Dying Light Review

The main title screen of the game

Acrobatics does everything better, anyone will tell you that. Where would Lara Croft be without her graceful acrobatics? Probably in the same place as Assassin’s Creed, which wouldn’t have appeared at all if Prince of Persia hadn’t felt the need to run on walls and jump over enemy heads. It’s time to adopt this purely healthy habit, even if the zombie theme has become tiresome – and Polish Dying Light understands this perfectly.

“Haha, it’s just a theme park with parkour,” the average person will think, not really going against the truth: Techland really didn’t reinvent the wheel and based their own project from four years ago. And they did, in general, the same Dead Island, but with significant changes in all aspects.

Landscape: Scenic landscape from the game

There is another outbreak of an unknown zombie virus. The city of Harran becomes the epicenter of the infection, and a nuclear bomb is about to be dropped on it without regard for the local population, which, contrary to official statements, is still actively fighting for their lives. At first, Kyle Crane, our protagonist, is not particularly concerned about these details – he is here on government business and knows nothing about any survivors. But that changes when a zombie latches onto his ankle and he is beaten by bandits as part of a baptism ritual. Seeking refuge with the first friendly group he finds, the main character quickly discovers a hidden inclination for parkour and altruism within himself, which his new comrades take advantage of without hesitation. There are plenty of runners in the group, but you will be the one doing the main work, while also not forgetting the initial goal of your visit. With this baggage, you can confidently venture out to explore the surroundings. The storyline here is secondary, especially since it will not impress you with its depth, serving as a mere justification for the actual gameplay.

Rain: Rainy weather in Dying Light

For the first time stepping outside the Tower, the local “headquarters,” you feel awkward. It’s like having Dead Island memorized on the screen, but playing it the same way as in 2011 doesn’t work. Mostly because the player is no longer a walking meat grinder: the weapons hit weakly, break quickly, and stamina is only enough for three or four strikes, which won’t do much in open combat. If you run out of breath at the wrong time, a zombie sneaking up from behind will bite your neck. And while you only have a flimsy table leg in your hands, it’s best to avoid the undead. Fortunately, parkour was introduced just for this.

The firearm rarely falls into the hands

Firearms rarely fall into the hands. Perhaps it’s for the best – more zombies will gather at the sound.

The bad habit of running strictly through narrow alleys and avoiding any obstacles is immediately discouraged here – nothing motivates the search for alternative routes like having corpses behind you. And if the debut acrobatic tricks are extremely ridiculous and ineffective, soon the urban landscape feels like the main means of protection, and its use becomes intuitive. With one agile jump, you can avoid serious trouble and give yourself time to bandage wounds somewhere on the roof of another shack – only the most agile zombies will climb such a tower, and even they don’t always keep up.

Zombies: A group of zombies in the game

But as soon as you relax and feel like the king of all the local beasts, moving around safe heights, night falls. If you are lucky enough to wander after sunset (and for a number of reasons you will have to), the game will bare its teeth: indestructible creatures will be unleashed onto the streets, who are eager to play deadly chase to the nearest shelter. It is no wonder that twilight is accompanied by persistent warnings from traceur friends – it is better to go home in advance, while your limbs are intact.

Despite the danger, it is tempting to stay awake at night. And it’s not just about gaining experience for bravery – these are simply the best moments of Dying Light. There is a suspicion that the whole cheese-bor was started precisely for the sake of midnight runs, because it is then that the atmosphere thickens in the right way, the magnificent sound design comes to the forefront, and the player experiences the full range of emotions. The satisfying crunch of skulls and the daytime lawlessness are replaced by cautious dashes in the dim light of a lantern, hoping to avoid a dangerous enemy. But the thrill takes over – and you run into trouble yourself, just to experience the real tension of the chase once again. Imagine a mix of Mirror’s Edge and Outlast in an open world – that’s how cool it is. And scary.

Hunter: A dangerous hunter-type enemy

During the day, of course, there is also a lot of business. Crane is exploited not only by the plot characters, but also by everyone who is still able to talk. Side quests, however, haven’t strayed too far from Dead Island in terms of quality with its “fetch and carry” style, but sometimes interesting specimens come up. And to make it less boring to run from one corner of the map to another (there is no fast travel), they added random events, challenges, and occupied safe houses in the style of Ubisoft’s “towers”. And overall, in terms of the abundance of third-party activity, Harran is very reminiscent of Kyrat from Far Cry 4, which is even pleasing – the action does not stop for a second, and the tasks intertwine imperceptibly.

Especially the vision carefully highlights the whole loot in the nearest mess

Special vision carefully illuminates all the loot in the nearest mess.

Meanwhile, as we play the role of a universal boy on the run, the hero gains experience. The leveling system is similar to The Elder Scrolls role-playing system, except that there are only three branches. In all other aspects, the more we engage in activities, the more we progress: somersaults and jumps allow us to develop acrobatic skills, frequent battles unlock new combat techniques, and everything else contributes to the abstract “survival” line with crafting recipes and discounts from merchants.

It would all be fine, except that the first half of the game forces us to level up skills that are quite basic and unremarkable. It is not very clear, for example, why an agile tracer should separately learn how to roll, and then learn how to kick during the process. The authors’ imagination, apparently, ran out on such restrictions, which makes the most interesting features available too late. It’s scary to think that we have to endure for seven hours just to be allowed to smear ourselves with zombie guts for camouflage!

Lockpicking minigame

The experienced Dragonborn also knows how to pick locks, by the way.

I just want to be alone.

Strangely enough, Dying Light doesn’t need co-op at all. The overly inflated possibility of joining a four-person company turned out to be so alien to the game that it would have been better if it didn’t exist at all. The plot, despite its banality, is quite interesting, and the mood is already too serious to spoil everything with shared hilarity. If you will, Dead Island was like Saints Row, which is hard to imagine without friends, but here the experience is much more personal.

Well, and a bunch of identical Cranes just looks silly.

Hostile human bandits in the game

It is doubly offensive that all kinds of drop-kicks and stun attacks are primarily designed for zombies – they don’t really affect live enemies. The Poles clearly went overboard with the endurance of marauders, who easily withstand a dozen knife wounds to the head, perfectly block 90% of your attacks, and simply annoy with their presence in the game. Frankly speaking, there is nothing worse in Dying Light than battles with the local thugs in closed spaces.

The graphical execution of everything described above is very commendable. The colorful Dead Island instantly pales in comparison to the landscapes of the grandiose Harran, bathed in extremely convincing sunlight. Even upon closer inspection, the visuals do not disappoint – the exceptional level of detail in the interiors is particularly striking. The excessive use of blurring (oh, there is so much of it) and color filters only brings slight confusion.

Interior: Exploring indoor locations
A room in the game

It didn’t go without some performance issues, unfortunately. But there is nothing that can’t be solved. fine tuning What’s the result then? Dying Light is not without flaws, but a solid and worthy project. Without offering anything radically new, Techland skillfully incorporated others’ developments into their own, learned from past mistakes, and made it better than before. Surprisingly, it turned out fresh and interesting. Review of Dying Light 2.

Dying Light
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Action, Co-op
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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