Dying Light Review
PS4 | Xbox One | PC
Dying Light Box Art
System: PC, PS4*, Xbox One
Dev: Techland Games
Pub: Warner Bros.
Release: January 27, 2015
Players: 1 (2+ Online)
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
Can You Survive Dying Light?
by Travis Huber

Ok. So anyone who knows me knows that I love a good zombie game. They also know that I love a good FPS title. But with the exception of the Left 4 Dead series of games, I rarely have found a first-person zombie fest that has kept my attention. Well, for those of you who find yourself in the same predicament, I have found your solution. Dying Light has brought back the fun of a great survival horror game and even added in a little different twist to it.

The game starts with a news briefing about the city of Harran that has been infected by an unknown virus. So the government decided to build a hasty wall around the city and quarantine everyone in it. The only trouble is that the rest of the world started helping the ones who had survived and were trapped inside the quarantine wall. They air-dropped food, supplies and most importantly, antizen. Antizen is the medication that helps keep you human longer once you’ve been bitten by an infected person. But in order to get the antizen that gets dropped in, you have to fight your way through a growing number of zombies that are very keen to motion on their level and sound. They like to pack up and chase down whatever piques their interest.

That’s where things get a little fresh. For those of you who loved Mirror’s Edge, you can rest easy knowing that you have found a new home for intense, first-person parkour action. The only two ways to survive in Harran are killing the infected or running, but you can’t just run on the streets, they belong to the infected. You have to use everything in your environment to your advantage. The traversal techniques and controls take a little getting used to, but once you do, you can mad-dash your way through the city and attack an enemy and then disappear.

The whole point of your being in Harran in the first place is to find the would-be leader of the city, who has gone rogue and stolen top-secret documents concerning the origins of the virus as well as the early-stage vaccine trials. So you parachute your way into town, only to land and get your ass kicked by some locals. Then you get saved by someone else after you uncork a couple of pistol rounds that bring the zombies in herds. You get rescued by a guy and a girl and the guy dies trying to save you. Once you get to safety, you realize that you have infiltrated a survivor and now switch to using them as a cover so you can work your way in close to the leader and the documents. But will you view things the same way as you near your objective? Well, you’ll just have to find out for yourself.

Dying Light Screenshot

Now that the story bit is out of the way, let’s talk shop for a minute, beginning with the most evident thing, the graphics. I have to tell you that I am truly blown away by how gorgeous this game looks. From every angle and every vantage point, the sprawling, desolate city has been created in vivid detail and the lighting effects help to create a sense of realism to your plight that can even make you feel a little like this event could actually happen. Or at least, if it did happen, this is what a decimated major city would look like. There were a few framerate issues during early gameplay, but they could have been due to the fact that the game was installing while I was playing it. But even still, the issues were there. However, apart from this one little thing, I found no other fault with the graphical content. Animations were fluid and timely and well-synced with the voice audio and atmospheric audio.

And since we’re on the topic of audio, let’s get deeper into that. The voice acting is top-drawer for this title. Seriously, this is some of the better voice acting I have heard in a long time. The voices aided in fleshing out the characters and made them memorable–which is a good thing since you spend most of your time listening to them on a radio, rather than actually seeing them. Beyond the voice audio the soundtrack is incredibly well done. It helps to add to the overall effect of whatever is going on at the moment but is ambient enough to not become a distractor. There was a time or two that I thought things got a little loud, but that’s a personal thing more than a technical issue. So overall, I think that the audio couldn’t have been any more spot-on than it was.

Dying Light Screenshot

Next let’s talk control. As previously stated, this game introduces a first-person parkour traversal system that can either be a huge asset, or your worst nightmare. I am not going to lie to you–if you have never played a game in first-person with super-fast movements and vertical movement as well as horizontal, you may be in for a surprise. You might even need some Dramamine before attempting this one. The pacing is frenetic at best when you are trying to escape the hordes of undead while trying to secure food and supplies. The controls take a little bit to get used to and I feel like some of the buttons are a little counter-intuitive in their placement (but that may be because I have been playing a solid amount of Assassin’s Creed IV lately as well). Be that as it may, once you get the hang of it, you can literally fly your way through line after line of traversals that will put a huge amount of distance between you and your assailants.

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