Despite not being released until the 27th of February, the net was littered with reviews of Dying Light early, which I have dodged with ninja-like stealth to form my own opinion. Now that I have battled the zombies, avoided the holes in the plot which have been cleverly plugged with blood soaked gauze and survived the final exhilarating yet exasperating battle I am ready to reveal all. So, does Dying Light live up to its hype? Not quite, but it makes a damn good effort.
Kyle Crane is our hero, a rather unoriginal secret government operative who has a penchant for climbing walls, plundering sewers and hopping from city to city. Much like our hero, this game also has its ups and downs. The beginning is pretty slow but it’s worth sticking with it for the treasure that is the middle section, which will satisfy anyone’s lust for hours of fun spent stomping on zombies and showing them who’s boss. We will forgive them for not being able to sustain the level of thrills through to the bitter end.
So to the plot: Kyle Crane is sent to Harran city to get his hands on the critical data pertaining to the virus which has turned the majority of the population into, quite frankly, the ugliest zombies I’ve ever seen. It would seem our Kyle is not that great at his job—however, before you can say “We are now approaching Hannan airport,” he has botched his mission big time and gotten himself bitten into the bargain. This is no real big surprise to be honest, as this would have been the shortest first shooter in history if he had hopped off the plane, got the data and hopped back on.
…he can’t run far before he starts gasping and has to slow down…
As it is, our protagonist falls in with a motley group of survivors. He takes on an evil warlord who is hell bent on being in control of the medical supplies and taking orders from his superior who has the attitude of someone who would rather throw some napalm into the mix and be done with it. You do briefly wonder who Crane will pledge his allegiance to but it quickly passes as the action heats up.
The first problem that arises is that due to his career you automatically presume that Crane is a fine physical specimen who wrestles cows for fun. Yet he can’t run far before he starts gasping and has to slow down. He also runs out of stamina after only swinging his melee weapon a couple of times, and this makes the first few hours of game play a bit awkward and frustrating. The early weapons are also pretty dismal and the wrenches, pipes, sticks of wood and tiny knives are constantly in a state of disrepair before they fall apart completely. You keep playing, however, as there is something addictive about Dying Light and you know there is something better round the corner…
The combat itself could also be improved, as it all feels a bit too random. One time you will instantly score a dynamic decapitation and win your fight with ease, whereas other times your thumb will be aching with constantly trying to thwart that god damn zombie who just doesn’t know when to give in.
As the action heats up, so does the variety of zombies and man, there are some horrors. Of course you have your slow, shambling ‘Shaun of the Dead’-type classic zombie, but there are also the hulking great brutes known as specials who hurl slabs of concrete for fun. Other types include the spitter, known for their, erm, spitting ability which mainly consists of the projectile spitting of slime, and then there’s my personal favourite; the bloated blob who emits an ear piercing scream before exploding. We are also treated to the newly infected humans who still have their original mobility skills and boy does Crane meet his match when the sun goes down and the charming volatile zombies crawl out of the gutter.
…has a few flaws but is bloody good fun…
I am not going to go into any more details about how heroically I battled on for more hours than I care to remember in the name of journalism… Suffice to say that as long as you accept before buying that Dying Light is not the greatest game ever, has a few flaws but is bloody good fun, literally, then you will be more than happy.
But for the truly hardcore fan, there’s an exclusive Dying Light Apocalypse Edition that includes—wait for it—a custom-built zombie survival shelter, zombie survival parkour training, a trip to Poland, and more, including what every true zombie fighter needs in the middle of a night raid: adult nappies. For a cool £250,000, this insane zombie dreamland can be yours. If you’re just looking for the regular game, however, the wait is over—copies are now available for purchase.