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Dying Light (Video Game Review)

By : Amanda Dyar on Thursday, January 29, 2015 | 3:56 PM

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dying Light is a new franchise from Techland. The new release holds many strong resemblances to Techland's other major franchise, Dead Island, though Dying Light seems to purposely take itself much more serious in both gameplay and narrative. This results in less comic book style fights and gives players more reasons to fear waves of enemies and night time exploration. On the other hand, the dark toned storyline falls laughably flat early on and makes sitting through cutscenes more a chore than a pleasurable experience. Dying Light is still a fun game to play, but it definitely has some issues.

The storyline of Dying Light centers around Kyle Crane who is sent into the zombie infested city of Harran. The protagonist manages to infiltrate the city and clash with the dangerous leader of the country with a plot that feels similar to recent Far Cry releases with more zombies and much less memorable characters. Despite featuring voice acting from the likes of Nolan North, Troy Baker and Roger Craig Smith, the game's characters are uninspired and forgettable. After a while, players will simply want to skip the story and get back to free running through Harran and completing side quests and main story missions.

Dying Light's storyline is easily forgettable, but the game blends a number of enjoyable gameplay elements popularized in other great games to make Dying Light a fun experience. The game utilizes a stamina based combat system played from the first-person perspective. Players will mostly fight with melee weapons, and each swing takes a chunk of stamina to use the attack. Likewise, players will use stamina to run, jump and roll their way around levels to avoid enemies and reach new areas. Weapons in the game are destructible, so there is a real sense of survival horror and inventory management elements as well.

Early in the game, players will easily run out of stamina, not deal a whole lot of damage to enemies with each hit and easily run out of weapons and other helpful items. Dying Light incorporates fun RPG elements that have become so commonplace in recent video games. Players will earn experience points, level and gain new abilities and statistical boosts necessary to progress through the game. There are three skill trees that give players better agility, power or survivability, and exploring each tree to customize characters a different way makes the game unique and fun for each player.

After completing an opening tutorial, players can choose to play online with up to four players in a single game. Dying Light works like the Dead Island series in this way with one player completing story missions and all players gaining experience and loot for progressing through the game. Teaming up in Dying Light is a lot of fun and makes trotting from one location to another a lot more fun than going at things solo. It's also worth mentioning the versus like game mode that allows players to invade others' games as powerful zombies. This mode is fun as well, though it isn't nearly as exciting as some of the best first-person multiplayer games currently in the industry.

Dying Light has a large amount of content that will last most players at least 20 hours. The game's main campaign is only about half of the fun available for players to experience in Dying Light; there are over 100 different side quests and some hidden collectibles to see in the game. More replayability is added to the game with the different multiplayer modes, and multiple skill trees encourage players to experience the game with different skills and abilities. Additional content is scheduled to come to Dying Light post launch, though we will have to wait and see how much value fans will ultimately get out of the new game.

Dying Light is a gorgeous game across multiple platforms. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game featured a locked framerate at 30 fps, while the PC counterpart is capable of a full 60 fps and is easily the best looking version of the game available. No matter which version of the game is being played, Dying Light looks great and seems to have only the rarest graphical glitches and issues while playing. Exploring the world of Harran is a blast at first with a shaky camera while running that adds a real sense of urgency when running from enemies and attempting to get to a safe zone before night falls, though skipping through to the morning does become repetitive after a while. The game also tends to recycle many buildings and environmental pieces to create its world, though there are plenty of walls, crates, stacks of garbage and other items that seemed to be placed with care in order to enable the player to easily parkour through stages at a fun pace.

Dying Light has issues that include a very bland storyline and some repetitive mechanics that become obnoxious after spending a large amount of time with the game, but the title is ultimately an enjoyable experience that fans of the open world action genre will be able to appreciate. Dying Light incorporates a variety of fun mechanics seen in other popular games, and nearly every idea in the game is used well and helps propel the game forward with very nice pacing. Dying Light is also a pretty game that pushes the power of next generation consoles and features a world that is fun to explore. Dying Light is out now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

Dying Light is now available from all major retailers and can be purchased for the MSRP of $59.99 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Dying Light is rated M by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence & Strong Language. For more information on the game, check out the official Dying Light website.

Game Features:
  • Online Multiplayer 1-4
  • Multiple Skill Trees and RPG Mechanics
  • Online Leaderboards
  • DLC Support
  • Trophy/Achievement Support

Game Information:
Developer: Techland
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One (reviewed) & PC
Release Date: January 27, 2015

Score: 7.5 out of 10
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