Hello everybody, hope you're doing well today, and welcome to my review of Dying Light! This game has been recommended to me by a lot of my friends for quite a while, but for whatever reason I've never gotten around to playing it until recently. It's an open world, first person, action adventure game, with heavy emphasis on horror, and some survival elements. Developed by Techland, it was released for the Xbox One and Playstation 4. If you're a fan of the Dead Island games you will probably enjoy this too, seeing as Techland is the developer behind both of them, and they're both first person zombie adventure titles. There's a lot of similarities between the two, like taking place in tropical locations, zombie outbreaks, and focus on melee weapon combat. But Dying Light has a lot more to offer in terms of sheer content, and fun factor.
In Dying Light you play as protagonist Kyle Crane, who is an undercover agent on a mission to find a very important document that could have a huge impact on his employer. Of course what you are looking for just happens to be in a zombie infested quarantined city. Some type of viral outbreak has overtaken the city of Harran, turning it's citizens into mindless killing machines, forcing the government to seal it off from the outside world. The only assistance Harran is getting are periodic cargo drops from planes that fly overhead, that contain a medicine used to treat the disease.
Once Crane gets inside the quarantine zone he finds himself being overwhelmed by zombies and ends up getting bit, but luckily some survivors find him and bring him to the safety of the Tower, where he gets treated right away. The Tower is a huge skyscraper where people have congregated to stay safe and take refuge from the danger outside. The people in the tower need help with all sorts of things and of course you agree, not telling anyone about your true reason for being there. You become part of the group pretty quickly, all the while radioing back to your employers with updates. Not only do you have to play double agent, but there is another rival faction in the city of Harran that you need to infiltrate to get information, and eventually end up being a triple agent, trying your best to play all sides without getting caught.
As you get to know the three groups a little better, you start to see what they are all about. The people who hired you don't really care about the citizens of Harran at all, they just want the file that someone is using to blackmail them. The two rival factions are doing their best to survive, but they go about it in drastically different ways. One group is compassionate and caring, taking in stranded people and trying to help everyone. The other is led by a psycho who intimidates people to get what they need, and will do anything necessary. All the while hoards of zombies have taken over the entire city, and it's up to you to decide who you really want to help, and who you're just playing.
Exploring the city in Dying Light is one of the best parts of the game. First of all the map is pretty huge and densely packed with houses, skyscrapers, bridges, and cars. Everywhere you go you will find items to gather up that can be used to craft all kinds of different weapons and useful combat related things. Every building is full of detail, with pictures on the fridges, books on tables, food on the counters, a lot of attention went into making Harran feel real and Techland did a great job with it. I would often get sidetracked on my way to an objective because I saw something interesting that I wanted to check out. Getting lost and getting to know the city better is so rewarding and a lot of fun.
Your main way of getting around is by doing something called parkour, which is a combination of running, climbing, and jumping. At first I wasn't very fluid when attempting to do this, but it quickly becomes natural feeling and is surprisingly fun. You can scale up the side of a building, run and jump over cars, and leap from rooftop to rooftop with the greatest of ease once you get a feel for it. Getting down can be a little tricky though because when you're up high you need to jump and land in designated safe areas, like a dumpster or a pile of garbage bags. Sometimes I thought I was good to take the leap, but missed the mark and died. You will get used to it from trial and error in no time, and once you do it becomes much more fast paced and fluid getting around the city. This is something you must get used to because there is no option to fast travel at all in this game, so parkouring is your only option.
The combat is focused mainly on melee weapons, although you will eventually find various guns to use. Melee weapons can be found while exploring, bought at stores, or crafted using items you collect. You can also upgrade your weapons and infuse them with elemental damage by finding blueprints around the city. At first dealing with the hoards of zombies can be tough and you might feel overwhelmed. Using only things like baseball bats and machetes while fighting so many enemies can seem ineffective, but as you get stronger it becomes much easier. You might be thinking, why not just use the guns you find? Well anything that creates noise will attract the zombies and will make things much worse for you. Guns should only be used as a last resort or to take down especially tough enemies.
One thing that I found annoying at first was the fact that your weapons break over time. You can repair them, but only a few times before they become totally useless. This would be a problem if not for the fact that you get so many different weapons as you explore, that sometimes I would just throw one away so I could use something new. I was never at a point where I didn't know how I was going to take down a zombie, the game gives you plenty of options.
There's also a day night cycle that you need to be aware of. In the daytime you can pretty much run freely throughout the city and the zombie hoards are controllable for the most part. You can throw firecrackers to lure a group out of your way, or just find a way around them. But at night everything changes. The enemies at night are called Virals, and they will chase you down relentlessly. Not only that but they're much tougher than the daytime zombies that you're used to killing. It took me quite a while before I felt comfortable going out at night, and even then it's very tense. Night time is a mixture of trying to sneak around without being seen, and then running for your life once a Viral spots you. This game mechanic is genius and really makes you rethink going out after dark.
The amount of content in Dying Light is pretty remarkable, and they give you a good amount of freedom to choose how you want to play. I explored the map thoroughly and unlocked all the settlements thinking I was close to the end. Then I checked my progress only to find that I was 18% through, and there was a whole new map that I hadn't even been to yet. There are so many side quests to discover and people to help that I often forgot to do main questline things. Most of the side quests reward you with some helpful item, plus everything you do adds to your level progress.
You get three categories that each level up independently, and each time they do you can choose what ability you want to unlock. Once you get a little ways into the game, you will have all kinds of new things you can do, and experimenting with them is a lot of fun. At night level progress is doubled, giving you a little incentive to challenge yourself on staying out after dark, even though it's pretty terrifying.
Overall this game really surprised me with how good it was. There's so much content packed in here, so much to do, and best of all it's very fun. I picked up the enhanced edition that comes with all the DLC for 25$, and it's definitely worth it. I've had a blast running around Harran being a double agent, blowing things up, and beating down hoards of the undead. If you haven't had a chance to play this by now, I highly recommend picking it up, especially if you're a fan of zombie games. I give Dying Light a score of.....................................
Thank you for checking out my review, I hope you enjoyed it!