Whether their Romero “shamblers” or Dawn of the Dead (2004) “sprinters”, there’s just something cool about zombies which elevates them above all other B-Movie monsters.
They’re human, they used to be us and that thought is as scary as hell.
An Outbreak starts with just one infected but their numbers continue to grow as ours diminish, if we get bitten, we’ll turn ourselves.
It’s such a perfect apocalyptic scenario and one which is happily experiencing a renaissance at the moment.The Rise of the Zombies
From reality TV shows to block buster movies, Video games to survival manuals, zombie pop culture is everywhere these days and I love it.
I’ve seen all the movies, I’ve watched all the TV shows, I’ve played most of the games, I’m a consumer of all things zombie (although, should the opportunity arise, don’t actually consume a zombie, it’ll only end badly for you.)Morning has Broken
I’ve also put a lot of thought into what actions I would take should I open my curtains one morning to find the zombie apocalypse taking place on my front lawn.
Amongst all my plans of stockpiling Pot Noodles and keeping a bucket in the attic to poo in, I’ve never considered that being skilled in the art of parkour might be a useful survival trait; at least I hadn’t considered it until very recently when I stumbled upon my latest piece of zombie content to consume.Apocalypse All Over Again
You remember the first Dead Island game? It was pretty good right? Well the fine folks at Techland have released another tasty undead treat into the world, a stealthy, action, parkour, survival zombie treat in the form of Dying Light.City of the Dead
In Dying Light the undead plague has emerged, but the powers that be have responded quickly and contained it to a small area, the fictional city of Harran.
Quarantined off from the rest of the world and relying on vital air drops courtesy of the Global Relief Effort, the situation inside the city continues to deteriorate, and if HBO’s The Walking Dead has taught us anything, it’s that you don’t just need to worry about the undead, other groups of survivors can be for more deadly.
This rings true in Dying Light as a gang mentality has gripped the crumbling city of Harran where two prominent groups are vying for supplies whilst struggling to survive the undead, but all is not lost...Keep Taking the Pills
Whilst there isn’t a cure, there is a medicine (Antizen) that the infected can take which delays the turning, as long as they keep taking Antizen they’ll be ok, however the only source of this medication comes from the supply planes flying relief missions over the city.Going Down
The game opens with your character preparing to parachute into Harran whilst receiving instructions from his employer over a radio; it seems that there is a survivor in the city that holds some very sensitive information, information which cannot be made public and it’s your job to retrieve it.
You’ll then find yourself falling through the sky towards the infested city, but things don’t start off well at all!
A hard landing and an encounter with the locals (both the alive and dead varieties) later and you’ll be bitten, infected and dragged to the first safe zone of the game. This is where you man hunt truly begins.Running Man
From this point you’ll be meeting new characters and trying to earn their trust by running missions for them, and I literally mean running, the big thing that sets Dying Light apart from the Dead Island titles is the “Free Running” game mechanic.
You’ll be tearing across roof tops, leaping alleyways and scaling the sides of buildings.
The safest way to stay alive in Harran is to stay off the ground; a casual walk down the street will see you surrounded and overwhelmed by zombies quicker than you can say “Assassins Creed of the Dead”.Long Jump
In the increasingly crowded zombie gaming genre this parkour style of play is hugely refreshing and better still it is exceptionally well implemented.
With a gamepad in hand, you’ll find the controls are really dialled in, look where you want to go, hit the jump button and there’s a good chance you’ll make it, it’s not only intuitive, it makes you feel like a free running bad ♥♥♥!Do me a Favour?
The missions themselves are the usual mix of “go there”, “kill that” and “fetch this” quests that we know and love, completion of which will give you the experience you’ll need to level up your various abilities enabling you to hit a little harder and jump a little further, you might even learn some new skills along the way.Be Crafty
Dying Light also boasts a pretty deep crafting system. You’ll be rummaging through bins and patting down corpses like a perverted Womble looking for the things that every day folk leave behind.
There are plenty of crafting recipes to learn, from Med Kits to Molotov’s there’s a plethora of useful items and weapons just waiting for your crafty hands to bring them into existence.
I can’t overstate how useful a well placed Molotov is when you’re in a tight spot.Zombie Farm
All zombies are not born equal in Dying Light, the recently infected will move a hell of lot quicker than the common stale variety of zombie you’ll see shambling around.
You’ll discover zombies that spit, zombies that explode, radioactive zombies in hazmat suits, and plenty of others, Hazmat is a dangerous place to explore at any time of day.The Dead of Night
But at night, that’s when things really become scary. The whole atmosphere of the game changes when night falls, it’s much tenser and you really want to stay out of site, stealthily moving from one secluded spot to another. You really don’t want to attract any attention at night.
There are super fast zombies lurking in the darkness and you’re going to have trouble outrunning them. The pitch dark makes your parkour aerobatics much more difficult to pull off as you rush through the streets, the feeble pool of light from your torch dancing along the landscape in front of you.Sleep It Off
Being outside at night is a serious business, but you do have the option to sleep through the night in a safe zone if it all becomes a little too much, although some missions will require you to go out at night, there’s no avoiding it completelyDead Pretty
In addition to the daytime being slightly less stressful, being out in the sunlight gives you a chance to drink in the scenery, the city of Harran can be a visually stunning place to explore.
From the sun bleached rooftops to the ominous darkness of the underpasses, everything about Harran exudes atmosphere, the whole city feels alive, which is no easy feat for a city full of the dead!Dead End
If the Dead Island games were the warm up act then Dying Light is the main event.
With glossy visuals, satisfying combat mechanics and an outstanding parkour system, Dying Light is a fantastic game and the city of Harran is a beautifully realised setting begging to be explored.
You should take the time to visit, just don't go for the night life, it's dead.
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