Dying Light Review: TL:DR

Dying Light is a great game.  You will love it and be enthralled by it.  During the early stages of the game, you will tuck the story to the back of your mind and immerse yourself in the world. Zombies feel like a threat and as a result you will exercise flight over fight sometimes.  The weapons you have are crappy and you’ll constantly be scavenging for more.   You will utilize your bad-ass but initially shitty parkour moves to dodge and vault through the zombie hordes. But towards the end of the game… everything that was a threat becomes fodder to feed your ANGRY WEAPONS OF JUSTICE, THIRSTY FOR ZOMBIE GIBBLETS!

With most of the challenge removed, I found myself yawning at everything and not giving a shit about any bad ass thing I did in the process because everything I was doing was bad-ass in a way. If everything is special then nothing is special.  At first the idea of using a grappling hook to zipline to a rooftop, drop down on unsuspecting foes and killing them in 5 seconds seems really cool…

… But then there is a point where that is just how it is.  You become so ultra powerful and have such bad-ass weapons and your character isn’t even maxed out yet. The game does not have nearly enough abilities to suit its length but far too many to compliment its difficulty level.

I have chosen to review this based on the mileage you will get out of this game.  Not a lot of people finish games anyways so if you fall into this category then you might want to pick it up.

Hours 0 – 10

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Fear the night! The Volatiles (pictured above) come out at night and they are not exactly friendly.  There are super mutated infected with the ability to Spider-Man their way around the map to pursue you.  If you leave the game open, one of these infected could possibly be controlled by a random human or otherwise they are CPU or Teammate controlled for various Competitive Co-op features which I’m not a fan of.

The first ten hours are the most intense hours you will face.  The interaction you have with zombies has changed.  They are way more of a threat than they ever have been.  In the early stages actually killing a zombie is hard.  It is much easier and probably smarter to knock them over and keep moving.  It becomes extremely important to modify your weapons and grind out experience points for the various skill trees. Everything you do feeds one of the skill trees.  Moving fuels the  Agility Skill tree…

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Fighting fuels the Power Skill Tree….

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and not dying/completing missions fuels the Survivor Skill Tree…

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During the first ten hours, everything is exciting. Every time I heard a survivor in the distance, I would dash off to save them.  Sometimes they would talk to me about stuff… for a while, actually.  The game would zoom in on their face Fallout-style and there would be several lines of dialog. Well, at least I got a reward out of the deal which is cool except for the times I didn’t.  You see, the game will put an exclamation point on the mini-map as if it is a point of interest for somebody to give you a quest but it might simply be somebody who has something to say.  This person with something to say may only have a few lines of dialogue or a gigantic monologue of justice.

I scavenged the most during this period.  Every area, every building, every nook and cranny was looked in by me.  I picked every lock, hunted for every statue and climbed buildings to find flags. I would constantly modify my weapons and be on the lookout for blueprints for new mods.

Then the night hits.  It isn’t so much the night itself as it is the build up to it.  About two hours (in-game time) before the sun goes down a radio message is broadcasted for runners to get to a safe-house.  Then an hour later another reminder.  The sun begins to set and the ambient noises begin to take over.  The cool breeze picks up, things begin to echo in amber glow of the setting sun as it disappears.  Then your watch beeps.  Night is here where your power and agility experience points are doubled..  During this time you become a silent ninja, isolating a few zombies and dispatching them as quickly and as quietly as possible until you hear the purr of an airplane engine fly overhead for the nightly airdrop.

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By God you are alive!

Hours 11 – 20

My combat and agility skills were competent enough that I could do decent crowd control with zombies.  Flight wasn’t necessary most of the time unless there were too many or my weapons were too damaged. I spent so much time doing side-quests that by this point in the game I had only done three story related quests and I was midway through most of my skill trees. At hour eleven I still have enough of a challenge dispatching zombies.  By hour twenty I am an unstoppable God-killing machine. . . and I’m not maxed out yet.

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You see that horde? With the right equipment, you can take out that entire group.  This was a task that was supposed to be impossible in this game as it would be near impossible for one person in real life to do that.  People who have played Dying Light to the fullest know what I’m talking about.  Yeah, you can do it by brute force but another method could be to camouflage yourself in zombie guts (which grosses out the protagonist every single time you do it.) and slowly advance on all of them using something that does damage to an area, then slicing through the remaining few.  Dying Light is good for giving you more options to dispatch zombies but if you chain the right methods together… unstoppable… God-killing….machine.  By this point I had access to pistols and rifles but hadn’t spotted a shotgun.

I had stopped modifying most of my weapons because now I’m decapitating regular zombies with the flick of my wrist and it takes very few shots to put the bigger foes down.

Hours 21 – Finale

I have no idea what was going on by this point.  I’m mashing B to skip cut scenes.  There’s a cure and my ability to run and jump has something to do with getting it from Point A to Point B.   Any time the protagonist tells an NPC not to do something dangerous that may impede progress the NPC will almost immediately do that thing adding another mission between me and the obvious stand-off against the antagonist.  Then at the end NOT getting out of the city is the best option.

There is a great scene that switches up the pace near the end of the game that was almost lost on me because I just did not care about what was going on anymore.  I was a lethal killing machine… let me off this damn island already.  The scene in question staples down the fact that despite your ability to kick uncanny amounts off zombie ass, you’re infected and will turn if you do not hurry. But that’s just the thing… your infection is story based so the effects of it only kick in as the plot demands it.  One minute you’re kicking zombie ass, the next your infection gets worse and you start having random seizures. You hurry to the next plot point which delivers your serum.  The final plot point to get your last dose is extremely well done and I’ll leave it there.  After this point you’re able to kick ass like normal but once you trigger the finale, you once again become exhausted by the seizures which did nothing to stop my zombie ass kicking powers of justice but stopped me from using the grappling hook. Let me spell that out for you.  The game tells you too your face that running, jumping, fighting and flinging your body weight is less exhausting than pulling your best Batman impression and using a grappling hook to move you around.

Conclusion

The game is not terrible.  It is just far too long.  Imagine playing Skyrim or Fallout where you were unstoppable at the 10 hour mark.  That is impossible within those because there are still dozens of skills to unlock/learn.  This game suffers from not being as deep as the world it created. Techland did not go far enough with the RPG aspects.  If they doubled the amount of abilities and added two more classes to the game… maybe they could have something a lot more special, but in the end we’re left with a great game that becomes more exhausting to play than it is fun.

Final Grade:  It’s Fun! Try It!

I can’t recommend paying full price for this thing.  Any sort of discount on it would make it worth the price.  Also it should be noted that if your friends also have this game, the fun factor becomes multiplied.  However, this game will only take your focus away from your favorite multiplayer game briefly.  As a successor to Dead Island it does everything much bigger and better.  Even though they got rid of the analog control scheme I prefer, slicing zombies is much more satisfying.  Try it if you can, buy it if you can afford it.  It’s good even if it is a shallow dip.

The Jaded Gamer
IamFN2K@gmail.com
Twitter: @IamFN2K

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