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Review: Dying Light: The Following - Enhanced Edition

Feb 09 // Zack Furniss
Dying Light: The Following - Enhanced Edition (PC [reviewed], PS4, Xbox One)Developer: TechlandPublisher: Warner Bros. Interactive EntertainmentReleased: February 9, 2016MSRP: $19.99 The Following doesn't weave into Dying Light's main campaign. To start the expansion, you choose it separately in the main menu. You can drag your character's progress and inventory back and forth between the two campaigns at any time, but you can't just go to a fast travel and warp from one to the other. Once you begin, a short cutscene cuts to the chase: your character, Kyle Crane, has become aware of a route leading out of Harran. In this wild outback area, there's a cult that claims to have found some kind of immunity to the zombie virus. As this would benefit your cadre of survivors, you set out to investigate. The new area, called the Countryside, is huge. Techland claims that it's larger than the entirety of the original game, and I'd agree with that after playing to 100% completion. Since there are numerous open fields, it's not quite as packed as the urban environments in Dying Light proper, but I found this to be welcoming. It's not all open, either: you'll go from farms, to beaches, to graveyards, to caves, to factory areas, so you're constantly being stimulated in a new way. With a larger map, the customizable buggy goes from novelty to necessity rather quickly. Using a new Driver skill tree, which you level up by doing racing competitions, ramming zombies, maintaining top speed, and jumping off of ramps, you'll be able to improve your ride and add gadgets such as electrical pulses and UV lights. Since there are always zombies to squash under your wheels, this tree levels up rapidly. The buggy starts off entertaining, and gets better as you tinker with it. You can craft better tires, brakes, engines, and the like to make it faster and more responsive. I'm a sucker for driving in first-person games as it is, and driving in The Following might be the best incarnation I've played to date. A crossbow has also been added to your arsenal, which is a nice way to take out biters without attracting a horde. There are four different bolt types that you can use: normal, toxic, impact, and stun. I generally stuck to the normal arrows, especially when I snuck around the new Volatile caves. In Dying Light, Volatiles are the creatures that only come out during the night and can kill you within seconds if you aren't paying attention. In The Following, you can go directly to their nests to try to thin out their presence in certain areas. If you go in during the day, the caves will be littered with these bastards, and sneaking through with a crossbow was about the most tense this game can get. Going during the night is the safer bet, but I found it less thrilling when the odds weren't stacked against me. Another welcome addition is the Freaks of Nature, giant versions of the more devious types of infected strewn throughout the Countryside. The game recommends that you only try to fight these jerks with friends in co-op sessions, but if you find their weak point (or bring a really good gun like a cheater [me]), you can take them out solo. They offer special blueprints to create ever-more-vicious weapons. Usually you'll find these Freaks when you're on another mission, and suddenly a health bar will appear on the top of the screen a kick-ass John Carpenter-esque song will start pulsing. As far as the missions and story go, they're handled much better than the original game. This time, Techland is less interested in trying to make you care about certain characters and more interested in getting you to find out more about the cult. Instead of being a scary group of folks that are out to kill you, you're tasked with earning their trust so you can learn their secret. This leads to a mission structure where the side quests must be completed in order to progress in the main story. I didn't have a problem with this, because the side stuff, as before, is generally more intriguing than the actual story. Looking back on it, there aren't many story quests in The Following, but it all feels interwoven in a way that encourages you to scour every last bit of the Countryside. The only quest that I had trouble with was the penultimate one that involves some timed driving, and if you have no health packs, you're sort of fucked. I eventually persevered, but it was frustrating to be locked into the finale and unable to make it easier.  The final mission has some curious implications about the overall plot in Dying Light, but the ending shoots that momentum right through the head. I'm still hoping a sequel comes out of this, but I'm a little confused as to where it would go now. At this point, I must mention a caveat: I found Dying Light to be too easy about halfway through the game, so I played The Following on hard. I usually don't like to blather about the "right" way to play a game, but if you're going to play this expansion, I urge you to play hard mode.  Instead of the usual "enemies do more damage, and you do less" type of difficulty, Techland's version of hard is an improvement in almost every way. Medkits are no longer an instant heal, and instead provide healing over time. If you want to craft something or look at your map, you can't pause the game any more. Survivor sense doesn't show you every little item in every little room, so you have to more carefully observe your environments. If this sounds tedious, I promise that it makes the game both more immersive and more rewarding. Since this is part of the Enhanced Edition, which owners of the base game get for free (minus the expansion), there are a litany of other improvements to be found. There are daily bounties and a new Nightmare difficulty that have been added to rack up tons of experience, which you'll want for the new legendary levels. After maxing out a skill tree, points that would've gone to that tree now go to your legendary rank. You can spend these points on various buffs: 50% more firearm damage, more crossbow damage, better health regen, and other bonuses. There are a total of 250 of these points to earn, and they make you incredibly powerful. You'll earn them pretty slowly unless you play on Nightmare mode. In my 22 hours with The Following, I reached level five. Clearly, I need to jump back in there already. The Following was larger than I expected, and it maintains a high level of quality throughout. Being pared down from the bloat of Dying Light earns it more moment-to-moment excitement, and I greedily consumed it over the weekend. The last few minutes have me pondering the future of what's clearly going to become a franchise, and I'm ready for whatever Techland brings next. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Dying Light review photo
It should still be called Far Die
Dying Light surprised the heck out of me last year. While I mostly agree with Chris about the various faults and clichés found within (you can read my thoughts here, from back in my before-Destructoid days), it wa...

Cities: Skylines photo
Cities: Skylines

Cities: Skylines' snowy expansion drops Feb. 18


Send in the plows
Feb 03
// Jordan Devore
I've seen snow only once or twice this year, and even then, it didn't stick around for long. Meanwhile, Brett is regaling us with tales about how he's just now venturing out of his snowed-in house for the first time since Sun...
Forza 6 photo
Forza 6

New Forza 6 Porsche pack leaked by Amazon


Whoops
Feb 01
// Vikki Blake
Details of an as yet unannounced Porsche pack for Forza Motorsport 6 has been leaked on Amazon. Although a Porsche pack has made its way to Forza Horizon 2, this is the first time Porsche-flavoured content will be h...
Elder Scrolls Online photo
Elder Scrolls Online

The Elder Scrolls Online: Thieves Guild's trailer is the least sneaky thing possible


Steal everything... with explosions!
Jan 22
// Joe Parlock
One of the coolest questlines in both Oblivion and Skyrim was the Thieves Guild. Sure, it’s never been as memorable the Dark Brotherhood, but I always find planning heists and dealing with the politics of a band of thi...

The Crew update photo
The Crew update

Oh cool, The Crew now has a photo mode


Plus some new Wild Run stuff
Jan 20
// Jordan Devore
After getting The Crew and its Wild Run expansion on sale a few weeks back, the racing game has slowly become a night-devouring obsession. It has problems, definitely, but I'm loving it as something I can play while listening...
Cities: Skylines' Snowfal photo
Cities: Skylines' Snowfal

Next Cities: Skylines expansion buries you under a blanket of snow


Cities: Skylines' Snowfall expansion
Jan 19
// Steven Hansen
Paradox and developer Colossal Order are smart to couch bigger Cities: Skylines expansions in visually transformative ways because, much like when the day/night cycle was added in After Dark, damn do these snow-kissed cities...
Runescape Old School photo
Runescape Old School

The old version of Runescape has a new expansion


Yeah, I don't get it either
Jan 11
// Joe Parlock
Adding new content to Runescape Old School, the server which aims to recreate when the game was in its glory days, seems kind of weird to me. If the whole point of it is that it’s a nostalgia-fueled romp through the gam...
Don Pilar photo
Don Pilar

Pillars of Eternity: The White March - Part 2 coming Feb 16


Second expansion
Jan 05
// Steven Hansen
The concluding part of the White March expansion for Pillars of Eternity, the unfussily-named The White March - Part 2, has a formal release date: February 16. While I'd prefer Don Pilar for an eternity, the expansion, "not ...
The Witcher 3 DLC photo
The Witcher 3 DLC

The Witcher 3's second expansion looks lovely


Blood & Wine
Dec 08
// Jordan Devore
There's no snow where I live, thank goodness, but it is cold and rainy. Gloomy vibes all around with no end in sight. I don't want to think about it, so excuse me for a moment while I get distracted by these warm screenshots ...
The Cossacks are coming photo
The Cossacks are coming

Europa Universalis IV on sale in time for Cossacks expansion


Cheap EUIV ahead of 6th expansion
Dec 01
// Steven Hansen
As we famously reported a couple months back: The Cossacks are coming, the Cossacks are coming! Well, those cock and ball sack hybrids have hit Steam as Europa Universalis IV's sixth major expansion. It will run you $20 -- n...
The Binding of Isaac photo
The Binding of Isaac

The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth coming to PS4, but other platforms unlikely


'Outlook NOT good'
Nov 20
// Ben Davis
Afterbirth, the expansion to The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, was released last month for PC users. Owners of Rebirth on other platforms have since been left waiting, but according to a tweet yesterday from Edmund McMillen, the...
Guild Wars 2 photo
Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns won't change your opinion of Guild Wars


But if you want more, it's there
Nov 14
// Chris Carter
My experience with Guild Wars 2 has been very similar to a lot of people I've met over the years. We all agree it's a wonderful, beautiful take on MMOs, and delivers on its promise of a subscription-free game. But at the...
Battlefield 4 photo
Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4 is getting some new free DLC at the end of this year


Dragon Valley from Battlefield 2 returns
Nov 13
// Joe Parlock
EA announced a new bit of free DLC for 2013’s Battlefield 4, called Legacy Operations. The DLC was shaped by a community vote that took place almost a year ago, where Battlefield 4 fans were asked which map they’...
WoW: Legion photo
WoW: Legion

Here's the World of Warcraft: Legion opening cinematic, almost a year before release


Needs more Orcs
Nov 09
// Joe Parlock
World of Warcraft: Legion is still the better part of a year away. That hasn’t stopped Blizzard releasing its opening cinematic though, and dang does it look good. The trailer shows human and Forsaken airships des...
Contingency Plan photo
Contingency Plan

Invisible, Inc. gets new agents and more in next week's expansion


One of the best games of the year
Nov 05
// Steven Hansen
Six months after its release, one of my favorite games of 2015 (and also 2014) is getting its first expansion. Contingency Plan is heading to Invisible, Inc. (PC, Mac, Linux) next week on November 12. Contingency Plan offers,...
The Old Hunters photo
The Old Hunters

Another covenant is coming to Bloodborne


As part of a patch, not the expansion
Nov 05
// Jordan Devore
Even if you're planning to pass on The Old Hunters expansion for Bloodborne later this month, there will still be a reason to revisit Yharnam. From Software is preparing a free patch that will introduce another covenant, The ...
Age of Empires photo
Age of Empires

Age of Empires II HD is going to Africa this week


I hear the drums echoing tonight
Nov 03
// Jordan Devore
The team at Forgotten Empires is keeping the real-time strategy dream alive in 2015. On Thursday, Age of Empires II HD will get a new expansion called The African Kingdoms. Running down this latest trailer, you can expect to find four fully voiced campaigns for the new civilizations (Malians, Berbers, Ethiopians, and Portuguese), reworked water battles, and a Sudden Death mode.
The Binding of Isaac photo
The Binding of Isaac

The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth is out now on Steam, have a trailer!


Coming soon for other platforms
Oct 30
// Ben Davis
Afterbirth, the expansion to The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, was released earlier today on Steam. Just in time for Halloween! There's also a creepy release trailer to go along with it, featuring a disturbingly realistic vision...
Neverwinter photo
Neverwinter

Neverwinter's Underdark expansion launches on November 17


A questline written by R.A. Salvatore
Oct 30
// Joe Parlock
Jeeze, it doesn’t seem five minutes since Perfect World released Strongholds, the last expansion to their pretty great MMO Neverwinter. Now they’re already preparing to release the next major expansion for the ga...
Europa DLC photo
Europa DLC

The Cossacks coming to Europa Universalis IV this year


Plus free update to the game
Oct 15
// Steven Hansen
I've always liked the word "Cossack." It's fun to say, it's got two c's and two s's, it's how John Cusack's name should be pronounced, and it's basically a mashup of "cock" and "ballsack." So I was with the Cocksacks until t...
Guild Wars 2 photo
Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns launch trailer is a bit premature


Game doesn't come out for another month
Sep 28
// Joe Parlock
NCSoft has released the launch trailer for the upcoming Guild Wars 2 expansion, Heart of Thorns. And that is really, really strange. No, it’s not the Evil Groot yelling at a cat that’s weird. It’s not the t...
The Old Hunters photo
The Old Hunters

Bloodborne producer gives some more details about The Old Hunters


More than just a pizza cutter
Sep 21
// Joe Parlock
As we found out last week at the Tokyo Game Show, Bloodborne is getting an expansion titled The Old Hunters. The trailer showed a lot of loud weapons and things dying horribly, but that’s just par fo...
Magicka 2 photo
Magicka 2

Magicka 2 dumps a whole load of free new spells on you


Just dollops them all over you...
Sep 16
// Joe Parlock
Magicka 2, one of the best games ever to make you lose all of your friends, has received a free update. For those who don’t know, Magicka’s combat revolves around typing in spells. Each letter corresponds with a ...
Bloodborne expansion photo
Bloodborne expansion

Bloodborne's expansion looks nuts


Put that thing out of its misery
Sep 15
// Jordan Devore
Some of us are going to face this monstrosity in Bloodborne's first and hopefully not final expansion, The Old Hunters, in late November. Please wish us luck. I'm having Bloodletting Beast flashbacks. You've probably seen the...
Cities: Skylines photo
Cities: Skylines

Cities: Skylines After Dark trailer shows off your city's nightlife


Get your drunk arse home, mayor
Aug 31
// Joe Parlock
Cities: Skylines was absolutely fantastic. Developer Colossal Order did a fantastic job of balancing its fun city creation tools with a detailed simulation that made SimCity look like some matchsticks held together with sick...

Guild Wars 2's base game goes free-to-play today, no purchase needed

Aug 29 // Chris Carter
Opening up the conversation, O'Brien talked a bit about how the core message of the game is staying the same, despite the move to free-to-play. "We don't want to ask for more money, and all of the additional purchases will stay the same" he stated. Going on, Mike noted, "What we looked at after the release of the core game, is things like 'how can players catch up with their friends' and this new model makes that easier to do. We've always said 'if you wan't Guild Wars 2, just buy the game, and we'll provide free updates for it for months.' We'll continue to do that for Heart of Thorns: just buy the expansion, and you'll get every update for free." Another big new change is the addition of raids, which will make their debut in Heart of Thorns. Speaking on this new adventure, Colin Johanson, keeping with the spirit of the game, insists that "this is our way of doing things differently, even with the traditional format of raids with other MMOs. We're getting rid of barriers to entry. The way Heart of Thorns is built is by way of masteries, which will upgrade your character beyond the typical gear-based setup of other games. In that regard, raids will still be relevant six months later, and won't be completely replaced by a new tier of gear." Going on, Johanson stated that "although you can't necessarily PUG (pick-up-group) these raids, they are skill-based. In other words, you can use any combination of characters to complete them." Upon probing him a bit, asking whether or not it was difficult to design raids around the lack of a trinity (healer, tank, and damage), he responded with, "it's not necessarily tougher but balance them within our game, but they will be more fun since everyone can fulfill any role. You don't have to wait 40 minutes for your healer to get online, and you can use any class you want to play. It really is all about skill." If ArenaNet and their team can follow through with these promises, an accessible yet challenging raid scheme would be an enticing prospect for players old and new. I'm anxious to see what they come up with when Heart of Thorns finally comes out.
Guild Wars 2 F2P photo
Heart of Thorns still a paid expansion
Nearly three years after the release of Guild Wars 2, the base game is going fully free-to-play. Instead of following a method where users are required to purchase the core package before they are greeted with a subscrip...

Destiny photo
Destiny

Hear the new Nolan North-voiced Ghost in Destiny


RIP Dinklebot
Aug 25
// Jordan Devore
It's a single line of dialog, but here's what Ghost sounds like in Destiny: The Taken King now that Nolan North is voicing the character instead of Peter Dinklage. Time to get worked up! Or not! Resident Destiny fanatic Vikki Blake says "Northbot sounds just like Dinklebot." I'd tentatively call North's performance an improvement based on, again, just this one line, but we'll have to see.

Cities: Skylines gets nightlife with After Dark expansion

Aug 21 // Steven Hansen
[embed]297379:59852:0[/embed] There is also, "a new specialization for the commercial areas," leisure areas like casinos and night clubs, "the downtown area, the nightlife center of the city." Nighttime also brings about higher rates of crime, helping to fill out prisons. Daytime has unique additions, too. New beachfront property thrives during the day like the casinos and clubs of nighttime, and the cities can also allow bike lanes for cyclists (or let them travel more slowly on sidewalks), thereby reducing traffic. The team wants to add, "smoother ways of handling large systems" with its updates, "helping people do what they're already doing in a more elegant and streamlined way," like by adding bus stations that can accept multiple bus lines and allow for in-building transfers. The $15 expansion launches September 24. The day and night cycle itself is a free update added to all owned copies of Cities: Skylines, while the After Dark expansion will house additional content.
September 24 photo
September 24
Cities: Skylines' major expansion, After Dark, has been dated for September 21. After dunking on SimCity, the successful city simulator is, "focusing on making large expansions over making many small ones," Colossal Order's l...

Neverwinter photo
Neverwinter

Neverwinter: Elemental Evil expansion is coming to Xbox One next month


Slowly catching up to the PC version
Aug 07
// Joe Parlock
It was only a month ago when Rise of Tiamat, the fifth expansion for the free-to-play MMO Neverwinter, was released on Xbox One. At the time, I noted that while it was a decent update, it still meant the Xbox One version of t...
Skylines After Dark photo
Skylines After Dark

Cities: Skylines' After Dark expansion brings darkness to your city


What happens in your city after dark?
Aug 06
// Jed Whitaker
Have you ever wondered what your citizens do in Cities: Skylines at night? Well you'll soon be able to find out with the After Dark expansion.  The trailer doesn't give away a whole lot, showing just what I as...

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