by Joel France
previewed on PC
Dying Light 2
15 years on from the events of the original, Dying Light 2 follows a new protagonist, Aiden Caldwell, making the best of life in a zombie-ridden city. There seems to be a fair amount of faction in-fighting to deal with, with renegade attacks and uneasy trade deals as a regular occurrence. The game takes place in a large, open-world style city, with 7 distinct districts that you can move seamlessly between.
Shape the city
Too often in games we’re shown that our choices have far less weight than we might like. It’s refreshing to see that important decisions taken during the story in Dying Light 2 will have a far-reaching impact on the world and your journey through it. Certain triggers can change a character’s outcome, turn a group against you, or even open up whole new areas to explore — areas you might never have got the chance to see if only you’d taken a different path. A cool feature of the online coop is the chance to visit another player’s city and see how a change in actions might have led to very different outcomes.
There’s a focus on using any and every tool at your disposal, no matter the task at hand. The moves you use to parkour yourself around the environment can be woven into combat encounters to give yourself the upper hand, whilst certain attacks or weapons can give you the boost needed to just make that jump across to the next building. When there’s no safe way down and you’re being swarmed by zombies, fear not; knock one out the window with you and you can use their body to cushion your fall. The powerful weaponry you could craft in the first game is not absent here either — though there’s been an overhaul in how certain features are implemented. Whereas in the first game any added effects of a weapon would have a random percentage chance to hit, now they come with cool downs and limitations instead, allowing you to more decisively plan your next move.
A core part of Dying Light 2 is the combat, and from what we saw in the demo at Gamescom, it’s just as flashy and crunchy as you could hope. Weapons seem to have a real weight to them, with deathblows causing a brief but satisfying slowdown, so you can savour that final impact. There’s always a chance of an ambush when you’re skulking through the dark and dilapidated buildings where zombies like to dwell, but even the UV torch you carry with you feels powerful here — a blast of a bright light accompanied by a fantastically bassy and explosive sound effect that leaves them temporarily reeling. More difficult combat encounters require ingenious solutions, and developing a counter-play strategy before you’re taken down seems to form the basis of the boss fights you’ll encounter, whether that’s using the dynamic environments against them or finding a gap in their defences where you can slip through and cause some serious damage.
Worth The Wait
Despite the quality evident in the presentation, Dying Light 2 is not slated for release until 2020, with an exact date still to be confirmed. I can only assume this means extra time for fine-tuning and polish, as the game enters its final stretch of development. If what we saw during Gamescom is any indication, there’s a great deal to look forward to — i just hope that the rest of the experience is up to the same standard.