E3 2014: Dying Light Hands-On Impressions
As of recent years, zombie games have been resurrected and quickly put death with a dearth of games. Seemingly coming out monthly, they provide the zombie-killing brutality but with a severe lack of progression. But, after having played Dying Light, it’s safe to say that while you still have that brain-smashing-zombie-brutality, there’s also a lot more to keep this game alive amongst the dead.
The demo was set in an area that became overrun by zombies, and it was my job to clear-out the safety zone that was just overrun. Similar to Techland’s other zombie game, Dead Island, there are instances where there’s much more formidable, boss-type foes. RIght before completing the mission, there was a zombie with a huge axe that swung it around pyramid-head style. Alone, not too hard, but with the other zombies, it provided quite a challenge. Luckily, the parkour abilities can quickly get you out of danger.
The biggest difference between Dying Light and the others in the genre is Dying Light’s Traversal. You don’t have a silly jump, and you rarely have to go hunting for stairs while zombies are hot on your track, simply hold RB on the Xbox One controller and you will traverse the environment. The free-running is very similar to Mirror’s Edge in the sense that you can’t make extraordinary leaps as you would in a game such as Assassin’s Creed. The traversal feels so smooth and changes the game in the zombie genre.
By having the free-running ability, I was able to jump down, decapitate and dismember a few zombies, all in a hard day’s work. Then I ran up a wall, onto a canopy then on top of a building, finally managing my way to safety. Or so I thought anyway. In Dying Light, once the Zombies hear you, they start coming straight after you, relentlessly. This means they will climb to get to you. During my time with the game, I never saw them climb all the way to the top of a building, but they will climb parts of a building to get to you.
Another nice feature in Dying Light is the ability to set traps. In my playthrough, the only settable trap was a car alarm, one which came in extremely helpful, if used correctly. While running past certain cars, an icon would pop-up and by hitting the corresponding button, it would set off a zombie-attracting car alarm. The technique was perfect for avoiding hordes of zombies since you won’t survive hordes in this game.
The weapons in the game are pretty standard fare for zombie killing weapons. The bat with nails is there, as is the axe, but through customization you can create some pretty useful weapons. In the demo, there was an electrified axe, which upon striking an enemy, would result in stunning them, thus allowing for follow-up attacks. The other weapon was a flaming machete that would light the enemy afire upon contact. Also included in the arsenal were items such as throwing knives and M80’s. The M80’s paired with the car alarm makes for a great destructive device.
The zombie genre of games was getting a bit bleak for a while, but with the addition of parkour, opportunities arise for a different form of gameplay that should allow Dying Light to stand apart from the competition.
Check out the E3 2014 Dying Light trailer below.
Dying Light is developed by Techland, published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and will be released on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC in February 2015.