Dying Light Review: Failed To Reach Its True Potential, A Step Back From Dead Island In Many Areas
The game begins with you being dropped into Harran in search of a missing folder that was stolen with the potential cure for the outbreak, the problem being that it was incomplete and if that cure is made it will be toxic. It's a simple premise that leads to the introduction of the characters you will be following for the game. The thing is none of the characters are memorable and a lot of them you will hate. One of the first characters you meet, Rahim, is one of the worst characters I've ever met. The story continues this way.
Dying Light also carries on Techlands tradition of Co-Op and feels like it was made for co-op. I wouldn't recommended this game without a partner.
The Graphics are amazing though. The map is of a fairly nice size and very nicely detailed (the image below shows the first half of the map). Standing on a roof and looking over the map is a nice part of the game and seeing the wind blow through the grass and tress is great. But it lacks variety where every corner you turn is a street and shacks. The detail also carries over to the zombies as well with the shuffling corpses having a scary amount of detail with missing limbs and skin falling off. The dismemberment is also a highly amusing shout out.
Moving more onto the gameplay, the leveling up and upgrades has changed a lot since Techlands last game with there now being 3 attributes to level up as you play. Survival, power and agility, each with their own skill tree. It's an interesting take and seems good but it involves a whole load of useless upgrades and padding which it doesn't need. There also doesn't feel like a progression in the game that feels satisfying as other games. From what I can tell zombies don't have a level and do not scale to you so there just 'there' and that's it.
When it comes to the combat it definitely has seen an upgrade from Dead Island with each hit being visceral and heavy, hitting with a good hit, unfortunately if you have a favorite weapon make sure you have a couple as weapons can only be repaired a number of times. It also feels a lot more strategic with you having to assess the environment and keeping tabs on where the enemies and escape routes are. The free running is also another disappointing feature. It just doesn't seem finished, you will run and jump to reach a ledge that is easily reachable and you will just fall to your death. This is easily noticeable during the climbing tower sequences where is so noticeable how bad the climbing and jumping is it very nearly ruins the moment. As a side note the jump being mapped to R1/RB (PS4/Xbox One) is ridiculous! Why can you not change the Ping move on X/A to R1/RB.
Good Night, Good Luck was the motto for the promotional campaign for dying light and is something that just does not live up to what was said. For the first 2 hours (depending on player speed) it is not dynamic and will not change to night and the first night is tied to a mission. After this it does become dynamic but you will wish it hadn't. The game becomes excruciatingly hard at night and a moment where the bad controls come to their own!
This is a game that just doesn't reach its true potential. In many areas it's a step back from Dead Island where the fun gameplay is held back from the seriousness of what's happening and the harsh reality they have tried to set up.