There is no better feeling than smashing a zombie’s rotten skull in with an electric modded crowbar. You won’t find that on The Walking Dead but you will in Techland’s and Warner Bros Interactive’s new first person zombie-em-up Dying Light. Zombies are an age old enemy archetype that Techland have utilised to its fullest making up for all of them missed opportunities from games such as Dead Island.
Set in the city of Harran, you are Kyle Crane, a government operative who has gone undercover to enter the zombie infested quarantined city of Harran to try and find a top secret file. It’s a hell of a lot deeper than that and many side missions easily take you off course. The story is full of interesting characters, a kickboxing femme fatale, Brecken who is leader of a group of survivors and Rais who is the main antagonist in control of his very own military. The overall plot has more twists than a bag of penne pasta but it never fails bore although the voice acting is as bad as watching an episode of Hollyoaks.
Think of Dying Light as a first person Assassins Creed mixed with Skyrim and Dead Island. Crane is an experienced runner which means he can run, vault, climb and jump up and across buildings seamlessly and when your agility is levelled up, its flows like fine wine. With the shear amount of the undead roaming, you gotta defend yourself right? First person combat has never felt better than it does here. You literally swing whatever you can find from hammers to crowbars to cricket bats and each one feels weighty and they can be modded with improvements making some interesting combinations.
The zombies in Dying Light are the best ones I’ve seen in any game. They move as you would expect and grab you if you’re caught unaware. There are different types too such as Virals which are crazed zombies that can run fast and jump high, Bombers explode when they are near you and the toad which spits acid at you. Things really get interesting at night. We are introduced to Volatiles, these are one-hit kill super zombies from hell and your best bet against them is running and hiding, no joke. Another enemy type is Rais’ thugs who are smarter and stronger than your average dead head. They take cover, guard against your attacks and attack using close and long range weapons, definitely a force to be reckoned with which will keep you busy whilst doing the hundreds of missions found here.
Later on, things really change when you unlock the Grappling Hook. It turns you into a web slinging Spider-man, well not really but it certain feels that way allowing you to soar across the beautiful Harran landscape. It looks amazing teeming with detail as is the inhabitants of it. These zombies look menacing and each one has a unique look and feel to them. They may be dumb but they are frighteningly real looking. Same goes for the cast of characters. There’s no doubt in my mind that Dying Light is one of the best zombie games available.
Harran is gorgeous!
Smacking zombies has never felt better.
Free running mechanics flow silky smooth like a fine wine.
The game completely changes at night and when you gain the Grappling Hook.
Interesting plot full of twists and turns.
Side mission variety sometimes is better than the main plot.
Be A Zombie mode is a tacked on less desirable attachment, like diarrhoea
Co-op is good but not great.
Acting leaves a lot to be desired.
Dying Light is one of the best zombie games I’ve ever played. Realistic visuals and smooth gameplay mechanics really make this game shine. The way the game changes and the enemy varieties keep you on your toes. This game makes up for all of those zombie games that missed the mark.