Dying Light Review
Dying Light is a refreshing open-world twist to standard zombie games. While it may seem extremely difficult at first, the more you progress in the game the more fun it becomes. Without the parkour system, Dying Light wouldn’t be half the game it is, even though the controls are confusing during the first hours of the game. Once mastered, however, climbing around the quarantined city of Harran becomes second nature.
Dying Light is a unique zombie slasher with the addition of a well-crafted parkour system. At first, the controls make absolutely no sense (like using the right bumper to jump) but once past the learning curve, the game offers plenty of opportunities to test your parkour skills. The nice thing about the parkour in Dying Light is that it never really hinders players. While running through the city, I never had to stop and plan my next jump. Everything is fast paced and very dynamic.
One of the biggest gameplay elements is the incorporation of the switch from daytime to night. Getting caught outside a safe zone at night offers a huge challenge to players, and it is easily one of the scariest elements of the game. Special enemies come out at night that can do some serious damage. One of the most exhilarating moments of my play through was the first time I was caught running for my life in the dark. It may be advantageous to explore and survive during the night later in the game, but when you first start staying out at night is no easy task.
Another big part of Dying Light is supply drops, which can be very useful if you manage to collect them. The issue is, however, that enemy thugs seem to have supply drop homing beacons because they’re normally surrounding the supply drop before you even show up.
The combat in Dying Light is where the game shines the most but also could use some serious reworking. Running out in the open with a melee weapon, smashing zombie skulls is really satisfying. It’s almost as if you can feel each and every hit, which you’ll definitely notice seeing as zombies seem to take an ungodly amount of hits before they finally die. One of my biggest complaints with the game is how hard it is to kill zombies without high end weapons or guns. In the early game it’s simply easier to run away from zombies than it is to fight them, which gets old fast. Of course, through leveling up and getting better gear it gets easier to take out regular zombies, but the introduction of special zombies adds an exciting twist to the combat system.
I was happily surprised with the numerous different types of zombies. I wasn’t expecting more than regular zombies, so it was definitely a pleasant twist. Once you’ve mastered the art of slaughtering zombies, however, humans seem to make things even harder. If you don’t have a gun and the enemy humans do there’s almost no point in trying to fight them. The gun damage is extreme, and while it may be more realistic it doesn’t quite make for the best game experience. Enemies with machine guns can usually take you down before you find cover. On numerous occasions I found myself getting frustrated with how easy it was to get killed.
The story in Dying Light is pretty straightforward and doesn’t have much shock value, but nonetheless it was pretty fun. The characters were interesting but also very surface level – it would have been nice to have deeper characters with interesting background stories. The main enemy, Rais, may be cliche but he’s definitely a good bad-guy to have. His motives aren’t anything new and it’s pretty easy to predict his actions but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad character.
There are multiple points in the story that the game takes over control of the player and the camera and forces you to do things that you might not have wanted to. The element of choice in Dying Light would have added another interesting element to the story, but it isn’t terrible without it. The final fight is just a series of quick time events which made the “epic” finale not all that epic. It would have been more fun if the game had let players fight for themselves and make their own decisions.
Dying Light is a solid game with a great foundation. The integration of parkour works well and I never really found myself complaining about running around the streets. The combat is hard, especially for beginners, but ultimately it’s pretty satisfying getting a slow-motion kill by chopping a zombies head or limb off. There’s definitely room for improvement but this is definitely a game that you should pick up if you’ve been thinking about it.