The sun has set, I hear screams in the distance as I know what is coming, the Volatile, creatures of the dark that feed on fear. The city of Haram is so much prettier during the day, besides the impending zombie outbreak and rebel take over. I now lay here in this makeshift safe house that I found on my travels, awaiting daylight. The UV lights will protect me from them, they burn when the light touches their flesh, it fries a bright orange and they scream in pain. How long will this keep them away? Who knows, but for now it works.
As I lay here in darkness I remember the events from the day, when I faced that brute dressed in a fireman uniform, I took him down and pommeled his skull in. As his screams died down I could only pray that his soul rests in piece, and that his service to the city of Haram was not in vain. I remember picking up that cricket bat, finding string and a lighter, taping it all together to make a stronger weapon. I didn’t want to set them on fire, but there is no hope left for them, all the humanity has left their body. Taking on the rebels was the worst part of the day. They are still human, yet they fight against the cause and threaten the survival of people who still hold on to hope. Humans are terrible creatures, every problem in the world is our fault. We still kill other human beings whilst our very existence is in jeopardy. Well I showed those rebels, I tossed a grenade I made into the centre of the three of them and there was nothing left when I was done. I grabbed the supply drop, it was worth it.
Tomorrow is another day, running, jumping, and using every object at my disposal to survive.
That is a typical day in Dying Light, using every mechanic that the game offers to take on zombies, humans, and the creatures of the night.
Dying Light takes everything we love from the Dead Island franchise and mashes it all up into one fast paced zombie smashing action survival. That is just during the day, at night things change. The Zombies become volatile, sure your XP is doubled, but it is a risk that you take facing them head on.
Weapons in Dying Light are the highlight of the game. You can use almost anything to take on an enemy. Weapons range in types: two handed, bats, knives, and throwing. These are all used differently and you will mould yourself into a specific weapons type. There are guns around Haram, but you will rarely find any, they just all vanished one day, mysteriously (not really).
Weapons can be upgraded and crafted as you progress through the game. Weapons that you pick up can be modded with bleed effect, extra damage, and extra durability, whereas crafting weapons is a completely different ball game. Crafting weapons is really enjoyable, you can take a simple pipe, add a blade, electricity or fire and make the ultimate killing machine! Be warned though, every weapon, be it orange, blue, green, or purple has a repair count. When this reaches zero it breaks…..forever! No, you cannot repair it, sorry.
Zombies are slaughtered easier with high powered weapons, there are also different types of zombies that you will find throughout Haram. Brutes with huge weapons, fast zombies capable of climbing up buildings to chase you, and the typical boring zombie that slugs around the streets of the city. One issue I did have with the zombie types was that there was not enough variety very often. The game would only mix up the zombies every now and then, so sometimes you would just want to take on a brute but you know that they seldom appear.
Traversing the city of Haram is one of the most fluid parkour experiences in gaming. You run, jump, and climb almost anything with ease, and it is flawless. This is refreshing considering it is a first person title, and most of the time parkour is left to third person titles like Assassin’s Creed, Shadow of Mordor, and Uncharted. Needless to say your parkour skill improves as you level up your agility skill tree. Later on in the game you will unlock the grapple hook that will pull you towards any building that you can see, if it is in a reasonable distance.
You will be the village errand boy by default, volunteering yourself for anything and everything available. You have your main quests and side quests that you will pick up from the people of Haram. The main quests will progress the main storyline, ultimately getting you closer to uncovering the secret document that you were dropped in Haram to find in the first place. Secondary quests are not all fetch and carry like other open world titles, and the nice thing about them is that you will only be taking on a few at a time, keeping the feeling of being overwhelmed with tasks at bay. While running around smashing in limbs, you might bump into events. These range from saving a survivor trapped in a house from zombies outside, helping a captive escape from a rebel group, or even race across rooftops to your goal within an allotted time. These events are put in place to keep you busy, which along with the addictive combat will distract you. I often found myself playing the game for hours without actually touching any of the quests, I just got distracted by a group of zombies over and over again.
These distractions will not be your downfall, as everything you do in the game contributes to your three skills trees. These are vital to your zombie killing, sturdiness, and traversing. The skill trees unlock new abilities like the previously mentioned grapple hook, they also increase your stamina/health, climbing speed, and my favourite the drop kick. This allows you to run, jump and drop kick a zombie to Tuesday. There is nothing like it, and once you have unlocked it, you will find yourself looking for new ways to use it, say drop kicking a zombie off the top of a tower of flats, only to watch it fall to the ground.
You can also bring some friends along to drop kick zombies from the heavens. Dying Light has a great 4 player co-op mode, where you can play the entire game with friends. The co-op challenges also mix things up by randomly starting a challenge. These range from killing a certain amount of zombies within 2 minutes, or even getting to the supply drop before your friends do. The co-op ties into the “Be the Zombie” mode. Here you can invade a player as a Volatile at night, so just when they think it is safe to go outside you will appear, pounce on their heads and eat their brains!
As I said before, a typical day in Dying Light revolves around you waking up, and doing whatever the Hell you want until the sun goes down. That is when you decide to call it a night or fight the Volatile. Luckily every mechanic in Dying Light works really well, and there is nothing that does not fit. The characters might be unmemorable, but this is a zombie game, and trust when I say that you will remember those. It is gory, addictive, and very satisfying.
Physical copies of the game will be available in South Africa from 4 March 2015. Alternatively go get it on Steam now.
The feeling that it is the end
Zombie combat is awesome
Parkour system in a FPS
Night time scares
4 player co-op
Makes us sad
Rehashed character skins
Terrible accents from voice artists
Disclaimer: We were provided with a review copy of Dying Light along with the Be The Zombie DLC. We don’t think Marco has left his house since he received it.
I usually send out a weekly mailer with a recap of blog posts but also some personal anecdotes. If you want to know about competitions or just catch up in a more personal setting then you might like to receive the mailer.