Dying Light

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 18:32 -- optimistic

Dying Light is an upcoming first-person survival horror game from the Polish developers at Techland, the creative minds behind the Call of Juarez and Dead Island video game series. Slated for release in 2014 for both current and next generation consoles, Dying Light is another zombie killing simulator with a few interesting twists to make the overall package feel fresh. Well, fresh for a zombie at least. Published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, the game will feature multiple protagonists with the option of teaming up with your friends via co-op mode for the ultimate survival experience against a horde of undead enemies.

If that tagline sounds a little dead to you (tee-hee), it’s probably because you’ve seen the exact same sell on Dead Island, which promised an immersive experience on the tropical island of Banoi. Techland delivered a fun and buggy game that had the potential to be so much more than a simple first-person stabby-stabby and shooty-shooty game. The sequel to Dead Island delivered much of the same and it was a dark moment for zombie fans everywhere, especially since they didn’t bother fixing any of the bugs present in their previous game.

Dying Light seems to be Techland’s answer to the lukewarm reception given to their previous undead series. How do I know? They’ve integrated parkour moves into the game and parkour makes everything better. No, that was not sarcasm.

They’re Dying to Meet You
Dying LightDying Light relies on an open world concept that allows players to free-run in an urban environment where they can jump from rooftop to rooftop in order to avoid the chase of zombies. It’s also one of the main mechanics in this game that separates it from Dead Island. Players are expected to use every piece of the South American landscape to their advantage, which includes knocking down zombies into spiked fences or leading them on a wild goose chase through the favelas. Since there are no predetermined paths in the game, survivors can improvise while they parkour through the city.

Players won’t be running away from just the undead as they progress through Dying Light. There are certain mission objectives and side quests that will require human interaction with armed mercenaries and soldiers who probably just want to hug you with their rifles. Players can choose to fight these human obstacles head-on with their inventory of “enchanted weapons,” run away like a bitch to fight another day, or in some cases even ignore the soldiers’ activities entirely if it does not concern the current objective. Techland wants to give players a totally open world where mini-events come and pass without the player knowing or caring if they don’t want to get involved.

Speaking of “enchanted” weapons, there is a crafting system in Dying Light that is similar to Dead Island’s workbenches. A player can find the necessary parts scattered around the world to turn their machete into a super-electrified machete with a small battery and some duct tape. Although the exact details of the crafting system have yet to be revealed, Dying Light will provide upgradeable melee weapons to satisfy the need to run around the shanty town looking for crafting items. Depending on the how well you crafted a melee weapon and where you hit the zombie or soldier, an x-ray visual effect will trigger showing an enemies internal organs getting punctured and bones breaking for a satisfying kill.

Fear the Dead of Night
Arguably one of the best selling points for Dying Light is their dynamic day and night cycle, which alters the behaviour of enemies and makes the whole parkour thing kind of a big deal if you’re trying not to get eaten.

During the day, the zombies are a little more docile because they apparently fear the sun. It’s a bully. Players will be able to traverse through the streets of their urban wasteland to find items and probably rob from dead people. Some of the dynamic events like rescuing people from abandoned apartment complexes and attacking supply caravans guarded by mercenaries will take place during the day. You’re essentially given the opportunity to upgrade your weapons and find health items to survive the night. This is your preparation phase to make it into the next day because once the sun goes down, you become the hunted. I acknowledge how cheesy that sounded.

When night approaches, the zombies and the mercenaries become the least of your worries. A new type of enemy emerges that was described as a “hulking bipeds with mandibles” and hunts down the player with enhanced senses. During this time, the player’s best bet is to travel around the city very, very quietly because once one of those super-zombies sees you, it’s a race to see whether you have awesome parkour skills or you like dying.

It’s an interesting mechanic and I have no doubt there will be crucial gameplay and storyline elements that only take place at night. I’m also going to assume there will be a mechanic incorporating the flashlight seen in official screenshots that will somehow scare the shit out of the super-zombies. Either way, it looks like Techland has made a conscious effort to differentiate from the massive kill-fest that is the Dead Island franchise and maybe, just maybe put a little scare into this cramped genre again.

Delicious, Delicious Brains
If Techland can successfully blend an interesting crafting and RPG-like system into Dying Light while emphasizing the need to strategically plan encounters, this game could be another hit for the Polish developer. Then again, if the game is forgiving to players who just love killing zombies without any planning outside of clicking and clicking and clicking, there will undoubtedly be negative comparisons to its other undead franchise. Here’s hoping this zombie apocalypse comes with a new coat of bloody paint.

Article by - Collin Mak
Insert Date: 06/06/2013

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