Hearing about Dying Light 2 being nominated for the Golden Joystick Award in the ‘Most Wanted Game’ category alongside other major upcoming titles such as Cyberpunk 2077 and The Last of Us Part II, I felt the itch to jump back into the original Dying Light and play through what is undoubtedly one of the greatest titles of this generation once again.
And twenty hours into my third playthrough, this game is still as phenomenal as it was when I first put my hands on it, and my hopes for its sequel are higher than they have ever been.
If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of fans that played this game when it came out, then you don’t need any convincing as to why this game is so special. You’ve probably already played this game to death.
But if you’re one of the uninitiated, or are simply waiting for the release of Dying Light 2 to jump into the series for the first time, I’m here to tell you that you are doing yourself a massive disservice. And with still around 5 months to go until the release of the sequel, this is the perfect time to jump into the original.
Speaking purely in terms of gameplay, this is the epitome of Open World Zombie games. The melee combat here is one of the most satisfying things you will ever experience in gaming, and its been built upon the foundations laid out by two of the developer’s previous fantastic Zombie games: Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide.
It’s weighty, intuitive, and so very satisfying, with blows knocking back zombies or dismembering them in the most gruesome manner imaginable. This isn’t like Skyrim where attacks are shrugged off as if they never connected in the first place, here each and every attack is felt by the player, and its impact is immediate.
Add to that the vast arsenal of creative, and deadly, homemade weapons, traps, grenades and gadgets that you can craft, and you have a combat loop that never gets old even after hours of swinging the same bloody sickle.
The Parkour in the game similarly is one of the best movement systems in any first-person title, allowing a skilled player to traverse the entire map without ever slowing down even for a second. It’s a little tricky at the start, but once you get used to it, walking in other games feels like a chore. There’s also the grappling hook that comes into play later in the game, but I think it’s workings are pretty self-explanatory.
Dying Light is also capable of being one of the most unnerving games out there, because when the sun goes down, your role in the world changes dramatically. Darkness is the domain of the Volatiles, and once you see the light begin to fade, your best chance at survival is to run for shelter. Defeating one of the Volatiles during the earlier hours of the game is nearly impossible, and players are encouraged to run and hide instead of fighting. It’s a completely different experience to what we play through in the morning.
This day and night mechanic is one of the best things about this game in my opinion, and it’s just one of the many different parts that makes it special.
Also of note is the fact that Dying Light isn’t simply one of the best titles of this generation, it actually also has one of the best DLC Expansions of this generation as well.
Dying Light: The Following is almost a complete game itself, with a massive new map to explore, a new Buggy vehicle with its own upgrade tree to unlock, new weapons and a fantastic new plotline that far exceeds the one in the base game. This easily adds upwards of 35 hours of additional content to the game, and it should be a template for how to do DLC well.
Best of all, the developers supported the game for years after release with free quality of life improvements, content updates and events, the most recent of which was held on 28th August, 2019. There’s way more content present in the base game now then there ever was at release.
Techland committed a lot of time and effort to this game well past the point that most other developers would have these days, and that effort is reflected in the massive fanbase the studio has now cultivated. They have also confirmed that that they intend to support Dying Light 2 similarly for up to 4 years after release, which is really nice to see.
So as I said before, this is the best time to pick up this game. Because if Dying Light 2 turns out to be as amazing as it’s shaping up to be, going back afterwards will be much much harder.
It’s still gonna be a fantastic game no doubt, but why not give it a shot right now?