Dying Light comes from Techland who has made high budget games for every platform out. They’ve also had some great experience in the survival genre making games such as the Dead Island series as well as the Call of Juarez series. Since inception as a company in 1991 Techland has opened up five offices around the world and now put their absolute best foot forward with the exemplary effort Dying Light.
Dying Light is a first person action survival horror game. The game is set in Harran where there’s been a terrible outbreak and survivors are fighting to make it up against a seemingly unstoppable threat, the infected undead. Players will take upon the role as Kyle Crane an undercover operative that works for the GRE (Global Relief Effort). Crane is sent on a mission to retrieve stolen files from a seemingly ‘bad’ guy named Rais who went against the GRE and stole a bunch of sensitive materials that contain items about the breakout. Upon arriving by plane Crane is hurt and is rescued by Jade, a local, and someone you will get to know better as the story progresses.
Dying Light has two main factions; the runners and the bandits, with everyone fighting for control of the city, and the secrets woven into the story unraveling as Dying Light continues. Players find themselves being introduced to The Tower first. This is the main stronghold in the game where most of the missions will be staged from as well as the main location where very important characters will be revealed to the player. One of the most important things that the user will always be searching for is Antizin which is a viral suppressant that acts as temporary cure to the Harran Virus. Unfortunately, Antizin is not a permanent cure though, and though rumors are one is being developed by a scientist Dr. Zere, Crane will end up working with lots of different characters in the storyline to help them in any way he can in hopes of a cure as well as staying in alive and staying in contact with the GRE. All of this goes on while the main character also has to remain undercover to not let anyone know about the files he was sent to get.
To players, finding a cure and helping out the people they meet may be a very important and rewarding experience. To the main character Crane though, getting those files is the real mission, the real purpose, the only thing that matters. This successful cinematic narrative shows how video games can provide players with a moral motivation in real life while at the same time engaging as a character they just might disagree with fundamentally. This becomes more so towards the middle and end chunks of the game, but we will avoid spoiling anything in the story beyond the early moments in this Review. If you’re this far reading in, you may want to consider picking up Dying Light to find out more for yourself.
The gameplay in Dying Light is very different from what you would expect if you have played any of the Dead Island games. The core of the game revolves around always keeping Crane moving and this is thanks to the parkour movement as well as more intense encounters with enemies. Each swing feels like it has more weight, more meaning, perhaps even more importantly the statistic grind of upgrading weapons now feels equally solid and stable.
Adapting to the terrain is crucial if you want to survive in Dying Light. There are several different behaviors that players can benefit from turning into habits including transitioning from running to jumping movements like silk, gaining access to higher ground as well as garbage bags useful for breaking a long fall. Stealth becomes an optional way to avoid a lot of damage in between missions as well as keep the noise down, since the infected are attracted to loud noises. Users will find that they need to open up and secure safe houses around the city. These might range from safe places to go to if hurt to critical laboratories. Players also need to find safety and rest if they have spent all of the daytime hours to be secured from night time droves of ravenous zombies before becoming one themselves.
Getting items from crates and lockers is essential in upgrading weapons as well as making other useful items such as medkits. The combat is primarily based on melee combat, there are guns in the game, but ammo is extremely rare to find. Supply Drops are something to always be on the lookout for as they have different types of drops in them. These can be very helpful, some contain anything from Antizin to medical supplies, as well as combat items that can help you out.
One of the biggest gameplay elements put into Dying Light is the day and night cycle. This essentially makes the experience and is a game-changer for the survival genre overall. In the daylight, it’s easy to find your way around and zombies can be difficult but are overall not too hard to take down. When the sun goes down though, and the night comes, zombies become twice as strong and can overtake even the most skilled player. There are several that also have increased powers at night, for example the ones called volatiles. Volatiles can bite and attack quickly so your best case scenario is to run as fast as you can or if they get close hit them with UV light to stun them and then continue to run. These creatures can of course be killed, but players will want to be wary of large hordes grouping up on them at one time. One of the most important keys of mastering Dying Light, and a noticeable upgrade from the Dead Island formula is that the RPG skills now come in three categories: Survivor, Agility, and Power. Each of these skills will be upgraded as the game continues and this is where the user can really tailor the experience to the way they enjoy playing.
Controls for Dying Light feel fluid and easy to get used to, since during the review process both the Xbox One and PS4 versions were being played. I could compare the two for controls. On Xbox One the button mapping for Dying Light didn’t seem the best. The PS4 has the same layout on the buttons, but it feels a bit more natural for the platform if it weren’t for minor touches such as the touchpad on the controller having one of the most annoying implementations and essentially holding it back from greatness. Since this would always get hit by mistake mid-combat. The PC Version also supports keyboard and mouse or controllers and our Editor-In-Chief Jon Ireson says he enjoys the PC Version with his Xbox One controller plugged in (no charge kit adapter required, just download the free drivers from Microsoft Official Website) and sees no major issues with the controls. The new parkour system is great as well, and is integrated in a way that works very well with the gameplay and artificial intelligence zombies display.
Characters in Dying Light all have different back-stories that can be found out by either paying close attention to the main missions and/or during completion of the game’s many side-quests. Major characters of course include Kyle Crane, Jade Aldemir, Rais, Brecken, Rahim Aldemir, and Dr. Zere. In addition to these characters there are additional characters with quests that can be completed to receive additional skill points as well as to help players ultimately find more loot.
If I haven’t mentioned it before, Graphics in Dying Light are downright gorgeous. Everything from the high landscapes to the detail in the buildings as well as the character models are expertly sculpted, textured, and detailed – especially the infected. Enemy Design is interesting and gives enough push to the genre to feel fresh and new. In terms of engine performance, the game operates around 30 frames per second on console (occasionally reaching higher) while performing 35 – 45 on most current-gen, low-end to average gaming computers. This is complained about by some, but looks crystal clear the majority of the time and shouldn’t hold you back from enjoying this great game. That being said, there are a small amount of frame dip moments in the game and a few technical issues were encountered. For the most part, these didn’t hinder the gameplay experience overall and only costed a few moments of time compared to the tens of hours of fun achievable with the game. For the record though, Dying Light has crashed twice on the Xbox One, once during the tutorial in which the character jumped off the map and then floated in the air, and once more when the character got stuck in a wall while free climbing. But, these are not major issues, and only happened a rare amount of times. I haven’t had any of these issues on the PS4 as of yet. Techland also confirmed that they will be re-enabling mods in the PC Version of the game and that they were only temporarily taken away from the community in order to quell cheating issues in PvP mode.
Dying Light does have a co-op option in the game and nothing is better than joining a buddy and slaying lots of zombies together. There is also “Be The Zombie” mode that has been added to the game where it’s zombies vs humans, part of the player base plays as humans and the others play as Night Hunters. The Night Hunters are of course a breed of very intelligent infected. After a small tutorial is provided for players to learn how to move incredibly fast and agile, they are shown that their weakness is the UV light. I’m looking forward to continuing to play this mode a lot more with my group of friends in the near future.
Dying Light has to be one of the best games in the survival horror genre. With lots to do in this bloody city, there’s never a boring moment. Lots of quests seem to repeat the same themes, but if users get sick of that there is a lot of areas to just explore and lots of infected to kill. Dying Light has a very high replay-ability factor especially with or without the DLC being added from the Season Pass in the next couple of months. Upgrading and crafting weapons while experiencing a cinematic survival experience gave us hope for Techland’s future endeavors and we hope Dying Light has now been birthed into a franchise we see evolve in major ways going forward. Techland has introduced a new level for others to reach for in the industry making anything to do with the undead. Dying Light is a must play.
Official Gameplay / Dev Diary Livestream Replay:
Your First Week in Harran:
“Be the Zombie” PvP Multiplayer:
Overall Score: 8.5 / 10
RGN Rating: Silver Game
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Available On: PS4 | XO | PC | Linux
Played On: Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, Windows PC
Review Copy info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this review.