Video Game Review: Dying Light

June 6, 2015

Written by Capt McNeely

Georgia Division ZADF Twitter: @ZADF_ORG

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How do you improve upon the zombie apocalypse? Add parkour! “Dying Light” released on January 27th 2015 is now available on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC  computers is the newest installment in Tech Land’s open-world Role Playing zombie game. First we got “Dead Island” back in 2011, while that was mediocre it had potential. We later then got “Dead Island: Riptide” and “Escape Dead Island” both were poop, so of course my mind was going into this was expecting mediocrity when actually I was very surprised and honestly “Dying Light” has probably been the best game I’ve played this year!

“Dying Light” has you playing as GRE Operative Kyle Crane who is sent into the overrun city of “Harran”. An unfortunate event has taken place resulting in the entire city being engulfed in flame and killer zombies with an extremely unpleasant mutation. Your mission? recover an important file that can lead to a cure and end the zombie virus for good! Seems simple but as soon as you land in “Harran” everything that can go wrong, goes wrong. You crash land right into the middle of a turf war between the runners (Good guys) and the bandits (Bad guys) and Zombies (Ugly guys) and just when you think everything has calmed downed you get bit by a zombie (It’s not a spoiler, they told everyone about this before the game was out).  So within the first 20 minutes of the game you learn 3 things; This place is a hell hole, you are going to have to deal with these 2 factions and this zombie infection you are carrying is going to lead to an extreme moment, I would continue on to talk about that but it’s spoiler territory. Story-wise I really like it, many of the characters that you are introduced to are very well developed and don’t feel like basic 2 dimensional characters, especially the main character you play and your antagonist. It’s nice not having yet another grim-voiced bullet sponge protagonist but an actually living person with emotions, rights and opinions and it only makes it more interesting and complex when the main antagonist also has emotions, rights and opinions but his are more radical and oppose Crane’s moralities resulting in a very good hate/hate relationship between the two which in turn results in some amazing scenes and an extremely satisfying resolution.

Rais, our extremely strong minded antagonist

Rais, our extremely strong minded antagonist

“Dying Light” has very smooth and intuitive game-play. The one thing that had people concerned was how they mapped the jump button. Most games put the jump button on the A or X button (dependent on what console you are on) but in “Dying Light” they put it on the right bumper. Very strange at first having the jump button there I eventually got use to it and became very natural and afterwards when I went into other games with A as the jump button it felt weird and I wanted it to be right bumper! The other fun thing about the game-play is The “Zombie Sense” you develop due to the infection. With this “Zombie Sense” you well basically X-ray vision, you can see through walls and sense when enemies are near you and it can also lead you to your objective which is very helpful because you will get lost a couple of times. The games biggest selling point is the parkour. “Dying Light” has really smooth parkour in it, free running on top of high building and a bridge is so much fun because the game has perfected moving through the landscape with ease. The combat though is where the game kinda flops.

 

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You play as Kyle Crane, the top notch GRE operative turned hero!

In classic Tech Land style they added the dreaded combat stamina bar, a huge orange bar at the bottom of your HUD (Heads Up Display) that drains every time you swing your weapon, it’s kinda what they do to balance the melee weapons but since the entire game is based around hand to hand combat with zombies and bandits it makes it rather frustrating when you run out of stamina and your are surrounded by zombies and can really only jump up and down and hope you don’t die. Other thing that dampers the experience is how all your weapons have a a second stamina bar and run out as well but when they run out you either have to repair them with your supplies or you have to sell them because they are useless. It does suck especially in the early parts of the game when all you really have is a pipe and a sword, it’s not until your second play-through of the game when you have your bearings and have gotten some better weapons. It’s also when you’ll be around to maxing out all 3 of your skill trees. Throughout the game you have 3 different leveling systems; your power level which is used to increase your stamina, craft new items and by the end have unlimited stamina, your agility tree which leads to learning new parkour moves and unlimited sprint and finally your survivor skill tree which gives you new blueprints to build new weapons and gift you the awesome grappling hook which makes the game a thousand times easier to navigate and can help with speed-runs. I am currently right now trying to max out the survivor skill tree and unlock the extra grappling hook shot, it’s pretty cool. I say probably the weakest part of the game-play is the boring crafting system, I personally don’t like crafting systems in games mainly cause they’re lazy and although the upgrades you can craft are powerful they’re just to generic for me and I prefer Far Cry’s crafting system the best. Far Cry’s requires you to hunt, Dying Light’s just wants you to grind for supplies which is never fun.

 

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The last two things I’d like to touch on for “Dying Light” are the co-op and graphics which are both astounding own there own. “Dying Light” is able to support up to 4 players and let them roam the entire map, I point this out cause no other huge open world “next-gen” game has been able to do that and also run amazing graphics at the same time and keep it’s targeted 1080p and 60 FPS. One thing is for sure, Tech Land definitely knows how to properly utilize “Next Gen” consoles. This game definitely showcases what “Next Gen” should be!

All in all “Dying Light” technology and plot wise is extremely powerful and intriguing. Very well rounded characters that actually make you want to see what happens to them and learn more about how they even ended up in “Harran”. Although the game-play is limited by a bunch of stamina bars and a lame crafting system you eventually over come all these by simply leveling up the 3 rewarding skill trees and with a ton of side quests and a 25 hour single player story that can be played with friends creates an extremely fun and original zombie game. I give “Dying Light” an 8.5 out of 10.

 

 

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