One of the more interesting aspects of 'Dying Light' is the expanding skill tree that you can upgrade with points. If you juice up your vaulting skill then you'll find yourself able to run, jump, and push your way through zombies.
'Dying Light' on the PlayStation 4 is one of the newer horror games to hit the next generation of consoles. Developed by Techland, a Polish company, the game was published by Warner Bros. The game came out to much fanfare thanks to its unique art style and penchant for really selling the jump scares that are so important to the horror genre. The game was released in January of 2015 and combines many different gameplay elements. With its unique setting, interesting gameplay quirks, and promising storyline..'Dying Light' may be one of our most surprising success stories in recent years.
In 'Dying Light' players will take on the role of Kyle Crane, a secret operative that is sent to the city of Harran in order to infiltrate its quarantine. Harran is a fictional recreation of real life ancient Turkey. His mission in the game is to find a man by the name of Kadir "Rais" Suleiman, a rogue political figure who has control of some sensitive data that could threaten the standing of his agency. Things soon go to the wind as Crane is forced to deal with a viral outbreak that is turning most of the city into ultra aggressive, angry zombies. It is this twist, that could be so tired out by now, that makes the game interesting. By laying the political machinations down first we are given a glimpse of a story that does not rely on horror tropes. Then once we get to see that zombies are at hand, all of the craziness that is unleashed afterwards becomes even more invigorating.
The incomparable Kyle Crane.
Kyle Crane is the sort of guy any regular person really wants to be. Taking influences directly from games like 'Assassins Creed' and 'Far Cry', Crane becomes a free running, city hopping, man on a mission. He is a secret agent with secrets of his own. He is a layered and dynamic character that brings to the forefront of our mind the questions that we must ask ourselves: how would we handle this situation? As the story unfolds and things become darker, Crane has to make increasingly difficult decisions. Crane bothers his initial mission and begins working with a group of rogue survivors. Ignoring orders from his agency CO, who would bomb the whole city if he was given the button to press, sets Crane on a wild mission that could get the best of him.
An uneven fight.
When you first start the game Kyle Crane is nothing if not beatable. He lacks longterm stamina and running seems a chore for the character. This could have been a clear decision by the production crew in order to level out gameplay difficulty, but it just feels a bit fake to us. Why should this secret agent get tired after a 50 yard sprint? Crane also suffers from serious fatigue when using his melee weapons, which consist of pipes, knives, and other small items. These don't do much damage to zombies and are far more effective against your living, breathing enemies. The melee combat, which should be so easy to get correctly, is a big point of contention for many critics in the game. Your hits don't always feel on point and aiming seems of little use. We hate to use the word 'floaty' but it seems to be the common issue with hand to hand combat. Nothing feels 'devastating'. Everything feels like a random blow, almost like its being calculated by a roll of the dice rather than your precise decision to aim for their head.
After your first few hours of gameplay you will find yourself arming up with better and better weaponry. You can find blueprints around the city as well as the materials you need in order to craft them. This portion of the game feels like a more laid back and realistic version of the popular mall-zombie game, 'Dead rising'. Get used to these blueprints as they will be the one way you can most assuredly put yourself ahead of your enemies. Guns are rare in this game and they are not to be wasted when you get your hands on them. You might go for hours at a time without holding one or getting a chance to fire. But when you do, try and get the shotgun. The no nonsense close-up shooting makes for an efficient way to get people killed.
The skill tree.
One of the more interesting aspects of 'Dying Light' is the expanding skill tree that you can upgrade with points. If you juice up your vaulting skill then you'll find yourself able to run, jump, and push your way through zombies. There are a host of skills that will help you out that don't involve simply killing your enemies, and they are absolutely worth an early look. Of course the combat skills are wonderful. Being able to smash in an opposing zombies head with a pipe wrench is pretty satisfying. A dropkick from the top of a car is equally entertaining as well.
On the whole though you should be more interested in working with your stealth in order to accomplish your goals. While 'Dying Light' absolutely caters to the hack 'n slash inclined, it is still a far more interesting experience if you choose to go slow and make tactical decisions. Even when you don't opt to go for the stealthy approach, you still have to be smart about how you choose to engage your enemy. Though you can juice up your skills you will never get to a point where you can take your hordes of enemies lightly, like in 'Shadow of Mordor'. The game doesn't let you become a juiced up God of war. You just get a little better and then a little better more.
'Dying Light' on the PlayStation 4 is an interesting entry into what could be construed as a rapidly tiring genre. The game gives its players reasons to go slowly and stealthily but it also rewards them for changing up their style. The story of the game is interesting and unique and we found the experience to be enjoyable, despite some combat related flaws.