Game database:   #ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ         ALL     Xbox One     PS4     360     PS3     WiiU     Wii     PC     3DS     DS     PS Vita     PSP     iOS     Android


Dying Light  




Dying Light is less about zombies and more about movement photo
Dying Light is less about zombies and more about movement

12:30 PM on 06.23.2014

Go somewhere, anywhere


What can be done freshen up the zombie genre at this point? Videogames, television shows, movies, comics -- virtually every pop culture medium's been infested by the craze, long ago hitting a saturation (and then oversaturation) point. So, how does a developer like Techland, who's most well-known recently for its zombie games, take the concept and still manage to make it its own?

Techland's creating a game about zombies, that isn't really about zombies. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, that's what it's doing with Dying Light. And who knows -- maybe that's the take on the undead genre that'll liven it up a bit.

Dying Light, rather than being about zombies, is about movement. It doesn't take long to figure this out. Every facet of the game is designed around traversal. The zombies that litter the landscape are less active enemies, and more active obstacles to discourage any disingenuity when getting around.

Spanning the open-world map looks as if it'll be an enjoyable exercise, with moments of frustration peppered in due to the drawbacks of the methods at-hand. Best described as a Mirror's Edge-esque free-running system, isolated incidents of climbing buildings, mantelling over ledges, and jumping over a gap can be thrilling -- like a well-executed combo in a fighting game.

However, first-person platforming is a fickle mistress, and the inherent irritations spring up often enough to be noticeable. Exactly what you can climb and how far you can jump are issues that take continuous trial-and-error to solve, especially given that you can feel the character's weight in a sense that you just know he's not capable of everything, even if sometimes it seems like he's totally capable of anything.

Being a game about movement, it's a no-brainer that these free-running mechanics will be employed constantly. Guided at all-times by a waypoint on a mini-map, players are best served sticking to roofs and avoiding the ground when searching for the next objective. Techland rewards that style, as almost every climb and jump earns experience points toward agility, hopefully ensuring that the player will eventually feel less clumsy and more confident in their actions.

Although taking the roads isn't advisable, it's definitely feasible -- at least for half the game. During the daytime, zombies are generally weak and slow enough that combat isn't completely ill-advised. However, combat can seem like a chore, as the melee system has that clunky, unwieldy feel about it that just isn't pleasurable to use. Even if there are some neat improvised weapons on display (less a novelty, and more a staple of zombie games by now), avoiding interaction altogether is the more enjoyable route.

Keep in mind, that's all when the sun is up. At nighttime, discard any ideas of engaging the zombies because it'll most likely just lead to imminent death. That's when the Volatiles -- the worst of the worst in Dying Light come out --  and the need for discreet and deliberate movement is higher than ever. The mini-map graciously provides a coned effect to represent each Volatile's field of view, and its value is indescribable. In the event that it's impossible to stay hidden from these, the next best course of action is to take advantage of the game's traversal system in any given direction -- just make sure it's quick.

As Dying Light progresses, it's remarkable to see the transformation of the mechanics, presumably all that acquired experience paying dividends. Warped from an early-game setting to somewhere significantly later, the difference in my character's abilities were almost like day and night (to draw an apt analogy from Dying Light).

All of a sudden, getting around just seemed easier. The uncertainties that plague the whole first-person platforming situation still existed, but everything that worked worked better. Climbing was faster and more fluid. Jumping had some much-appreciated extra distance to it. There was even a handy grappling hook of sorts that yanked me to whatever was targeted; it almost felt like cheating in a way.

It was at this point that a Techland developer requested for me to climb down to fight a few zombies. He wanted to show off some of those gadget weapons, like ones that added electric or fire damage to the melee attacks. I briefly obliged, but was still unenamored. I couldn't wait to get to back to the roofs and just move about the buildings.

It's fitting that Dying Light is about movement, because it's by far what it does the best. At times, it's unclear how substantial your objective is, just that you're moving toward something. Maybe the objective is only to survive. That'd make sense. For all the zombie material that focuses on attacking the undead, it's an unwise approach. Much smarter would be running, jumping, and climbing to get as far away from them as possible. Dying Light ensures you'll do plenty of that.








Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.





timeline following:
Dying Light



3:45 PM on 02.11.2015
Dying Light to add hard mode

If you're finding Dying Light to be a bit too much on the easy side, then Techland has heard your zombie screams and announced that they plan on releasing a free content update that will add Hard Mode. We weren't given an exa...more



2:30 PM on 02.10.2015
Techland releases first Dying Light DLC and gives details on the rest

Dying Light Season Pass holders got their first taste of DLC today with the release of Cuisine & Cargo. It adds two missions to the game, both taking place in buildings sealed since the first days of the outbrea...more



5:00 PM on 02.07.2015
Techland declares support for Dying Light modders

In a complete 180° from the events of last week, Techland has announced it will support mods for Dying Light. In an attempt to stop hacks for the "Be the Zombie" mode, Techland accidentally blocked modders from being able...more



11:00 AM on 02.06.2015
Dying Light includes a strange recreation of World 1-1 from Super Mario Bros.

Dying Light is making plenty of headlines, and not only for its unique brand of survival horror. There's also a host of interesting Easter eggs that can be found within the game if you take the time out to find them. While t...more



11:00 PM on 02.04.2015
You can beat Dying Light with no weapons, just punches and dropkicks

Not long removed from Dying Light's recent release, one boy decided to play through the entire game engaging only its best elements. That is, running around and drop kicking fools. It's dubbed the Jean Claude Van Damme run and its the only correct way to play a game that has drop kicks.  More games need drop kicks.more



4:30 PM on 02.02.2015
Hot Take: Dying Light is loads of gory fun

Hey, this is Hot Take! It's another new Destructoid video series! New videogames come out all the time, and we want to show you what it's like to play them; think mini-Let's Plays. Our inaugural episode is Dying Li...more



6:00 PM on 02.01.2015
Techland using DMCA claims to take down Dying Light mods (Update)

[Update: Techland says it did not intend to create "obstacles" for modders. "With the recent patch (1.2.1) on Steam we blocked cheating to make sure the game's PvP system (Be The Zombie) would not be abused. This, however, ha...more



4:30 PM on 01.28.2015
Dying Light riffs on Destiny's loot cave

Destiny players have gone four months now without the comforting tedium of the loot cave -- a dark abyss that would yield decent gear drops in return for shooting at it for hours on end. Understandably, Bungie said that'...more



12:00 PM on 01.28.2015
Review: Dying Light

As you may have heard, we got our Dying Light review code pretty late. As in, the day before launch. A late show doesn't necessarily instill confidence in a project, especially since a lot of fans had no idea what to expect from Techland's latest. It's strange that this situation even happened considering Dying Light is one of Techland's best games outside of Call of Juarez: Gunslinger.more



7:45 PM on 01.27.2015
'I love this game. It's sooo awesome!'

Techland did its best to hold off on handing out Dying Light review codes until the day before release. That's never good. But Techland doesn't need to cherry pick reviews for box quotes when it can pay for them. No, this is the future. And the future is sooo awesome!more




Industry Bull

5:00 PM on 02.24.2015
Crystal Dynamics: Tomb Raider partnership with Microsoft began in 2008

At gamescom 2014, Rise of the Tomb Raider caused waves when it was revealed to be an Xbox exclusive. Well, sort of an exclusive. More like a timed exclusive. But, regardless of the confusion surrounding the announce...more



12:30 PM on 02.23.2015
Windows Store selling fake versions of Darkest Dungeon

There's a new app version of Red Hook Studios' groundbreaking roguelike Darkest Dungeon. Currently it's up for grabs on Microsoft's highly reputable Windows Store at the reasonable price point of only...more



11:00 AM on 02.21.2015
Backers of crowdfunded Delta Six controller hit by friendly fire

The Delta Six controller is the latest entry in my inadvertent series on crowdfunding drama. Hot on the heels of news that The Stomping Land was abandoned by its development team, details have emerged of project mismana...more



View all Industry Bull






Back to Top




All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more