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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 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...

Batman Arkham Knight photo
Batman Arkham Knight

Warner Bros. formally cancels Batman: Arkham Knight on Mac


Don't forget to apply for your refund
Feb 04
// Vikki Blake
Warner Bros has confirmed that Batman: Arkham Knight has been cancelled for Mac/Linux platforms. In a brief statement on Steam, the publisher said: We are very sorry to confirm that Batman: Arkham Knight will no longer be co...
LEGO Force Awakens photo
LEGO Force Awakens

Season Pass, PlayStation exclusive content confirmed for LEGO Force Awakens


Already
Feb 02
// Chris Carter
Just in case you were worried that LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens wouldn't have a Season Pass, WB confirmed it this morning. If you spring for the deluxe edition of the game though, coming this June, you'll gain acces...
LEGO Star Wars photo
LEGO Star Wars

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a thing that's happening


Because of course it is
Feb 02
// Kyle MacGregor
In a move that should surprise absolutely no one, the next entry in Warner Bros. and TT Games' popular LEGO video game series is based on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While the companies presumably would have liked to a...

Dying Light photo
Dying Light

These are the parkour playgrounds you'll traverse in Dying Light: The Following


And race tracks for your buggy, too!
Jan 29
// Zack Furniss
There's little more than a week until Dying Light: The Following releases and we can all start drop-kicking the undead off of buildings again. Adding to an already steady flow of pre-release footage, Techland is showing ...

Review: LEGO Marvel's Avengers

Jan 29 // Chris Carter
LEGO Marvel's Avengers (3DS, PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: TT Fusion, TT GamesPublisher: WB Interactive EntertainmentReleased: January 16, 2016MSRP: $29.99 (3DS, Vita), $39.99 (PC) $49.99 ( PS3, Wii U, Xbox 360), $59.99 (PS4, Xbox One) Marvel's Avengers is the latest beat-'em-up in a long line of Traveller's Tales LEGO joints, a subseries that has hosted roughly 30 games since 2005. It follows the same rough format as past titles, with a few added bits of panache (like more cinematic attacks and sequences) for good measure. You probably know the drill by now -- multiple characters are on-screen at a time, all of which sport several attacks, but they have slightly different ways of going about it. For instance, Captain America and Hulk are both melee fighters, but Cap will be able to reflect beams, and Hulk can smash through giant machinery. Iron Man and Thor excel at range and can fly, but the former can melt metal with his beams. You get the idea. Playing with a partner will enhance your experience tenfold as you can operate in tandem with one another, as going at it solo puts a damper on things by forcing you to switch characters often. That's even more true for Avengers, where the two-person synergy attacks (like Thor slamming into Cap's shield for a shockwave) are that much more satisfying. The best part, the LEGO franchise's signature silly humor, is intact. Interactions and events play out in a similar manner, so there aren't a lot of surprises, but additional jokes and a general sense of lightheartedness actually elevate a few dud portions of the films. As such, every cutscene brings a smile to my face, and helps break up the repetition a bit. I never really minded the shift from the gibberish "LEGO speak" of the past into full voice acting, as Traveller's Tales has always maintained the same tone successfully. [embed]337320:62048:0[/embed] That cavalier, cartoony attitude can go a bit overboard, though. While including over 200 characters is a cool notion, especially for kids who are fans of some of the more obscure heroes, you end up with an overwhelming number of clones and a general sense of vanilla loadouts. They're also inherently limited by the plotlines put forth in the MCU so they can't deviate too much, compared to a wholly original game like Dimensions. So where does LEGO Marvel start to really falter? Its inability to stick to one script at at time. It jumps around so many films that it fails to tell a cohesive story, and assumes you've seen every movie. If you haven't, you'll probably be a mite bewildered as to what's going on. In fact, the game kind of just jumps into Age of Ultron's intro with no rhyme, reason, or setup, before moving onto scenes from both Captain America movies, Thor 2, Iron Man 3, and more. And don't think there's some overarching "Galactus is narrating the story" device -- it just happens as it comes. The open world hubs are a welcome respite from the constant bang bang action, in that sense. As for me, I've experienced every bit of the MCU outside of the comics, so it did mostly make sense. Some is good, some is bad (Agent Carter, which just returned to TV, is pretty good!), but the vast majority of it is easy to follow. It's not like you're going to be scratching you head trying to decipher poignant plotlines -- the game just mostly lacks context, and suffers from fanservice-itis. The latter especially comes into play when the game splices in direct quotes from the film, some of which feel forced, with an odd audio mix to boot. Does your kid constantly go on about Chris Hemsworth and Robert Downey Jr. while they run around the room in their Hawkeye outfit? Pick up LEGO Marvel's Avengers and add it to the massive pile of LEGO games you likely already have. It's a fun mindless romp through a couple of interesting setpieces, but not a whole lot more than that when it comes down to it. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.] 
LEGO Marvel's Avengers photo
WB always finds out, bro
The MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) is intimidating, to say the least. In addition to all of the feature films there's also official tie-in comics, one-shot short films, multiple sequels that set up sequels, and now, eight separate television shows with multiple seasons across two networks. If you haven't been at least following the movies, LEGO Marvel's Avengers probably isn't for you.

Dying Light Nightmare photo
Dying Light Nightmare

Dying Light's Nightmare mode looks like a treat


When the apocalypse isn't bad enough
Jan 26
// Nic Rowen
No Easter egg weapons, longer nights, tougher zombies, and less survivor's sense. Sound like fun? No? Well, I guess that is kind of the point of Dying Light's Nightmare mode, part of the upcoming Enhanced Edition DLC. Don't w...
News roundup photo
Also included: Kirby's penis
Another week, another wave of gaming news that’s almost impossible to keep up with! Last week we had dog poo, this week we have Jonathan Blow’s wee. I kind of hope that bodily waste doesn’t become a running ...

Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X rewards players who waited it out


Get both Kombat Packs for cheap-ish
Jan 21
// CJ Andriessen
It's been a few months now since the second Kombat Pack for Mortal Kombat X was revealed, and while we've known which characters will appear in the DLC pack since last month, today Warner Bros. finally told us how much we'll have to pay to get our hands on them.
Arkham Knight photo
Arkham Knight

Some Arkham Knight forum members are finding their quotes in the game


Nice touch, Rocksteady
Jan 21
// Brett Makedonski
The newest set of Arkham Knight DLC (of which there is a lot) is a retrograde -- not in quality, but in time. It takes some of the best challenge mode maps from Arkham Asylum and Arkham City and transposes them to A...
Batman photo
Batman

Here's a roundup of all the major Batman: Arkham Knight DLC packs


There's tons of useless junk too
Jan 21
// Chris Carter
A number of people have asked me how all of the DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight has measured up since the Season Pass is done. My response is simple -- you can skip out on the pass itself. Instead of paying out for a bunch...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X on PC won't receive new content, support looks to be discontinued


[Mortal Kombat voice] Get outta here
Jan 20
// Brett Makedonski
It seems as if Warner Bros. and NetherRealm have executed a Fatality on the PC version of Mortal Kombat X. Eagle-eyed Internet sleuths have noticed that trailers for the upcoming add-on characters haven't included a designati...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Surprise! Mortal Kombat X is getting its own Komplete Edition


'XL'
Jan 20
// Chris Carter
In a totally "unexpected" turn of events, Mortal Kombat X is getting a GOTY edition of sorts. It's called Mortal Kombat XL, and it's packaged with the core game, as well as both Kombat Packs -- that includes the first on...
MKX online beta photo
MKX online beta

Sign-ups for Mortal Kombat X's enhanced online beta begin Jan. 19


I'll still blame the lag
Jan 15
// Nic Rowen
NetherRealm is taking another stab at Mortal Kombat X's online performance. After listening to player feedback, the team is changing the way the game works online, switching from a “dynamic input latency model” to...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Alien and a drunken fart man killing everything in a new Mortal Kombat X video


Both silent and deadly
Jan 12
// Brett Makedonski
Few video game trailers are as effective and efficient as the Mortal Kombat X new character videos. They show the fighters, one at a time, destroying the opposition as you could theoretically do if you were controlling ...
Dying Light gameplay photo
Dying Light gameplay

Take to the country with 16 minutes of Dying Light's The Following


First 16 minutes of gameplay
Jan 11
// Steven Hansen
Dying Light was one of the unexpected hits of 2015, with its parkour hook providing just enough to help stomach yet another zombie game. IGN has The Following expansion producer Tymon Smektała with a guided tour of the ...

Review: Batman: Arkham Knight: Season of Infamy

Dec 23 // Chris Carter
Batman: Arkham Knight: Season of Infamy (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: WB Games MontrealPublisher: Warner Bros.MSRP: $9.99Released: December 22, 2015 Infamy is a bit confusing. It's not an "Arkham Episode," that's detached from the story by way of a menu option. It's an actual extension of the narrative, taking place before Batman initiates the Knightfall Protocol (the ending), and it's integrated into the open-world campaign. In other words, if you've reached 100 percent completion in the game, just load up your file to start the DLC. Four new missions pop up as a result of booting up Infamy, which you can complete in any order, featuring Mr. Freeze, Mad Hatter, Ra's al Ghul, and Killer Croc. Each one is roughly 30-45 minutes long. Let's start with the Mad Hatter, the weakest link in the chain. His effectiveness as a Batman villain has always been questionable, and that goes double for his appearance in Arkham Knight. He was fine as a throwaway sidequest included in City, but the return of his presence does little to justify a premium price here. You'll be done with his bit in less than 30 minutes, running around Arkham with a minor series of fetch quests before confronting him at the Gotham City Police Department headquarters, and enduring another hallucination that amounts to nothing more than three easy combat challenges. It's a neat concept but it's so fleeting that I barely had time to digest it. Killer Croc is another of those one-dimensional foes that often functions as the muscle of an outfit -- a trope that leads you down a predictable storyline in the Infamy add-on. A prison ship has crash-landed compliments of an escape attempt by Croc, and you'll gallivant across the environment, chasing him down for a bit (with more fetch quests in tow of course). Consisting of a few platforming sequences and some combat, there's basically no thinking involved here in just about every facet of the short quest. It works better than Mad Hatter's portion though because most of it isn't comprised of re-used environments, and there is a nice brief reunion with Nightwing. [embed]328895:61630:0[/embed] Mr. Freeze on the other hand, is a villain that has always had a more interesting, nuanced characterization. He's not truly evil in the traditional sense -- rather, he sees his schemes as a means to an end, to save his wife Nora. The actual objectives for his quest aren't all that enthralling, but it's the only one that features Predator sequences, and the concept (and the exploration of his relationship with Nora) is compelling enough to see the tale through until the end. Plus, it has a Batmobile sequence that has more of a reason to exist than most of the ones in the campaign. Ra's al Ghul's quest is the other highlight of the pack, taking place mostly in Eliott General Hospital. Hush's part in Knight was extremely disappointing, especially after the buildup from City, so it's nice to see his family's legacy featured front and center to some degree. Along with some brand new zones you'll also work through a rather intriguing subplot featuring the League of Assassins (who are some of the only new enemies in the Infamy pack), and the Lazarus Pit -- one of the wackier bits of Batman lore. There's also a choice at the end that's actually pretty interesting that I won't spoil here. As a premium add-on, Season of Infamy really fails to produce much that feels like it's essential to the Arkham Knight experience outside of two tales. But on the other hand, it has a number of nice little touches, most notably a small expansion of the GCPD HQ, adding another wing (along with some easy WayneTech upgrade points), and the mission structure in the weaker two stories is competent at the very worst. If you really loved Knight and have been avoiding all the DLC thus far, Infamy is probably worth checking out at some point -- even if it's the only thing you buy piecemeal. [This review is based on a retail build of the game purchased by the reviewer.]
Batman DLC review photo
Ice to see the end of the Season Pass
I've refrained from reviewing most of the DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight outside of the Batgirl add-on, because of the short nature of the mission-based tales. But Season of Infamy has four missions, so that means it's four times as good, right?!

Dying Light photo
Dying Light

Dying Light's Legendary Levels aim to keep you playing forever


Until the light (sun) dies
Dec 21
// Zack Furniss
Techland is doing their damnedest to make sure they're on your radar for most improved developer. Most people weren't happy with Dead Island (fun co-op romp, though!), but their continued support of Dying Light and ...
Arkham Knight photo
Arkham Knight

Arkham Knight's latest PC patch is drenched with fixes


A lot of rain being the biggest one
Dec 18
// Brett Makedonski
David Cage had nothing to do with the newest Batman: Arkham Knight PC patch, but you'd be forgiven if you mistakenly believed that he did. Not Heavy Rain but heavy rain is the most notable change made to the game am...
Dying Light photo
Dying Light

Revel in the mystery that's cast by Dying Light: The Following's eerie teaser


When there's nowhere else to run
Dec 16
// Brett Makedonski
Dying Light shelves the parkour and the zombie bashing in the story teaser trailer for its next add-on, The Following. Instead, it wonders aloud exactly how the survivors might go about escaping this hellhole and if a c...
Dying Light photo
Dying Light

Dying Light: Enhanced Edition will be free for owners of the base game (minus the expansion)


$60 otherwise if you want the expansion
Dec 06
// Zack Furniss
Chris liked Dying Light well enough, and I did too, back at the lovely Rely on Horror. I haven't played it since it released earlier this year, but the way Techland is handling the new Enhanced Edition is compelling...
Holy Team Fortress Batman photo
Holy Team Fortress Batman

Team Fortress 2 is getting a bunch of Batman inspired items


Arkham 2fort
Dec 05
// Nic Rowen
Who said Halloween was over? Team Fortress 2 will soon have a new line of community made items inspired by Batman: Arkham Knight that will let your favorite blood thirsty mercenaries dress up as various heroes and villains fr...
Batman photo
Batman

Telltale is making a Batman game


Because of course they are
Dec 03
// Kyle MacGregor
In an inevitable move we should have all probably seen coming a mile away, Telltale has secured the rights to make a new  series based on Warner Bros. and DC Comics' iconic Batman franchise. The episodic adventure game factory made the announcement tonight at Geoff Keighley's The Game Awards in Los Angeles, only revealing plans to release the series sometime next year.
DC Comics photo
DC Comics

The Arkham Origins developer is working on two new DC Comics games


Oh, what could they be?
Nov 30
// Brett Makedonski
WB Montreal, the developer most well-known for 2013's Batman: Arkham Origins, looks like it's again focusing on comics for its second big project. And its third too, actually. A call for a fair number of new employees outed t...
Dying Light photo
Dying Light

Dying Light's next DLC gets jacked-up in price, but you can make the most of it


Season pass to the rescue
Nov 25
// Brett Makedonski
In a surprisingly transparent moment, Dying Light developer Techland has decided to be upfront about raising the price of the game's next add-on, The Following. Back in August, it was originally announced that the DLC would c...
Batman PC woes photo
Batman PC woes

Arkham Knight won't support multiple GPUs


Sorry, SLI and Crossfire users!
Nov 19
// Jordan Devore
The PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight went back up on Steam a few weeks ago. There are still issues even after the re-listing, and the developers are still trying to address them, but there are some they "cannot fix." One s...
Batman: Arkham Knight photo
Batman: Arkham Knight

Batman: Arkham Knight on PC will never be fully fixed


So get your refund while you can
Oct 31
// CJ Andriessen
Early last year, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced that it would no longer attempt to squash the bugs that plagued Batman: Arkham Origins. In doing so, the publisher ensured that game would never fully be fixed...
Jason photo
Jason

Jason terrorizes more Mortal Kombat X players today


Some of them will be teens
Oct 30
// Brett Makedonski
Like a mall Santa without any other prospects, Jason Voorhees lives for one time of year. (Or maybe he's dead? I don't know.) Regardless, Halloween is kind of Jason's bread and butter because then he can show up, scare some ...
Arkham Knight photo
Arkham Knight

Digital Foundry on Arkham Knight PC: 'No improvements from interim patch in September'


Except for provisions for DLC
Oct 29
// Chris Carter
Well, this is awkward. Although Batman: Arkham Knight has returned to Steam, all is not well with the game even after multiple patches, and a giant interim patch last month. In fact, investigating further, Eurogamer's Di...
Arkham Knight photo
Arkham Knight

Update: Arkham Knight Steam reviews are being tagged 'Pre Release'


No they ruddy well aren't pre-release
Oct 29
// Laura Kate Dale
[Update: Since the story was posted, the pre release tag has begun to be removed from these reviews]. Boy, Arkham Knight really is the gift that keeps on giving. Yesterday Batman: Arkham Knight finally returned to Steam after...

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