Do you remember the days when there were barely any zombie games being created? No? Well those were the days. It has come to that time where many different companies are capitalising on the genre and are making their own variations when it comes to fighting the undead. This is where Techland has come to show its new creation in the form of Dying Light, an open world survival game based off of the success of Dead Island. Can it stand up to the opposition or does it belong in the ground from once it came? Let us take a look and find out.
The demo being run at Eurogamer was incredibly short. Players that queued up had the chance of playing the game for five minutes. Now at this point I know what you’re thinking, five minutes is pathetic for a demo. But it is actually a perfect amount of time. It isn’t a linear demo that gives you one goal to complete on a narrow corridor and that’s it. This demo throws you into the open world of a rundown city and lets you do what you want to do at whatever pace you want it to be. It is truly five minutes of whatever you want, which is a pretty cool idea.
My initial thought of the game was simple, this is what Dead Island was meant to be. It looks, feels and plays so much better than the original and Riptide. The game takes true attention to detail with things such as cuts and bites on your arms and guts spewing from the undead after decapitations. The pace of the gameplay is controlled by the player so you can either take your time or rush through things as you wish. This is great as players will be able to decide whether to take it slow, explore and sneak past enemies, or rush from objective to objective drop kicking all zombies in your way.
The main character in the game has a lot of manoeuvrability behind him, being able to slide under gaps, climb walls and jump over rooftops. This allows players to take full advantage of the environment and approach a single objective in multiple different ways. This synergises well with combat as you can sneak up and slice your undead foes to shreds, throw knives at them from above or hit them head on with a kick to the face and a weapon in hand. Decapitations with sharp weapons are smooth and look amazing as you don’t just see the blood coming from the limb, but also the tendons and muscle that hold the body together. Another cool trick when it comes to combat is that you don’t have to use a weapon. You can go through the entire game with bare fists. Of course this will make it more challenging, but there must be an achievement or two to be gained by beating up whomever stands in your way.
Lastly, about combat, there are two features that assist with making fighting the undead more entertaining. These are prompted CQC (Close Quarter Combat) moves and escaping quick time events. The CQC moves may not necessarily kill your opponent but will push them to one side of you giving you an opportunity to beat them whilst they are down or make an opening to escape. The quick time events only take place when you are grabbed by a zombie. You must successfully complete the QTE in order to escape death or just heavy damage. By escaping, the enemy will either be thrown to the ground or killed depending on how low on health they are. These mechanics help with creating opportunities for survival, a key feature in this style of game.
Overall, Dying Light was an amazing game to try out at the expo. It’s player based pace and open world feel allow players to truly embrace the world as they see fit. With the addition of smooth combat, great escape tactics and a dark apocalyptic feel, this is a game that definitely surpasses other games in the genre. A must get to all that love the genre and a try for those that want a great open world experience.
What do you think of Dying Light? Do you think it is what Dead Island’s superior? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.