Friday, March 27, 2015

[Review] Dying Light

Well, the review we've all been waiting for...

The review for Dying Light!

Dying Light was made by the same people who made Dead Island, which is Techland. Techland has only been around a few years, but in my opinion, have progressed a lot. A lot of people bashed on Dead Island and Dead Island Riptide, but they have to remember that those were the only games of their kind out at the time, and they still are. There are no zombie survival games out that that take the essence of Dead Island games or Dying Light even at this point, and create a whole new world around them.

But I digress. Techland is the first company of its kind to do something like they have with Dead Island and Dying Light, and I sincerely hope they keep doing what they're doing. Could have useful applications with medieval fantasy games too, that'd be a nice approach on their engine. Nevertheless, Dying Light will put you on the edge of your seat at all times. It's quite the exciting game. Techland has really hit the nail on the head with this game, for people who liked Dead Island and maybe for people who didn't. However, I did see a lot of people saying on the internet in general that Dying Light was just a re-skinned Dead Island, but I don't see that being the case here to be honest.


Anyway, let's get into the nitty-gritty. The first thing I want to go over is the story. The real meat and potatoes of the game, besides maybe the skill trees and weaponry. The story revolves around a man named Kyle Crane, but everyone refers to him as just Crane in the game. There are only a couple sentimental parts where some people refer to him as Kyle. However, Kyle Crane is an operative sent into the city of Harran to nab a file, literally a paper file, by the GRE. The GRE stands for the Global Relief Effort. The file, stolen by a man named Rais, but Rais just to his cronies and people in the city. His actual name is Kadir Suleiman, a terrorist who really, really wants to watch the world burn on his throne... presumably made of human corpses, but I don't really know for sure. However, the file is extremely dangerous, because if the chemical compound is manufactured from the file, the compound could wipe out millions of people if mass produced into bombs. Or something like that. Anyway, it's completely dangerous.

Anyway, so you're thrown in as Kyle Crane, para-dropping into the quarantine zone. At first, the city looks great, beautiful in fact. Even as you're thrown onto the ground from a crap landing, and you're beat on by Rais's thugs. You end up being saved after you shoot a gun and attract... well, zombies. You're saved by Jade Aldemir and Amir Ghoreyshi. I'll just leave it at that to not spoil the rest, but you do end up joining up with a crew, but you obviously have an agenda to the GRE, so they can't get into your way, right?

General Gameplay

Okay, so now I can start talking about the big stuff. The general gameplay and such of the game. First off, I'm going to say that unfortunately, in my opinion, the environment for the game is very bland. It seems Techland wanted to use 3 colors: the color of rust, tan, and some green for the sparse trees in the game. This is extremely bad and makes for some boring gameplay in my opinion. I get that it's supposed to be in the Middle East region, or on the outskirts of it, but dang man. However, you can still find your way around the city, most of the time. Once you start needing to go into the second part of the map, it starts sucking, because there's only one tunnel to go through until you get to a certain point in the story, where it triggers a side quest to do.


The loot system is pretty much the exact same as Dead Island. Sparing the fact that you can increase your inventory space via your Survivor skill tree, which will be spoken about a bit later here. However, loot is pretty standard fare. But, they have included way more skins for weapons and such, even if the fighting styles are... dreadfully the same for each weapon, unfortunately. But at least the weapons look awesome while you're running around and swinging them. Also there's generally been a range of loot added for crafting. Also, I should add that time does not stop when you lock-pick a box in the game. Zombies will still advance toward you and keep attempting to hit you and disrupt your lock-picking. Realistic, but annoying by far.  Also on the topic of lock-picking, most locks you come across are medium difficulty, which tend to be fairly easy, and once you’re used to the lock-picking, pretty quick. The only really tedious ones are the ones on the police vans that tend to have some good loot in them. However, the whole “lock-picking” mechanic is more like “find the section where you can turn the lock and free loot”. You don’t really have to work for it, unfortunately, it’s just tedious, as I said. However, Speaking of which...

Crafting in Dying Light is extremely easy and intuitive. You just double click on an item to craft it, and that’s it, as long as you have the base materials in your inventory. I don’t recall if Dead Island had this exact crafting function, but my gut tells me it didn’t. Also there are a ton of things to craft in this game. A lot of them are extremely helpful, and you should always try to craft the new things you get to see if they’ll be helpful to you or not. Hint: Exploding Firecrackers near the end of the game are so helpful.
Side-quests are extremely valuable in this, as they give the player an objective, while pretty much assisting in the level up process in the way of giving players something to run at, hit, and giving survivor experience at the end of the quest. All of these are extremely important in the game, as zombies tend to get more plentiful in the game later as well as having special zombies. However, they have a large variety of side-quests, some singular quests where you just go and collect stuff, and… actually, you can just play it for yourself. But some of them are extremely imaginative and well thought out by Techland. They did a great job with the side-quests in all areas.

And speaking of special zombies…
Special Zombies:
So there are a number of special zombies in the game, ranging from the basic Biter, which isn’t really a special zombie, to Screamers, which are child zombies (literally, will touch on those later in this section). The entire list is:
Biters – Basic zombie that you will run into quite often, and that there are hordes of.
Viral – A little more “advanced” than the Biters, but not in terms of the virus. Virals are people who were infected with the virus, but didn’t die to become a Biter. They are extremely speedy and run at you and catch you by surprise most of the time.
Gastank – This special infected is able to take a lot of damage, more damage than most of the Special Zombies. They carry an oxygen tank on their back, because the zombie is inside a hazmat suit. If you shoot the tank, it will explode and kill the Gastank, but the noise attracts Virals and other zombies from miles around.
Goon – Goons are extremely strong infected who use a two handed weapon, which is usually a piece of concrete on a rebar handle. It also uses its not-occupied hand as a swipe attack, to push the player away and deal damage. This is the first of the special zombies to use a weapon. They typically take a lot to take down in the beginning of the game, but as you progress, it gets much easier.
Volatile – Volatiles are the bane of the player’s existence at night. They are extremely powerful and hard to kill, and if they detect you, they make a ton of noise. They are a very, very advanced version of the zombie virus and unless you have a death wish, you are required to stealth around them and not attract them. This zombie was the reason I avoided night side-quests at all costs, as well as making sure I got back to base in time before night came. I had quite a few close calls, and failed missions, due to Volatiles.
Toad – The Toad special zombie is a zombie that spews green “phlegm” at the player. They’re mostly just annoying, and easy to take out with a weapon throw. They’re just generally a ranged special zombie.
Bomber – These special zombies always caught me by surprise most of the time, as I usually took them for normal Biters in the heat of battle, and consequently got killed. Their explosions will kill you if you get close enough, and do less damage the farther you are from them. However, if you do any sort of ranged damage to them, they will explode and damage any zombies around them.
Bolter – Bolters are a… I mean, they’re categorized as a special zombie, but in reality, they’re not going to hurt you in any shape or form. However, they do carry a special item, basically their skin, called “Bolter Tissue”, which you need to craft some decent items, and endgame weapon attachments (i.e. Heavy Fire Damage on a weapon, etc. Not modules). I didn’t pursue these much, as I didn’t feel like I needed them.
Demolisher – Demolishers are basically the “Tank” zombies from L4D. They’re big, muscular, scary, and have a tiny head, of course. They tend to do a lot of damage, but if you keep your distance when you melee them or if you’re unloading a clip from a gun on them, they go down easy.
Screamers – Screamers are small child zombies that scream, literally, and alert other zombies to your presence. That’s pretty much it. What’s interesting is how you kill them, because even if you break a zombie’s neck, it’s still going to make noises, according to normal zombie canon. However, you turn them around and break their neck, and your character goes, “Shhh, shhhh…” as Crane lays them down on the ground, as a melee attack on them. I have never actually shot one.
I am really proud of Techland for putting this zombie into the game. You don’t encounter them a lot in the game, I only encountered 3, but people can’t get around the fact that there will be children dying in a zombie encounter. People will have to kill the undead one way or another, unless they want to die themselves, whether those undead are children or not. I sincerely bash any people who don’t think this would ever be a reality if a “zombie outbreak” ever happened. And yes, I know the chances of that are extremely slim, pretty much none, but still. You go, Techland.

General UI and Mechanics of Gameplay
So let’s touch on the UI for the game. The UI is extremely good and well-kept on the screen. It’s there when you need it, and when you’re not paying attention, just trying to focus on the gameplay, it’s not. It’s extremely un-intrusive yet shows everything you’ll ever need. The inventory UI is extremely good also, but pretty unchanged from Dead Island, minus the new Modifiers and Addons stuff for weapons. Also, quest tracking on the UI is easy and efficient. It’s extremely easy to pull up a new quest to track and run towards.
The art for the gameplay is extremely well-done. The details of the environment will immerse players extremely well, as well as the weapon details. Oh, the detail to weapons is astounding. They also put in the same visual mechanic of when your weapons’ quality goes down, the visual of the weapon appears damaged also. When your weapon is broken, the weapon looks… well, broken and unusable lol. It’s actually better done than Dead Island was in my opinion. And Dead Island Riptide.
As mentioned before a bit, the game plays kind of like Dead Island. Actually, pretty much exactly like it. It’s basically a first person zombie killer game… like the Dead Island games. However, the overall gameplay is a lot better, and a lot well thought out, with cut scenes and such too. The melee combat in Dying Light is also far more satisfying than Dead Island too, by a long shot.
Quarantine Zones make for extremely challenging gameplay, and you need decent weaponry and levels to even progress through them. They throw hordes after hordes of special zombies at you as well as the normal Biters. They are extremely hard, and I only got through 2 myself. However, if you do complete them, you get a decent bit of experience in all 3 of your skill trees.
Also, the mechanics of nighttime are particularly odd. If you’re not moving around or doing anything, time doesn’t advance, or if it does, it advances at a slower rate than if you were attempting to get back to base and stuff. However, inside the base, time advances normally. Also, it seems that when you’re out and about doing stuff during the day, the daytime tends to last two times as long as the night does if you’re out and about doing stuff at night. It’s a nice mechanic to push through the night and get to play during the day more.
I believe that’s generally all for the mechanics and stuff of the game.

Character Development/Voicing/Environment
So the character development in the game is quite good. The characters obviously have their own lives going inside the city of Harran. I’m not going to bother listing all the characters here, because there are a lot, but players will appreciate the story showing that the characters don’t just “start” having lives when the player gets there. You can tell the NPCs have an agenda from the start (that being the story), and you fit like a bad puzzle piece in the beginning, that ends up morphing into a great fit for their team. But I just like how the game doesn’t really revolve around Crane, he’s just a cog in the machine that ends up making everything work, and digs through the GRE to find their true intentions.
The environment in the game tends to look like Dead Island and Dead Island Riptide. Like, not totally a copy, but I mean, there’s only so much you can ruin buildings before they start to blend together from game to game. However, they do look different from Dead Island, so they’re not just copy + pasted buildings. Also the graphic quality is a lot better than Dead Island also. Also, in the second part of the story, I kind of feel like the “climbing gameplay” is very akin to a first person Assassin’s Creed game. There’s all sorts of ledges to grab and stuff, and it’s just what it felt like to me. Also, frieakin’ sewer levels man.
Also I wanted to mention that the game does tell you that when you “use” the “last level door”, the game tells you it’s the end of the game. So if you don’t feel like you’re up to the task, you can exit the window and get better gear before you end the game. Not gonna spoil what the contents of the ending are, but needless to say, you’re gonna need some decent stuff. However, I just wanted to point out that it’s great that the game actually pointed that out when I used that door. Not very many games do that nowadays. I felt like this section was a minor environment thing, because you’re using a thing in the environment to get the message.

Well that’s pretty much it I believe. I may add more if I remember anything, but it’s just a general overview of the game. The game gets an 8/10 from me.

And now a video for you guys to enjoy of Dying Light gameplay.

Hopefully you enjoyed reading!
Buy Dying Light on here with all 3 DLCs for 28.99 Euro! (Roughly $31.99):