More Blood-filled fun | Dying Light: The Following Review
When it comes to expansions, I’m always hesitant to pull the trigger. With season passes, expansions and DLC packs flooding news feeds, email inboxes and the gaming blogosphere, the idea of worth always comes into play. After shelling out $60 for a new release title, is it worth it to spend between $20-$50 more for the additional content?Dying Light: The Following expansion is certainly one of those games that put me in such a predicament. While the base game offered up some fantastic-lengthy-parkour-zombie-killing-action, is the inclusion of a buggy, some new enemy types and a new locale enough to dish out cash to extend your stay in the Dying Light Universe? The answer is a resounding yes!
Dying Light: The Following takes place in The Farmland, which is an expansive open landscape speckled with small settlements that are flanked by a coastline on one side. Crane’s original story in the base title took place in a dense city that catered to the dashing, hurdling and grapple hooking about and was perfect for the free-running mechanic in which Techland implemented. But, can that translate to a location that is much more wide-open?
Techland capitalizes on the wide-open aspect of this new locale masterfully. The inclusion of a buggy is a fantastic idea which, for the most part, allows you to forget the fact that there’s no fast travel in the title. I say for the most part because there are still those times that you will be driving back and forth to complete various side missions. While this could become tiresome, the fact that they implemented strong mechanics with the buggy make it a non issue.
At first, the buggy is a nice way to simply get from point A to point B while plinking a couple of zombies along the way. Similar to how you would upgrade your base skills, the more you use the buggy the more powerful and deadly it will become. Experience is earned through driving, of course, and those exp points are earned quickly while smashing zombies, traveling at high speeds and launching off those perfectly placed ramps that are scattered throughout The Farmland. As mentioned earlier, your buggy starts out as a traveling tool, but later on, your breezy drive dodging through zombies becomes much more… cathartic. With upgraded paths that allow you to electrify the buggy, attach a flamethrower so you can watch and chuckle as the zombies burn alive (or dead, maybe?) and a ramming bar to decimate anything that’s in front of you, the tiresome trips become a zombie killing fest. Often times I had to remind myself of my true destination when I’d become sidetracked by trying to see how many zombies I can run over in a field. Techland doesn’t want you to do all this killing without style either. You can find various paint schemes/bobbleheads across The Farmland to deckout your buggy.
The buggy is an incredible tool, and I’m happy Techland balanced it as they did so it didn’t turn into a tank. While driving, various parts such as your tires, engine, brakes and suspension will wear down. There was progression from Black (good) to yellow (replace soon) and finally hitting the worst state red (broken). The game allows you to drive when parts are in the yellow phase, but when they are, they will affect your speed and handling. Similar to weapons, these parts all have a maximum number of times you can repair them, and you do so by attaining the various parts needed. Most often, these are screws that can be scavenged from the various vehicles across the map. I will admit, at first glance I thought this was an awful mechanic. The last thing I wanted to do was to fix my buggy while out burning rubber across the bodies of various baddies, zombies and living A.I. alike. However, finding the required parts for the upgrades is not difficult in the least. Finding upgrade recipes and items for repair are plentiful. The sole annoyance with the buggy is the fact that it’s quite keen on flipping when bumping into objects, and worse off is the fact that you don’t have the ability to flip the buggy back over. I’ve had quite a few long jaunts across The Farmland, many of those happening at night which was challenging.
In addition to the various changes/additions outlined above, The Following also adds in new enemies, a more dangerous nighttime survival and a new difficulty. Aptly named Freaks, the new enemies are gigantic in stature and health. Unless you quickly find to what the enemy is weak, you are in for a good 10-15 minute fight with these armored giants. These occurrences feel more at home when playing coop, but they can definitely be done solo and are quite rewarding.
So, Dying Light: The Following has a near perfect slew of addition, but what about how its story points stack up? In short, it’s bloody awesome! Once again, Techland decided to take a chance, this time by changing their mission structuring. The story is set up where you are an outsider that got word that they had formed some type of immunity to the plague, and since Harran is nearly out of Antizine, you are over there trying to figure out how this could be possible. In short order, you learn that a cult, “Children of The Sun,” appear to be immune from the infection. By completing side quests for the locals, you gain trust, which is ultimately the vehicle you use to progress the main story line with the leader of the cult, Mother. You do see various characters from the base game, and there are some nice twists and turns along the way. I won’t spoil the ending, but the ending I got was oddly satisfying. However, I can see where some may not be satisfied with what the conclusion has to offer.
Reviewed on PC (also available on PS4 and Xbox One) with a review code received from the developers.
Total time played: 12 hours 57 minutes
Story Completion: 100%
CPU: Intel Core i7 4790K @ 4.00GHz
Motherboard: AsRock Z97 Anniversary
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970