Friday, April 21, 2017

Dying Light and Emerging New Zombie Filled Worlds: A Digital Game Review

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28DLA continues to bring you game reviews, from 2015! The latest is Dying Light, from Polish-based production house Techland. Techland has teamed up with Warner Bros. to bring game fans the best in zombie bashing fun. Dying Light is a vast improvement over 2011's Dead Island release (also produced by Techland). Much has changed as Techland has brought their latest to the new generation of consoles, including the PS4, XBox One and Personal Comp'. There are more character movements in this latest release and a much larger environment. Though, the main story in Dying Light is very shallow and almost forgettable. As Kyle Crane, you must bring in a rogue, disenchanted agent (possibly a cargo hoarder too). In the meantime, you will have thousands of zombies to pound into mush, survivors to rescue and online players to harass. There is lots to do in Dying Light; the game is best enjoyed in small chunks, though.

This game fan had to actually research the story, to figure out the main campaign details. Basically, as Kyle Crane, you have been sent into Harran, to take out a rogue GRE agent, named Kadir Suleiman. Harran was the center of some sort of major sporting event. But now, the city is littered with the undead. Zombies, in wrestling outfits, do their best to bite your neck, while survivors demand your attention. Their is lots to do in Harran as the GRE (Global Relief Effort) shows its true evil hand. They don't care about you or the survivors, just their mission. It is all very Apocalypse Now-esque; you play Willard (Martin Sheen), forever destined to kill Kurtz (Marlon Brando). Though, the final campaign moments come across as confusing and poorly set up.

This gaming fan only had a couple of criticisms, for this release. One of the major complaints has already been mentioned above, the shallowness of the story. If you are a writer of any competency, then you might want to work in the gaming industry, where competition is sparse. Still, there is very little not to like within Dying Light. From climbing multi-storied bridges to knocking zombies over cliffs, there is a lot to explore in this release. Other complaints are fairly petty. The programmers like to span zombies, over your right shoulder. If you are fighting an enemy in front, then you can be guaranteed that a zombie is spawning behind you. Where do they all come from, so quickly? Also, this gamer grew tired of the multi-player, fairly fast. As the zombie, experienced players will know how to counter your attacks. In a group, players have the advantage and being a zombie is not all it is cracked up to be. This player found himself watching more in the multiplayer (at higher levels), than actually doing. It takes a bit of patience, to find your moment to strike. Overall, there is much more to congratulate Techland on, than criticize within Dying Light.

On the positive end of the spectrum, Dying Light offers a number of improvements, over Dead Island. The setting has increased in general size. Instead of one main map, there are at least three in this release, including Old Town, The Slums and various other remote locations. Even after completing the campaign, this player was investigating darkened areas of the map. Also, the player movements have improved greatly, over the 2011 release. You can sidestep, now. You can also use a grappling hook to stay above the zombie hordes. You can backpedal quickly to avoid the explosive bomber. Or, you can climb buildings and cliffs, to your heart's content. The number of weapons, to craft, are plentiful. You can use swords, batons and sickles with: poison, flame and electricity. The zombies offer a moving landscape, on which to test your vast weaponry. As well, the landscape is not just expansive horizontally, but vertically. The player will find himself or herself climbing vast radio towers, or incomplete skyscrapers. The highlight and the greatest source of frustration, within this gaming experience, was climbing a multi-storied bridge. On top, players can see the expanse of the gaming environment and a few hidden items, too. There is a lot to admire in this expansive digital release.

Techland continues to innovate in the gaming industry. Along with the DLCs (The Following, The Bozak Horde), Dying Light offers a lot of material here. You can explore, you can bash, you can run dangerous errands, or help random survivors. There is always something to do in this digital, imaginative world. Meanwhile, household chores, or writing deadlines are temporarily forgotten. But, Dying Light is best played in small chunks as some of the action becomes repetitive over time. Great for some of the gloomy Canadian winters, Dying Light offers an energetic visual and aural experience. This game fan looks forward to what Techland can come up with next and will take a look at the DLCs, in the meantime.

Overall: 8 out of 10.

*it is great to see programmers use Day to Night immersion and environmental effects.

A thorough review of the story is available here: A Dying Light Review at the Washinton Post

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