Dying Light is a game that passed me by upon its original release last year, partly because so many zombie games seem just the same – a never-ending samey hack ‘n’ slash againgst the undead (see Dead Island Riptide), and so it was only when the enhanced edition, known as The Following, was due to come out that my interest was piqued as I saw some parkour action seemingly reminiscent of Mirror’s Edge.
You are Kyle Crane, going undercover. Deep undercover. Deeper than Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop 2, as you’re checking out the city of Harran, a quarantine zone packed with zombies. Getting about during the night is more difficult than the daytime since some of the creatures go wild and you’re often lucky to make it out alive. It’s often fun to thwack zombies about the bonce with the lead piping that you nicked from a game of Cluedo (until you get your hands on a gun of some sort – and even then, ammo is in scarce supply), or to simply run like the wind. However, most of them stagger about like a drunken uncle at a family Christmas party so those aren’t difficult to escape from. that said, you then soon come across virals… and they CAN run faster than the wind. EEK! And double-EEK! when night time comes. And don’t forget the bombers, who look all bloated, like my ex-girlfriend after one too many glasses of white wine, and then explode in your face! Bleah!
The video below shows one of the virals, at night, also looking like my ex.
The parkour aspect is fun, but it’s a bit jerky at times, on full settings, even with my PC spec. In terms of the graphics, it sometimes feels like a game which was released several years ago (a la Riptide). There’s also far too much running about going here and there, and then back again. It feels like I’m doing that more than any actual game-playing. However, the sound is pretty good with a nice bone-crunching sound as you miss your footing during a leap and crash down to the ground.
Oddly, sometimes during the game, the objective marker is telling you which way to go, but then you select your map to set a waypoint and the marker isn’t there. Why is that??
One tip I figured out is that the game saves checkpoints quite often. I first noticed this when I had to activate anntena towers for Rais. I went over there from Rais’ place, died, and it started me off again from his compound. I stopped playing overnight because my sleep is required, and the next day, put the game back and on and found it placed me back at the antenna tower compound. So, if you’re ever about to attempt something important and fail, and it places you back miles away and you don’t want to pointlessly run a marathon again, quit out of the game to the menu and select ‘continue’. This theory doesn’t always work out, but when it does, it was very quick to get back into the game on PC. Wish I’d learned this sooner!
You can craft new items, such as lockpicks from metal parts, but it just doesn’t feel like it can reach the dizzy heights of The Last Of Us. That game felt like it raised the bar to amazing heights, rather like Shaun Of The Dead did for the zombie/comedy movie, so when new pretenders to the throne come along, such as Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, they need to be bang on the money to have a chance to compete against such a work of towering genius. And if they fail to meet it, then they’re always going to be compared unfavourably. Similarly, you’ll get some fun out of this, but beyond that, like the film example, it’ll always be playing second fiddle.
What “The Following” adds is to give you Dying Light with bells on – larger maps, a dune buggy, new weapons (eg. throwing spikes, flamethrowers, and UV lights to scare away the zombies), new firearms (eg. submachine guns, revolvers and a crossbow), cuddly toy (…just kidding), plus a ‘Nightmare Mode’ which extends the length of the night time, as if you’re living in Alaska, a la 30 Days Of Night and 30 Days Of Night: Dark Days – but, quite frankly, the night is long enough!
There’s also all of the original DLC included, and while I’m a campaign sort-of guy, multiplayer fans can rest assured that this version also contains a four-player co-op mode, plus the “Be The Zombie” mode where you can be… y’know, the zombie, but that aspect didn’t particularly grab me since it’s a lot easier to see where you’re going as a human. Also, I enjoyed electrocuting the zombies, as well as figuring out how to kill other ones (how does the big guy with a sledgehammer NOT die from a propane gas tank explosion?!!), but it’s the constant running about, there and back again, that’s annoying. You need a ‘fast travel’ option, so you can teleport between areas.
Joe Cocker may have liked it ‘when the night comes‘, but the remaining humans living in Harran, will only live in fear.
Dying Light: The Following Enhanced Edition is out now on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Click on the packshot for the full-size version.
Thanks to IGN for the embedding of their video below.
- Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive
- Players: single player campaign, four-player co-op; Be The Zombie multiplayer
- HDTV options: up to 1080p
- Sound: up to DTS 5.1
Director: Adrian Ciszewski
Producer: Tymon Smektala
Screenplay: Jerrold Brown, Dan Jolley, Rafal W Orkan, Haris Orkin and Pawel Selinger
Music: Pawel Blaszczak
Voice Cast: (*also does additional voices)
Kyle Crane: Roger Craig Smith
Jade: Nazneen Contractor*
Rahim: Suraj Partha
Dr Zere: Roger Aaron Brown*
Brecken: Matthew Wolf*
Rais: Jim Pirri*
Tahir: Michael Benyaer*
Camden: Dan Gilvezan*
Savvy/Fatin: Nick Shakoour*
Troy: Parisa Fakhri*
Spike: Kevin Daniels*
Karin: George Ledoux
Lena/Female Reporter: Leila Birch
Nick Pesto: Adam G
Antonie Merpe – Cuisine & Cargo DLC: David Belle
Cristof Merpe – Cuisine & Cargo DLC: Elias Toufexis
Bernard Smith – Cuisine & Cargo DLC: Nolan North
Ronald ‘Razor’ Tomasino – Cuisine & Cargo DLC: Michael Hollick
Female Survivor: GK Bowes
Child: Kannon Kurowski
Male Survivor: Yuri Lowenthal
Sibel/Inga/Kate/Suzanne: Amanda Philipson
Amir/Bandit: Roy Vongtama
Additional Voices: Scott Morgan
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.