Polish developer, Techland, have hit a home run with their new IP, Dying Light, and it’s easy to see why. At first glance Dying Light is yet another game in the seemingly tired first person zombie horror genre. Upon actually delving into the game, one would find that Dying Light is a very unique take on the genre with gameplay mechanics that the genre has rarely, if ever, seen.
Players take the role of Kyle Crane (voiced by none other than Roger Craig Smith), an undercover government operative sent into the quarantine zone of the fictional city of Harran. The government needs Crane to locate a file inside the quarantine zone which has vital information regarding the zombie virus. Over the course of the game, Crane must decide whether to accomplish his mission or help his new friends inside the quarantine zone.
Surviving the zombie infested streets of Harran is a challenge. You have the option of taking on hordes upon hordes of undead but that option will most likely get you killed unless you’re lucky. It’s best to use Crane’s parkour skills to stick to the rooftops rather than the streets. The game conditions you to avoid combat when possible. It’s extremely difficult to fight more than a few zombies at a time. Your melee weapons also deteriorate rather quickly. During the day you will scavenge for supplies which can be sold or used to craft items. Night time is a different story. During the night you get double XP but it comes with a price. Zombies are much faster and much more dangerous at night. Visibility is extremely limited even with your flashlight. During my entire 25 hours with Dying Light, I never ventured into the night unless a mission required it. XP which can be obtained by a wide variety of methods from simply jumping to completing missions can be used to buy skills in 3 different categories: Power, Agility, and Survivor. With enough time, these skill trees can be maxed out.
Dying Light’s controls take a little time to get used to. Jumping is mapped to the shoulder buttons which took me the most time getting used to but once I did, the parkour felt extremely smooth and satisfying. One of Dying Light’s biggest problems is its combat. Throughout the entire game swings with the weapons always felt clumsy and it seemed as if I missed a lot of hits that should have landed.
Dying Light’s single biggest problem is its story. The story started off very strong but fell apart rather quickly in the second half. But, fortunately, the good outweighs the bad in Dying Light. The unique take on gameplay is just too good for survival horror fans to pass up.
Dying Light is a huge step up from Techland’s last zombie effort, Dead Island. While the story is bad and the controls are weird, the beautiful visuals and the amazing gameplay make Dying Light a game that is definitely worth your time. There is plenty of content to keep you busy. The game is well over 50 hours with all of its side missions. The game also offers online co-op and competitive multiplayer so you can take on the undead with your best friends. Dying Light is easily one of the best zombie games of the last decade. Do yourself a favor and play it!