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Can Dying Light survive the overcrowded zombie market?

25 Feb 15

Dying Light is the newest open-world zombie apocalypse game from developer Techland. However, does this new game offer anything different from the developer's Dead Island games?

Techland initially innovated zombie games by going open-world with the Dead Island series. They made two Dead Island games, which were received pretty well by gamers. The only complaints were the clunky controls and hard difficulty by some. Other than that, the games still have a huge following. 

Dead Island's publisher, Deep Silver, wanted Techland to go the comedic route with the next game, but they balked at this decision. Techland wanted to make a more serious zombie game, and they were given this opportunity thanks to WB Games. This is how Dying Light came to be, 

The main problem with Dying Light is the fact that this is Techland's third zombie game in a row, and you can tell they have run out of unique and fresh ideas. I would even go as far as saying Dying Light is even more generic and unorginal as the two Dead Island games they released a few years ago. 

In the Dead Island games, you were standed on a bright and colourful tropical island. Not to mention you had a choice of playing as several different characters. These unique aspects have all been stripped with Dying Light which is very disappointing. 

In Dying Light, you are stuck playing as an American by the name of Kyle Crane. He's as stereotypical as can be and lacks any charisma or unique qualities. The game is set in the fictional city of Harran, which is based off of the country of Turkey. The city itself looks bland and run-down as zombies have torn the place apart. Harran just doesn't look as pretty and different as the tropical islands in the Dead Island games. 

Not only does Dying Light come out after the Dead Island games, but it also comes out in a time where zombies are everywhere. Naughty Dog just released The Last of Us recently while the Resident Evil brand is still going strong. There's also The Walking Dead TV show, plus World War Z the movie had a similar setting and premise too. Dying Light just sadly offers absolutely nothing new to the tired genre.   

The reason people like The Walking Dead, The Last of Us and Resident Evil is because the characters are memorable and likeable. The stories are also unpredictable and keeps you intrigued. Dying Light's story suffers badly with cliched and boring characters fleshed out with a story that has been told a million times. There's always a virus that breaks out causing the zombie apocalypse and the protagonist is always in the middle trying to find vaccines, with a bad guy preventing this from happening. Strangely enough, there's a lack of zombie stories these days about the undead coming back to life. 

In terms of actual gamelay, Dying Light is just like Dead Island games but more linear. The Dead Island games allowed you to drive vehicles, but Dying Light disappointingly has no vehicles for you to drive at all. All of the cars are worn out and not operational. The only way you can travel in this game is by foot. 

Thankfully, the only different and unique thing that Dying Light offers is the free-running mechanic. Jumping around and clinging on ledges can be quite fun to do, especially from a first-person perspective. It's the closest we'll ever get from playing an Assassin's Creed game in first-person. 

Sadly, everything else about the gameplay is hard and the controls are still as stiff as they were in the Dead Island games. It's quite ironic that the free-running feels fast and smooth, but the actual combat in Dying Light is slow and cumbersome. Kyle Crane is also annoyingly unfit as he can only attack zombies for a few seconds, until he has to catch his breath again. I hated this mechanic in the Dead Island games, yet they being it back again for Dying Light...

In terms of gameplay length, Dying Light does offer a ton of possibilites. The single player campaign is very lengthy and it will take you hours to finish. The city of Harran is also very large and you could spend hours upon hours exploring all of its secrets. There's also online multiplayer features added to this game too. 

Dying Light would have been a more decent game had it come out back in 2011. In 2015 however, the zombie genre is too overcrowded for it to really stand out. The story is cliched and predictable and all of the characters are forgettable. The core gameplay is also flawed, with the only cool thing being the free-running elements. The game also takes itself way too seriously, which is a problem I have with most AAA video games. Let's hope the more comedic Dead Island 2 offers something fresh to the flesh eating table. 

Verdict: 6/10 


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