Dying Light Review

After being hired by the GRE(Global Relief Effort) to retrieve an incredibly important file, you get sent smack-dab into the middle of Harran, a small city in turkey. For someone of your skills, it should be an easy task, but with the outbreak of a zombie-like virus in Harran and the fact that you’ve just been infected makes it a hell of a lot harder. Dying Light is a first-person action survival horror game that was released by Techland in 2015. Although its story falls a bit short, the gameplay makes this game a great experience. (This review contains minor spoilers about the first 5 minutes of gameplay, though I doubt you care.)

Your name is Kyle Crane. After being discharged from the United States Military and working as a mercenary for a couple years, you get hired by the GRE to retrieve an important file. This file is currently being held by Kadir Suleiman in Harran. While arriving in Harran, you get into a bit of conflict with one of the local gangs and end up being bitten by one of the infected. Now on top of getting the file for the GRE, you have to make sure you get enough Antizin, a suppressant for the virus, to make sure you don’t turn into the very zombies you’re trying to fight. The story isn’t all that special and compared to some of the games I’ll eventually be reviewing, it doesn’t even hold a candle to it. All of the important twists and turns that the game presents are all pretty expected, and you won’t really be surprised about anything that happens. The game at least makes you care about the characters a little bit, which does deserve some credit. Overall though, you don’t expect a masterpiece of storytelling while playing this game.

The gameplay of Dying Light is where it really redeems itself from its lackluster story. Most of your time in Dying Light is spent either fighting zombies, running around, or skipping cutscenes, and although running around doesn’t sound like that fun of an activity, in Dying Light, it most definitely is.

The parkour and in Dying Light is so fun to mess around with, and it gives you a lot of control over what you want to do and where you want to go. Unlike some games, e.g. some Assassin’s Creed Games, you aren’t locked into parkour animations, and every action you do while running around is yours to decide. There is nothing in this game that isn’t climbable or parkourable(if that’s a word), and it feels like the entire map was built around the game mechanic of freerunning/parkouring.

What goes great with the movement system is the combat. At the start, you’ll mostly just be hitting zombies with whatever melee weapon you can find that does the most damage, dodging an attack, and going in for another hit. However, by leveling up and gaining new skills you evolve into a master of combat: jumping off of zombies’ heads, drop-kicking several zombies off a roof, killing zombies, killing zombies in a variety of ways, and it never gets old. The weapons you use are also incredibly well made. Every hit to the zombie can dismember them, cause them to be stunned, take off their head, among a variety of other things.

What’s fun about the gaining of skills in this game is how you really feel like your character is getting better as you are getting better. You start to path your freerunning across the city more efficiently, and by leveling up during this, Crane becomes even faster. All of your animations, your stamina, your tankiness, they all improve. The only real problems in the gameplay are what brings it down to an A-tier level instead of an S-tier. A minor issue is that the enemy variety is a bit lacking. You have regular zombies, fast zombies, spit zombies, exploding zombies, REALLY fast and dangerous night zombies, and chunky zombies. Although there aren’t that many, it still does provide enough variety to not get bored while fighting zombies. It still is an issue nonetheless. The other problem is the missions in the games. Many of the missions are just fetch quests or “travel to this location” quests. Of course, the process of getting there is really fun but they aren’t inventive in any way. Overall the gameplay aspect of Dying Light is incredibly fun and is basically what redeems the game.

The graphics in Dying Light look pretty good. They aren’t going to blow your mind, but they are pretty good for the time that they game out in. What helps the JimJam Graphics Score™ is the scenery the game is set in. Techland did a great job of creating a city that looks like it was lived in, and the surrounding area looks very well done as well. This game can provide for some pretty nice screenshots if that’s an added bonus for you. Not Cyberpunk 4K on a 3080 level graphics, but it’s still pretty good for what it is.

The music in Dying Light is also really nice. It doesn’t have the bangers that I gave examples for in FTL, but it does have a nice list of songs that you may be humming to yourself after a playthrough. The only real problem that I have with the music is that there isn’t enough of it. I can only think in my head of a couple tracks, that I really don’t even know the name of, that are in the game. It has pretty great music, but not an incredible amount of it.

I may be a bit biased for this one, the reason being I play through the game about once a year. Since the story isn’t what holds this game together, the game is incredibly replayable to just experience the joy of what combat and movement Dying Light bring. The game isn’t a roguelike, so it wasn’t really made to be played again and again, but it still is fun to do so. The game also allows you to continue on for high levels, slowly improving different skills that you have with what the game calls a “legend” skill tree. This normally artificially expands the amount of gameplay by just adding levels, but since the gameplay is so fun it gets a pass.

So, the big question of the day, should you buy Dying Light? Maybe. If you’re a fan of zombie games and somehow don’t own this, I’d say this is an easy buy, and if you like action games without much story, I’d also suggest it to you. Dying Light 2 has been delayed multiple times, but will hopefully come out sometime soon, and if you want to support the developers so they can continue to improve on this great gameplay, you can buy a copy with a code: 20roff for 20% off at checkout. I’m kidding of course but that would be pretty cool if I got that to happen. There are DLCs, but the only thing you need to know is that “The Following” DLC is the only worth it one. 8/10 JimJam Seal of Approval.

Review
  • A game that fans of zombies can get behind
    7.6Total Score

    If you're a fan of zombie games and somehow you don't already own this, what have you been doing? This is an action game has a plethora of customizable weapons and skills to hack and slash through enemies with. I'd also suggest giving this a buy.

    There is a large selection of Downloadable Content available, but I would say that "The Following" is the only one worth getting.

    • Graphics
      75
    • Music
      80
    • Gameplay
      85
    • Story
      55
    • Replayability
      85
Analysis

Enjoyable gameplay with the huge variety of weapons with both combat and movement systems complementing each other. The design of the the war torn landscape seems believable with the music adding ambiance despite the small selection. Although the story is a bit lacklustre, it is well worth coming back for the zombie slaying.

    • The Good
      • Combat System
      • Movement System
      • Enjoyable music to slay zombies to
      • Lots of Skill customization
      • Scenery Design
    • The Bad
      • Lacklustre Story
      • Few mission types
      • Small music selection
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