Zombies in games have been prevalent for quite some time now, more so than ever before with the genre becoming one of the revived and lasting trends of this decade. Dying Light offers more zombies, blood, and skull smashing weapons to the already expansive selection of titles for this generation of gaming.
Developed by the same company as the generally less praised Dead Island, Dying Light offers similarly the same qualities of its counterpart, though much more refined and enjoyable. You play as Kyle Crane, an undercover agent working for the Global Relief Effort (GRE), sent to the city of Harren after a mysterious outbreak forces the city into a quarantine zone, in order to recover a file from terrorist threat, Rais. The setup for the story isn't the most interesting; in fact, the narrative is the weakest part of the game. Throughout its entirety, nothing came as a surprise, just more of the same thing from previous zombie-based games and film. Even the characters, who were more-or-less established beings in the universe, failed to stand out in a way to make them memorable.
Where the story truly lies—though optional—are the various quests you can choose to take during the course of the main campaign. It’s these missions that paint a clearer picture of Harren and its world, and its few inhabitants that are left to fend for themselves. These events range from simple fetch quests, to killing a number of zombies, to reuniting loved ones with each other; it various, and doesn't feel like the same task has been presented to you multiple times; Race challenges, treasure hunting, and zombie waves are more of the content you can expect to find when not tackling the main story.
Optional quarantines, relief package, and reduce events are also available that bestow players with large amounts of experience points, money to purchase items, and at times powerful weapons that are special to these missions. There is always an incentive to finish these side-quests, if not for the scenario they present already.
The true experience of this game is the combat, which is broken down into three different skill trees that branch out into multiple paths the further you progress. The Agility branch rewards players with faster speed, better stamina, and overall improved parkour and acrobatic skills needed to traverse Harren. By focusing on the Power tree, players are granted perks that boost health, allowing you to take more damage, and essential skills to finish off an enemy quickly without using your (breakable) weapon. And the Survivor trait, which can only grow by completing story missions, optional included. Not only can this branch grow by undertaking these events, but also by staying out at night when the real horror come out from beneath the city.
Included with Dying Light is a day/night system with more playable value than most other zombie infested games. Players are allowed to explore Harren at night, rewarding those who dare to venture out into the darkness. Not only do points double when out at night, it's a wonderful treat for players looking to team up with their friends during this time. More than once did I jump from my seat in fright as we explored the murky sewers and abandoned apartments. There’s definitely something here for the casual or extreme horror fan.
One of the unnecessary implementations in Dying Light is the weapon degradation system. After a certain repairs done on any given weapon, they will become unusable, so managing which weapon to use and when to use it is important—at least it should be; there are more than plenty of scattered hammers, swords and hatchets in Harren, that it ultimately doesn’t become as intimidating when you're without a weapon then you should. It becomes more of an unexpected occurrence in the long run.
In addition to co-op availability, a Be the Zombie mode is incorporated, though more as an extra mode to have fun with. Playing as the infected in an interesting take that does bring a lot of fun, but the fun doesn’t last very long. With only one type of game available, protecting your nest from human survivors, there isn't a lot of variety in terms of competition. Still, it’s a neat addition and provides more content after the main campaign has been completed.
Dying Light provides its players: fun combat, seamless cooperative gameplay, and a large city filled with tons of extra content to take part in, Dying Light does many of the things right. Despite the minimal complaints I had with the game, they definitely didn't outweigh the good. If you’re looking for an enjoyable, fast-paced zombie game with horror-esqure atmosphere, this game should be on the top of your list.
Dying Light is awarded a B+