First Impression: Dying Light

DISCLAIMER: Not a review.  I’m just talking about things that jump out at me within the opening hours of this thing.

European games always look so distinctly European no matter what the current tech is.  The eyes… they are always dead trout eyes.  All the faces are lifeless mannequins spouting dialog, some of it lasting way too long for no reason. There will be exclamation points on your map for you to investigate for nothing but exposition. The human enemies are damage sponges that completely remind me I’m playing a video game and there is clearly a hidden health bar under each one of them.  But that is where my gripes end.  Small enough to fit succinctly in the opening paragraph.

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“Let me see if I can find some life in your eyes.”

Dying Light goes from 0-60 the moment you encounter night for the first time. Between the opening moments and the first nightfall, the game attempts to get you to understand how to run through the environment effectively because something as simple as not being able to go from street level to a car top is a skill that can save your life.  At night a special zombie comes out to play (I think it is called the Hunter) and it will call upon its buddies to chase your ass, cover you in zombie attracting spit while it tries to eat your face off.  It is important to keep your wits about you as you move through the environment because they are everywhere at night and avoiding them is almost impossible to do throughout the entire night.

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I was so excited the first time I did it that I took a screenshot.  What makes night so special? Agility and Power XP is doubled.  There are three skill trees that receive XP from separate sources. Agility is fueled by moving through the environment, Power is gained by success in combat and Survival comes from not dying while doing stuff.  Any time you do stuff successfully, Survivor points come into play.

Night has the hunters as well as a lot more random and empowered zombies.  Missions are still available but mainly at night, I’m only in it for one thing.  The air drop.  The nightly air drop differs from the daily because of the sheer amount of zombies I have to either fight through (to create space) or avoid (to avoid being mobbed to death) timing everything perfectly so I am unseen long enough to loot the air drop meant for some computer controlled faction. Air drops during the day have a higher risk of being intercepted by a rival faction which only nets you 50% of the reward if you can fight them off to claim it.

Zombies seem very hard to take down at first, taking that into consideration you would be benefitted greatly by working on your Agility skill in the early hours to get the vault ability before you do any heavy combat.  The ability to vault over your foe is crucial to combat as well as escape.  Heck, even several times traversing, using vault allowed me to propel myself on to a rooftop so I could keep moving through the space.

The best part about Dying Light is that is punishes false bravado so don’t try and be a hero.  Mistakes can have dire consequences because these Zombies mess you up awfully quick.  Once their grapple animation is initiated, it is near impossible to avoid.  Though, after awhile you learn how to use their charging momentum to throw zombies around.  Using each skill at the right time is paramount to combat.

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There’s a lot of sites complaining about the story. Don’t think about the story. It will play itself out in the time you spend with it, and it is just there to move your character from Point A to Point B.  Between Point A and Point B you’ll meet Person X who wants you to go to Point C.  It is between Points A and B where you will find the most meat on this game’s bones.  Immerse yourself in the side-quests that are available because though most of them are powered by the standard mechanics, some of the ways they play out are … unexpected.

We take for granted that to us holding the controllers that “Quest Givers” are just conduits to gaining experience and as long as there is no morality scale within the game experience is experience so we tend to consume all the side quests we can. Well, not once but twice has doing sidequests led to unexpected consequences.  I wont spoil anything even though there is no reason to not do these quests but one involved going back and forth to get alcohol for a man helping his wife give birth and another involved smuggling in a gun for a man wanted to escape with his family.  Sometimes things don’t go as planned…

Am I enjoying my time? Heck yeah.  That’s why I’m ending this thing abruptly so I can get back t

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