Release Date: 1/27/2015
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Zombie games are everywhere now, but they have also gotten better over the years. Zombies are probably the most iconic horror character ever, and most everyone is fascinated by them. However, a new fascination has started coming around: What would happen if we truly and honestly were hit by a zombie apocalypse? Gone are the campy days of old horror films where zombies were just scary and cool. People are even getting down to the nitty-gritty science of zombies and it’s now showing up in video games. Dying Light is probably of the better zombie games out there, and for sure the best open world one.
You play as a man named Kyle Crane who is working for the GRE, a group tasked with finding a cure in ground zero of the zombie outbreak. The story actually doesn’t get interesting until towards the end of the game. The actual story missions are quite entertaining and well put together. My favorite moments were chase sequences as these got very intense and pretty scary. Despite all this, the characters are a little weak and disappointing. The main antagonist, Rais, had potential in the beginning by being a sick twisted ass with a God complex, but in the end, he became cliché and it all went downhill. Other characters are bit parts and aren’t as strong as other open world characters such as Fallout or The Elder Scrolls or even Mass Effect. They feel generic, forgettable, and honestly nothing all that interesting is going on in this world besides zombies.
That’s what I have to gripe about the most. Dying Light had a lot of potentials to create some great lore around this fictional area and develop some memorable characters, but instead went the route of just getting as many missions out there as possible and relying on the open world itself. There is just so much potential here. The world itself is well put together and huge. There are some unique areas where pieces of the story could be told, but the developers just bypassed this all together.
With that said, the combat is actually quite satisfying. This isn’t a game in which you kill everything in sight. The whole point is to run away and survive. Sometimes you will run across a bridge that has nearly a hundred zombies. It’s best to just run on top of the cars and stay away. The whole game is in the first person, so the combat is similar to Dead Island or even The Elder Scrolls. There are many different types of weapons you can create or buy and the ones with mods are the most fun to use. Slicing off a zombies head is satisfying as well as jumping over a zombie to escape an entire horde. I actually like how the game forces you to only fight when the opportunity is right. Night time is the most dangerous and when fighting is probably mostly avoided. Dangerous volatile zombies that are extremely hard to kill will chase you down in the dead of night. I mostly avoided the night-time unless a quest required me to be in it. It also helps add to the atmosphere and I was usually shit scared and very paranoid when traveling at night. There are guns in the game, however, using them is very dangerous since faster more deadly zombies will hear the sounds and surround you. Shooting is very satisfying in the game, but it’s best used for isolated areas where runners can’t respawn.
Once the player reaches level 12 you can unlock a grappling hook which is essential in traveling vast parts of the game. It has a two-time use than a 10 second cooldown, but it sure comes in handy when escaping hordes of zombies or traveling large distances. With all this combined Dying Light has a great world to explore despite how generic it may feel. Everything does get better towards the end of the game as you can use more powerful weapons and fighting zombies (even the more powerful ones) becomes easier and less like a chore.
Graphically Dying Light looks fantastic. There are some awesome lighting effects and the draw distance is amazing. The textures are a little sketchy as well as some of the zombie models. However, the game really shows off the power of the next-gen consoles and is probably one of the best zombie games to date. Outside of the generic story, the combat is rewarding as well as leveling up your character, but I just can’t help but feel that there is something missing from this game. It feels empty and lonely but not in the way it’s supposed to feel. When it comes to multiplayer it’s nothing special and will probably be forgotten quickly. It’s fun for a little while but you probably have other multiplayer games that are much better.