by Johnathan Irwin
reviewed on PC
Survival Of The Fittest
Ah here we go, another zombie game, a theme with so many good and bad games it could be classified as a literal undead horde with ease. At first glance, it would be very easy to call Dying Light simply Dead Island with a parkour element. But would that be a fair statement? Yes and no. In my time in the quarantined city of Harran, I found my first opinion of the game going from a Dead Island repeat to something far deeper.
Setting The Stage
Dying Light begins with our protagonist, Kyle Crane, leaping from the back of a plane in a para-drop over Harran; a vast urban sprawl quarantined for months due to an unknown viral outbreak. Crane’s mission – to find and recover a sensitive file – quickly takes a detour after the drop goes badly and he is bitten only moments after landing. Even so, Crane continues on, working with survivors along the way in an effort to conceal his reasons for being in the city. The story overall is neither horrible, nor is it outstanding. For the most part, it’s pretty generic with a few sparkling moments during which Crane's character is given some depth. The rest of the time he’s just a designated lap dog, which made me not care about who he was but only what he could do. The same can be said for most of the characters that you encounter throughout the course of the game.
The real star, and real source of a story, is Harran itself. This fictional middle eastern city is as beautiful as it is chaotic. Scenic vistas above bloodied and horde infested streets, innumerable tight alleyways, several interiors of homes and storefronts where life ceased to be, and the list goes on. It’s a beautiful game, and a haunting setting. Things often become a blur if you parkour everywhere, but I found myself sneaking around a lot, only opting for speed when I was in a rush. I genuinely loved exploring in this game, and I found that to be one of the highest points of why I enjoy Dying Light.
Harran: Bloodied Jewel of the Middle East
By day and by night, I found myself out and about in Harran constantly hunting for loot, fighting zombies, participating in random events such as rescuing NPCs or securing air drops. Many times I had to run for my life. The game has a lot of missions and side quests to offer, but the bulk of the gameplay will be experience grinding and looking for the next big thing to add to your arsenal.
Harran’s different areas give you hours upon hours of an exploration-driven experience, something I’ve wanted for a long time in zombie game; an urban environment that feels genuine and not too uniform. The middle eastern themed city is perfect for a viral zombie outbreak scenario, and not just from a visual perspective. The city is amazing, but it’s also just a maze. From the ground level, players are met with countless twists and turns with hidden goodies around every corner. At night corners can spell potential disaster when stumbling upon the nocturnal Volatiles whose violent attacks can easily turn the game into a survival horror. From the rooftops, you are much safer and able to navigate more clearly, but you will miss out on a lot of loot that the city has to offer. The best way to play, is to not stick to one or the other but rather to blend them as needed.
Fantastic setting, beautiful visuals, great blend of combat, stealth, and parkour FPS elements.
Story is too generic, night time should last longer, weapon durability is far too rapid.