Zombies. Big deal, right? Been there, killed that. I hear you. But, trust me, you guys should check out Dying Light.
The gameplay is incredibly engaging
On the surface, the latest game from Techland, the folks that brought you Dead Island, is a first-person zombie survival game set inside a quarantined city called
Racoon Harran. As you wander the city, you pick up supplies to craft useful items, such as med kits and molotov cocktails (even throwing stars!) and upgrade your rather feable weapons. Weapon durability is a huge factor in the game, allowing limited hits before becoming useless. For example, a water pipe will last you about 8-10 zombie-smacking hits. Just like in real life! Don’t fret however, you won’t miss any scavenge-able items because pressing ‘Q’ will allow you to scan the environment using your super survivor sense (really). Then again, realism isn’t a trait we necessarily look for in a zombie game.
After the rather slow intro-tutorial section, the game expands greatly into a mission-based world filled with lurching abominations waiting to be pulverized. But don’t be too hasty, for you are not as formidable as you might think. Any zombie can wreck your face, taking out about a fifth of your health per hit. You have to be patient and clever, using all the items at your disposal to distract and alienate your targets. A large group can end you pretty quickly when you’re starting out. Not to mention the specialty zombies that come along later, ala Left 4 Dead. Even exploding zombies. Yikes.
And guys, there’s parkour.
Imagine dropping zombies into Mirror’s Edge. Pretty sweet, right? So far in my playing, you can sprint and leap, grab onto ledges, vault over zombies and even climb poles to escape or ambush your prey. And it’s super fun. It’s incredibly satisfying to leap off of a building onto a zombie, smash through his friend with your pipe then sprint over a fence to grab onto the balcony of a neighboring house to escape.
Customization allows you to play how you want
As an added bonus, you can customize your character to match your play style by earning skill points to spend in three different trees: Survival, Agility and Power. Each tree has it’s own set of experience points, gained by performing actions related to each, so you don’t have to worry about choosing between them. The choices come within each category, where skills branch off one another and allow for the player to choose their favorites. This helps turn your helpless pipe-wielding newcommer into a post-apocalyptic badass.
The story is great
The story is actually pretty interesting and keeps me engaged along with the wonderful gameplay. You are living a double life: deceiving your new friends at the behest of the government agency you work for (the GRE), while simultaneously helping them whenever you can.
As with many open-world games, there are story missions and side missions you can compelte. From what I’ve seen so far, the side missions have their own unique stories as well and end up affecting everyone’s additude towards you (which seems like it may have some added benefits later on).
Multiplayer is seemlessly integrated
Looking for some multiplayer action? No problem, just open up your game to the public and anyone can join in on the smashing action. Multiplayer in Dying Light works in a unique way, where you can choose to join as another surviver and play through the campaign mode together, or you can join as a face-sucking zombie and ruin someone’s day.
Zombie mode is an entirely separate play style that you can select at the main menu. As a zombie, you play as one of the “Volatile.” AKA a super zombie. As a zombie, you can invade others games at night, hunt them down, and eat their face. My favorite part so far about being a zombie is their method of transportation. In addition to running and climbing like the survivors can, you can send out your special zombie tentacles (no, really) to grab on to most any surface and pull yourself towards it. This makes you essentially an evil flesh-craving spiderman, swinging from building to building in search of dinner.
Between the engaging story, gameplay and missions Dying Light has the potential to Skyrim my life away with any free time I find. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go dropkick a flaming zombie.
Sources: Techland, Kotaku