Dying Light Review in Progress
Techland and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s newest game, Dying Light, was released to the public earlier today. Due to early copies of the game not being given to the press, there are few reviews or impressions being published at this time. However, this will be a review in progress, following what I have discovered throughout the first few hours of the game. I am basing my review on the playability of the Playstation 4 version.
In Dying Light, players take the role of Kyle Crane, which many horror fans might know as Roger Craig Smith, the voice of Chris Redfield from the Resident Evil series. Crane is an undercover operative for the GRE, sent to recover a stolen document inside the quarantine zone of Harran, Turkey.
Players are immediately put into action, as Crane receives a quick briefing on his objective before jumping out of a plane and landing in the quarantine zone. Almost instantly, he runs into a group of men belonging to Rais, who is considered the Devil himself. The players then get their first look at the infected, as Crane unintelligently takes his gun out to shoot the men, causing noise that attracts the infected.
As Rais’s men run for their lives, two helping hands named Jade and Amir take Crane into safety at a place called the tower. The tower is controlled by a man named Brecken and a kid named Rahim, who put Crane into training to see what he’s capable of. At this point in the game, players begin to experience the way of surviving the quarantine zone.
Climbing in Dying Light is very similar to Dead Island, however the mechanics are much smoother. Climbing and running over rough terrain are your best ways of escaping the dead, and sticking to the rooftops is almost a necessity. Loud noises will immediately attract the dead, so players need to be careful with where they’re jumping, as some rooftops will cave in. An interesting feature added to the game is the use of zip lines in order to descend the radio towers (yes, you will have to climb radio towers, and yes, that does take a bit of time). Also, practically everything you see is climbable, giving you plenty of chances to escape a horde.
Much like Dead Island, Dying Light has enemies that will spit vile at you, enemies that will explode if they get too close, and enemies that are larger and muscular than the others. There are also infected that can run much faster than the others with more powerful attacks, so the enemy variations aren't very unique compared to other zombie apocalypse-themed games. The time of day is highly important, as the night is filled with powerful enemies that can easily sense you and chase you down wherever you go. However, that resembles Dead Rising quite a bit, so the originality isn't impressive.
Skills and Crafting
There are three different skill trees available to be upgraded, including the survivor rank, agility level, and power level. The survivor rank is increased by doing missions and finding supply drops from the GRE and returning them back to the tower. The agility level is increased by running and climbing, and the power level is increased by enemy kills and the damage dealt. It takes a little bit of time to level up, but the skills you unlock are more than helpful. For example, one of the first skills I unlocked was the ability to slide while running, which helped me greatly while running away from the enemies at night.
Crafting is more than necessary in Dying Light, because medkits are rare, and crafting items such as throwing stars and firecrackers provide a lot of help. The firecrackers are used as distractions (because the dead are VERY easily distracted by any sort of noise) and the throwing stars can buy you some time while you're waiting for your stamina to replenish.
Landscape and Graphics
The character graphics aren't anything impressive, and the lip movements are far from realistic. However, the landscape graphics are amazing. There have been plenty of moments already where I stopped at the top of a tall building or radio tower just to take in the scenery. Ashe can be seen floating everywhere from nearby towers, and you can easily determine the time of day by how the sun is setting or rising. I've noticed a few frame rate issues, but nothing too major.
Story and Missions
The story hasn't been impressive at all so far, as I feel like my character has been nothing but a simple errand boy. You begin by trying to fit in like the GRE instructs you to, and in order to do that, you need to make people like you by doing what they ask. You spend the first hour and a half or so helping out those at the tower, and then you go straight to running errands for Rais and his gang. The game has been nothing but running around for the characters trying to gain their respect, and your character obediently obeying each of them. It was interesting at first, but became old quickly.
Overall, the only aspect of Dying Light that has impressed me so far has been the mobility and the landscape graphics. This is only a review in progress, so hopefully the story will impress me a little more once I get a few more hours into it. I would like to see the characters get in depth more with the story and take it to a more emotional level, rather than a game of just running errands and massacring zombies.