After making some calls and burning few bridges, we have finally hit upon the brand new Dying Light. The game is finally a reality.
And with its 'parkour mixed with zombie' gameplay, we have high hopes from the title going ahead. At least, that's where the previous gameplay videos have indicated.
To be honest, Dying Light should be the rightful successor to the previously released Dead Island title from Techland. Though that's not the deal, after spending at least 30 minutes with the game, we feel that Dying Light is actually a major upgrade and application of ideas that Techland missed out on for Dead Island.
To start with, the title offers quite the lengthy single player story, alongside effective drop-in drop-out cooperative play. There's even an impressive versus mode that pits player-controlled zombies and soldiers against one another in a dense open-world that's been carefully engineered by Techland.
It hasn't even been 24 hours since the game arrived and we have already lost sleep, dinner and the need to socialise with others. The only justification we can actually come up with is that Dying Light is quite a refreshing take on the entire zombie apocalypse genre that's been done again and again.
We are currently hooked on to the game and reporting on it as we move ahead with it. But we still have quite a few details collected over the portions of the game we have covered so far. We will be taking you through the title everyday from here so keep a lookout as the review will be updated every day.
Dying Light Review In-Progress: Day 1
The start of the game falls perfectly in line with whatever we have seen for it via the innumerable gameplay walkthroughs online. The first few seconds of the story set the tone and its prologue. You will skydive out of a plane and into the quarantined city of Harran, where your parachute gets caught on a building, resulting in a long drop to the pavement that's below.
Once you get to the ground, you will be ambushed by thugs who will then try to break your legs until you are rescued by a pair of friendly survivors. From there on, you will be dragged on to the tutorial chapter. Enough already! Find out the story for yourself. It's totally worth it.
When you get into the game, you will notice that it heavily combines a Dead Island setting that's being complemented by a Mirror's Edge-styled gameplay and movement mechanics. However, know that the zombie-infested slums and shacks around you are full of possibilities. Now, as far as controls are concerned, playing the game on a PS4 needs a little bit getting used to.
For example, you jump around with the R1 on the DualShock 4. If not careful, the result will be sharp fall from towering heights. Although we have taken a liking to the climbing mechanics of the game, it still requires us to sit patiently with the control mapping until it rubs off on us. But we still aren't big fans of the combat mechanics involved in the game.
Although we find fault in the combat mechanics involved with Dying Light, it still tends to be more realistic than finding ammo all around the world to lay some hate. But we also like to think of this somewhat faulty combat mechanics as an added challenge in the game. Both undead and alive enemies have the ability to soak up quite a thrashing and punishment before they are finally laid to rest. In case of zombies, the sign is exploding rotten heads.
However, we suggest you keep away from the combat side of things as much as possible. Not because it's kind of dodgy, but you will have a better rate of survival if you keep to your mission and stay on higher ground. Yeah, right! Whoever, in their right minds, will pass up an opportunity to thrash a few undead in a zombie-centric game? But it's just a suggestion since combat is only optional.
The Art of Crafting and Improvisation
From the time it was first brought out in the open, Techland specifically put a lot of importance on the crafting system of the game. Crafting weapons and improvising upon them will save you more than once and let you live to fight another day. But things might seem quite difficult at start, as far as crafting is concerned.
We have just started with the game, and already the crafting mechanism is quite a challenge. Whatever miniscule and weakling weapon we have crafted so far lasts every three zombies, before they either break off or hang back in need of instant repair. Repairing, however, won't be that big an issue since you will find spare parts all around the vast open world.
In order to get more stamina, you will need to level up. Without that, you will surely remain weakened and withered at the end of every fight, leave alone taking a few blows in reply to the ones you give. It surely is an ordeal when you are starting off, but it gives you a clear idea of how to escape any such uncomfortable confrontation in the future. For example, you can jump over zombies to reach your location.
If you know your way out of the oncoming horde of the undead, there's nothing better. And call us crazy, but we have actually found out that it's easier to evade getting killed by the undead if you run headfast toward them, but only to leapfrog the mass in the last minute. Better yet, you can distract and redirect the brain-dead undead into traps set up by other survivors. Read: Use firecrackers.
Open World Environment
The slums of Harran are as equally groddy as their undead inhabitants. However, they aren't really distinct from each other. As far as we have seen, one ridged-tin rooftop looks quite the same like the other. While Techland has certainly maintained the dynamism side of the game, a tad bit of work was also needed to make the world a bit alive.
You will be constantly required to save trapped survivors from zombie attacks while you take a stand against the Virals (unfortunate ones who recently turned into zombies) who seem almost human and remain somewhat acute to what's happening around them. But all the equations change when night sets in. That's the time you don't want to be get caught outside.
We have just managed to reach our first night time gameplay, and things are already looking intense with the zombies getting tougher. Not only do they look charged up, they turn more acute and fast. But that's about it for now. We will be reporting on what happens in the game at night tomorrow in our Day 2 coverage of Dying Light.
Dear Reader: Keep a lookout for the Day 2 report on the Dying Light as we will be talking about the night time gameplay. Watch out this space for further development.