weapon is very easy and seems much like what the Dead Rising series did when discovering a blueprint for the weapon. The next step was to find the items required and craft the item to what is on your blueprint. These new items help you tremendously to progress in the story in terms of survival, but not immediately. Leveling up your character will help with crafted weapons in battles throughout the game as the stronger you are and the more stamina you have, the better you will perform against hordes of zombies and humans. While hand to hand combat is stellar, the gun portion of the game isn’t as polished. Melee attacking and defending always seemed like the better option unless you are stationed with heavy artillery to assist in large hordes of the walking dead.
The main missions in Dying Light are largely about exploring and hammering through the zombies to progress to your next point of interest on the map. Every time you make your way through a very large horde you will need to search the marked area for an item. As you try to make your way through the thousands and thousands of zombies, take time to enjoy the stunning visuals of the backgrounds, the open areas, and the devoured city you are surviving in. It’s silly to say “stop and enjoy” in a fast paced, get out of the way, zombie game, but the visuals are great and should be admired in between your zombie slaying.
As day light dies and night sets upon your character, Dying Light becomes very tense. You are in control of everything during the day but at night you will get terrified. Creatures come out at night and Techland shows that this is not your normal, every day zombie game. The development company excels at creating an alone in the dark feeling when the night comes. I found myself not wanting to continue at first as it was literally a game that was like night and day when it came to the game playing experience. Everything you knew in the day becomes one hundred times harder at night, hampering your vision and increasing physical altercations. Volatiles are also introduced at night as a more powerful and agile zombie that succeed in the dark.
The experience in Dying Light can be increased with friends in co-op play. Together you and a friend can complete side missions, go roaming just for the heck of it, and work through the story campaign including that dreaded survival at night. It’s much more entertaining and “safe” to have a buddy either supporting you in game online, or on the couch as you have multiple “close calls”.
Dying Light is available now and is highly recommended for those that enjoy thrillers, suspense, and horror games. If you are a fan of zombies, than this is a must have and most likely on your console.
- Fun. weapon crafting mechanisms and solid hand-to-hand combat
- Outstanding visuals
- Varied zombie designs, abilities
- Two different experiences, playing during the day or at night
- Real suspense, especially early on
- Cooperative play
- Gun play is not as good as melee