Gamers have come to notice the types of trends that withstand the passage of time. Badass ninjas, gun-toting commandos and women with irregular chest sizes are just a few of the elements that still play a part in the games we play today. We can also add zombies to that list. While the influence of the undead seems to have grown a bit stale over the last few years, Techland has done a great job of making them prevalent again. Their work on Dead Island has now been carried over to a new-gen adventure packed with even more ways to dodge the undead – Dying Light.
Your main character starts off his journey through the zombie apocalypse as he parachutes into the city of Harran. Your main mission entails the retrieval of a secret file from a local warlord, but you’ll have to go undercover while you do it. Playing both sides of the primary factions while still reporting back to your superiors presents moments of moral decisions that fall into the grey area of doing acts for the greater good or doing them simply to obtain more goods. This game is a lengthy trek through an incredibly vast city. It’s just a tad bit unfortunate that you won’t care too much for the people that inhabit it. The voice acting falters and the character animations are a tad stiff. These knocks on the game’s supporting cast is Dying Light’s biggest issue.
As for the better parts of Dying Light, they’re strongest when it comes to the parkour infused movement. Your main onscreen avatar runs, hops buildings, dodges zombies, baseball slides and dropkicks anything in his way from a first-person viewpoint. The sense of immersion derived from moving so smoothly starts off good enough, but your mobility options get even better as you move around. It feels great as you naturally improve your stats and earn new abilities just by performing movement feats and fending off your enemies. The amazing sense of discovery, wide variety of melee variety and wealth of items that exist around every corner all make this game click on all cylinders.
The majority of the main missions in Dying Light will command you to retrieve some sort of item or perform some daring task for either of the two factions you work for. The mission structure here is decent at best. Being sent out into the dangerous city as a glorified errand boy gets old, but the strong gameplay will push you to keep going. The missions tend to improve at the later stages of the main campaign, plus the fun factor certainly improves thanks to the presence of co-op play. Most of the fun of this parkour inspired romp comes from running around freely, accessing new safe houses and lock picking every chest in your wa. Things really pick up during the evening hours, as more dangerous foes prowl the streets and provide you with a greater challenge that nets you extra experience. There’s so much to see and do when you aren’t in the mood to progress the ho-hum plot.
Dying Light is a surprisingly great game. It has its issues that hamper its overall quality, which makes it an open world adventure that’s rough around the edges. The visuals shine during the day and are appropriately dark during the night hours, the parkour movement feels great and the overall progression/weapons systems is awesome. Even though the game’s many characters and plot won’t grab you, you’ll derive a good bit of fun from running through the contaminated streets of Harran.
Images: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Techland