Review: Dying Light

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Out now on Xbox One and PS4 is the fantastically addictive Dying Light, a parkour/zombie apocalypse game from the makers of the original Dead Island.

I know what you’re thinking “But I don’t like to have fun, I prefer to roll around in my misery” well you can play Escape From Dead Island while the rest of us have the time of our lives.

Dying Light improves on the previous experiments in Zombie game making exponentially, it is fun, well paced, varied and at times truly terrifying. It is also fair to say that the game is great when it’s good, but when it’s co-op it’s awesome.

Due to the 70 odd hours a week that I work and the 56 that I sleep I normally don’t get a lot of gaming in, but this month alone I have racked up over 35 hours of gameplay with my online Zombie killing buddy and if you are getting bored reading this because of a brain disorder or because you think I write like a man without individual fingers and no empathy for chronic conditions then I suggest you immediately run, jump, climb and swing your way to the closest retailer and buy Dying Light.

Now, I know this game has been out for a while and you may be wondering why I am only telling you about it now, well even now at 100% story completion and 65% overall completion I still want to play it just a bit more to be able to experience everything before I talk about it, also if I review it I have no excuse to keep playing it and I might have to review a 50 shades of grey Trivia game or something. My friend J and I have spent on average three hours a night since February 12 playing this game to death.

With watch-out-behind-you’s and what-the-hell-was-that’s bouncing all over the party-chat and I have found the first good reason to invest in an Xbox One or PS4 (probably a PS4 though, it runs this game just a teensy bit better, though the Xbox One stands up in the Dying light test better than it has in other multi-format games)

Dying Light has a relatively normal plot line for a zombie game but set slightly earlier, in that it is based quite soon after the outbreak of the virus and the city Harran is the only infected area in the world, unfortunately you have ended up there and get bitten by a zombie. A lot of the game revolves around getting more medicine to stop the infection spreading and dealing with a highly strung mafia that has sprouted up suddenly and is headed by a man called Rais. He’s the kind of guy that would eat a cake in front of a starving, weeping man even if it wasn’t his cheat day just to be mean. There are side quests all over the place, upgrading weapons is easy and not very cumbersome. Unlike Assassin’s creed there aren’t an overwhelming amount of side quests that are repetitive but enough varied ones with interesting plot lines and rewards that let you get used to the areas and everything you find is useful to you.

The most fun I have had is hitting all the Walter White looking Zombie Hazmat people in the gas canister on their back just to watch them skate around the city on their faces before exploding and bringing a rain of zombie terror on us as we laugh and throw molotov cocktails at every moving thing we see, and then I do it to my own face instead of using a grappling hook and I wait to be revived by J. The upgrades you can apply to yourself mean you eventually walk around Harran like a god, but if you are playing co-op with only two people don’t think that means you won’t still get your ass beat if you go too far into a dark tunnel. Which brings me to one of the best dynamics of the game. When it becomes night time in the game the zombies start to glow orange like the Extremis guy in Iron Man 3 and will destroy you. There’s an Trophy/Achievement for killing ONE of them for example. There are also Bolters who run away but have useful skin, disgusting ones that boke radioactive snot all over you relentlessly and some that just explode and kill you. On the positive note Xp is multiplied if you stay outside the many safe zones.

The controls are initially quite clunky, and getting into the swing of things in the tutorial level took me quite a long time, using R1 or Rb to jump for example was very strange but now I am effortlessly jumping and swinging all over Harran like David Belle. But in District 13 and not the brutal remake. I have developed a soft spot for this game and I don’t even really like first person games, or zombie games that much, I mean I do now and I will give them all more of a chance from now on, but this has been an amazing experience.

The best thing about it I think is that once we had finished what I’d thought was the whole game, I unlocked a different part of the city that was almost as big as the one I’d just left with many more treasures and ludicrously over the top violence to revel in.

The downloaded version at least, can be glitchy from time to time, and you may find yourself floating through the floor or getting stuck in a door. But it’s only happened twice since launch day for me and I’ve put away 40 hours at least as I say. If any parents out there are fond of ignoring committees of censors and psychologists who advise against giving your young children insanely violent or scary games, this is the one to do it with. For everyone else, this is the reason to upgrade, get a big TV get a friend from somewhere and play Dying Light until daylight appears. Dying Light is outstanding.