Hopes and reservations: Dying Light
Hopes and Reservations is a new series that will give you my thoughts on an up coming release that i’m either looking forward to. As the titles suggest i’ll be going over what I hope the games succeeds at and what I feel the game may fail at in the execution. All my thoughts and ideas come from pre-release footage and previews that may not be representative of the finally product. Once I get the game itself and play it for myself I will be doing both a review and follow up piece to the H&R one, talking about what I got wrong and right.
With little under a week to go till the release of 2015’s first big release it seems about time for me to pontificate on Dying Light. Developed by Polish developer Techland, Dying light is very much the spiritual successor to the developers other series Dead Island. The Dead Island series is really a poor man’s Left 4 Dead, focused around melee combat and 4 player co-op. The games themselves are alright but nothing to write home about, with gameplay that gets pretty meh after a while and a story that is borderline offensive at times (Very poorly handled sexual assault scene). Still if you got some mates together it could be a laugh.
So what of Dying Light? It’s an open world first person game set in what I think is a South American city (?) The emphasis in this game is the fluid parkour system that the game is based around. With your free running abilities you can traverse the city by roof top and avoid the zombie population down below. I’ve personally always had my reservations about free running in first person games such as this or Mirrors Edge, while it can work it’s something that if done poorly leaves me feeling slightly motion sick and frustrated.
Combat is centered around melee combat as well, with the playing being forced to use makeshift weaponry to fend of the undead. Guns are as I’m lead to believe something of a rarity in the world of Dying Light and you’ll want to save those few precious shots you have for something really nasty.
As the name of the game suggests, the Dying Light is that of day light. With a full day and night cycle that really alters how the game is played. During the day, the undead are yours to fool around with, as long as your smart and aware of your surroundings you are king. However at night the game changes massively and you suddenly become the target for a form of super zombie called “Volatiles”. More like the vampires from Blade 2 than Zombies, these Volatiles are the ultimate hunter, designed to hunt and kill you. Incredibly difficult to kill by conventional means, you as the player must be careful during the nights and avoid these bastards at all costs.
I have had some experience playing Dying Light as I played a demo version of it 2013 at Eurogamer (Disclaimer: I even got a shirt) That version of course was still in alpha so many of the games systems were incomplete. I had some fun experiencing the games parkour mechanics, climbing up buildings seemed to work pretty well and the combat was meaty and satisfying.
So far I’ve been rather kind to the game haven’t I? Well here is the caveat to all the faint praise I’ve given the game so far; I’ve played Dead Island. Like Dying Light, Dead Island looked like a promising game, another one in the 2011 horde of games obsessed with 4-player co-op. But it was dull, after the first half an hour of beating rotting corpses in bikinis with a paddle I swiftly grew bored. The story such as it was was dull and uninspired, playing off every zombie Apocalypse trope in the book and this was when Zombies were still considered cool. I only got to play Dying Light for for 15 minutes and I died twice due to the Parkour not working as it should, that was of course a alpha build but I remember leaving the screen and feeling thoroughly meh. Other games I played that day such as Titanfall and Assassin’s Creed Black Flag stood out to me but Dying Light just bored me.
Of course the year or so since I played it the game will have improved. From the recent preview footage i’ve seen it looks promising, nothing groundbreaking but certainly a decent game.Dying Light is a game I can see myself getting once reviews are out and I consider it worth the investment.
What are you thoughts on the Dying Light? Looking forward to it or are Zombies not your thing? Let me know in the comments below.