Dying Light is one of those games that does many things right, and it is a whole lot of fun. Techland created a zombie game in the vein of Dead Island, with huge improvements, but without the campiness. The zombie world of Dying Light revolves around a great premise. The sidequests range from somewhat fun to damn cool. There are many different scenarios, and they are events and occurrences that would more than likely occur in a post-apocalyptic world. There are 44 side quests. While they may not be all worth doing, the player may be surprised by some of the adventures they bring.
The parkour is fluid and connected, while building off on climbing and jumping mechanics that makes free-running exhilarating. It starts off slow, but once you get going on the agility skill tree, free-running is really fun. I highly recommend putting points in the fall damage mitigation, and forward roll. For instance, parkour/free-running has three stages of upgrades. You start off as a novice freerunner, and as you progress through the skill tree, you become more athletic, therefore, traversing the world faster with less stumbles. These all make for smooth controls that are very responsive, and it does not miss a beat. Fun times.
You can also combine abilities from different skill trees to perform combos. For example, you can use "vault" on a zombie, followed by a "drop attack" for a satisfying combo finisher.
If you are trying to connect Dead Island and DI: Riptide to this game, it probably shares in common some visual art design, melee combat, without the campiness. But the melee combat has been greatly improved. The melee combat is extremely satisfying.The gameplay is where Dying Light shines. Gunplay is so much better too. Throw in free-running abilities, the three skill trees, and gameplay is a blast. Dying Light sports the best melee/parkour combat to date.
And while I feel the gameplay is the best part of the game, Dying Light does many other things right too. In another light, the ending was predictable, although it could have been handled differently. I would have liked to see a twist in the story. I feel like the premise of Dying Light could have served a multitude of story branches. A missed opportunity, indeed.
It is one of those games that takes bits of concepts from other games like Mirror's Edge, Dead Island, Far Cry 3+4, and executes it well. It does not feel like you're playing those games per say, but it does remind you of them. If that makes any sense. It feels different, and more than enough to stand on its own.
If you guys have a chance, give it a try. But if you choose to focus too much on its flaws, you will probably end up not liking it, and you will probably dislike it for the wrong reasons. I felt this way in the beginning, but this is one of those games that really grows on you. It is not amazing, but it has some spectacular moments.
The visuals are up to par with modern games, atmospheric and immersive, slick and smooth controls--button mapping is great to accommodate for melee combat and free-running, extremely detailed game world, combined with satisfying melee combat complimented by three skill trees that enhance gameplay incredibly.
The sound design is excellent, from the cries of a zombie from several yards away, to a great soundtrack (some 80s/90s music),
There are many different zombie types--common, stronger common, special, and nighttime zombies all make for interesting enemy and A.I. During nighttime, some common zombies behave more aggressively, and the nighttime zombies like the Volatiles come out on patrol. Volatiles, like the more alert and aggressive common zombies, have a cone of vision that appears on the mini-map to show the player if they have been alerted. A eye icon appears over the actual zombie on screen if they have spotted you, and the icon fills up with a red color indicator to show if you are being pursued. The zombie A.I. is smart.
Day-zombies may not be much of a threat as night-zombies, but day-zombies can be a threat in numbers. "Free-runner" zombies are former runners that turned into the infected. They move and run faster, and they can climb objects and structures, unlike their common zombie cousins. They are more aggressive and they relentlessly pursue you until you put them out of their misery.
The physics is good, and it makes for some unintentional, hilarious moments.
I highly recommend crafting and experimenting with every weapon, even if you feel like you will not like "throwing weapons" or "trap bombs." In this game, you're going to want to try everything. They're all fun to use, and they provide for cool gameplay scenarios you can come up with.
Achievements in Dying Light are worth hunting, especially in co-op mode. Take a little time to read through them because they encourage you to experiment and try different things. I am glad I looked through them. Point being is, get creative. Use your imagination and try to do everything. Experiment.
Nighttime is really intense because that's when the more hellish zombies come out and stalk you. You have probably read that other players have reported that the game does not feature real-time day and night cycles, and that is untrue. Early on in the game, there are a few story missions that introduce you to nighttime. I think this confused players. After you have completed those, day and nighttime cycle kicks in. Day lasts several hours, and nighttime only lasts for a very short time. And this occurs without story mission/side quests. You can fast-forward time by clicking on a bed (wait until night or morning), and go off on your adventure.
However, I do take issue with the timer for nighttime. There could have been a setting to change how long nighttime lasted. Seven minutes isn't all that much, even though it can sometimes feel like "forever" with Volatiles chasing you across the city.
There are mini-games spread throughout the world of Dying Light. These include "challenges" that you can participate in, like a free-running challenge, killing a specfic amount of the infected in the quarantine zone, or a challenge scenario where you need to kill 40 zombies within a limited amount of time. It sounds simple on paper, but these challenges can be pretty entertaining in spurts and especially with a co-op partner.
Dying Light is one of those rare videogames that was designed thoughtfully. Single-player and co-op intertwine in harmony, and one mode does not hamper the other. After having played over 50 hours of Dying Light, I can genuinely say that this is one of the best single-player/co-op campaign games out there. With Invasion mode and nighttime adding a whole new dynamic to zombie-killing madness, gameplay is intensified and it brings fresh new gameplay that would have been missed had it not been included. It is one of the better games that have been released in recent years, and it definitely stands out from the crowd of new-gen games.
9.0 out of 10.
- Highly recommmended.
- Huge improvement over Dead Island
- Excellent and thoughtful single-player/co-op design
- Extremely satisfying melee combat system
- Great parkour that is fluid and highly responsive
- Deep skill trees, and game mechanics like crafting and upgrades
- Great visuals for an open-world game
- Immersive and atmospheric
- Cool characters
- Solid writing for the most part, and good dialogue
- Great premise
- Many zombie types provide for dynamic gameplay
- Excellent zombie A.I.
- Innovative nighttime zombie gameplay
- Excellent and responsive controls
- Missed opportunities in plot twist
- Ending was anti-climatic
- Missed opportunities in potentially good scares
- Main protagonist feels hollow
- Most characters are forgettable
CPU: i5-2500K @ 4.1 GHz
GPU: EVGA GTX 970 Superclocked ACX 2.0
OS: Windows 7 64-bit Home
Nvidia driver version: WHQL 347.25