It’s confession time guys: I love a good zombie game, I love a good FPS game and I love Dying Light for mixing my two favorite things. Since the Left 4 Dead series we have rarely found a first-person zombie fest able to keep our attention for more than 1 hour. But this title changed everything. I did a 10 hours marathon as soon as I downloaded it and I’m proud of it. Dying Light has brought back the fun of a great survival horror game and even added in a little different twist to it.
The game starts with a news briefing about the city of Harran that has been infected by an unknown virus. The government decided to build a wall around the city and quarantine everyone in it. So far so good. The only trouble is that the rest of the world started helping the ones who had survived and were trapped inside the quarantine wall. They air-dropped food, supplies and most importantly, antizen, a medication able to keep you human for a little longer once you have been bitten by an infected. Where do they drop it, you may ask? Well, anywhere. And in order to get the supplies that gets dropped in, you have to fight your way through a growing number of zombies that are very keen to motion on their level and sound. They like to pack up and chase down whatever piques their interest.
That’s where things get a little fresh. Remember Mirror’s Edge? did you enjoy it as much as everyone did? well, you can rest easy knowing that you have found a new home for intense, first-person parkour action. The only two ways to survive in Harran are killing the infected or running, but you can’t just run on the streets, they belong to the infected. You have to use everything in your environment to your advantage. The traversal techniques and controls take a little getting used to, but once you do, you can mad-dash your way through the city and attack an enemy and then disappear. You even get a grappling hook when your amazing movements are not enough.
The whole point of your being in Harran in the first place is to find the would-be leader of the city, an evil and merciless psychopath who has gone rogue and stolen top-secret documents concerning the origins of the virus as well as the early-stage vaccine trials.
Ok too much about the story. What about the graphics? The game is gorgeous. From every angle and every vantage point, the sprawling, desolate city has been created in vivid detail and the lighting effects help to create a sense of realism to your plight that can even make you feel a little like this event could actually happen. Or at least, if it did happen, this is what a decimated major city would look like. There were a few framerate issues but I survived. However, apart from this one little thing, I found no other fault with the graphical content. Animations were fluid and timely and well-synced with the voice audio and atmospheric audio.
The voice acting is one of the best you will ever hear. Seriously. The voices aided in fleshing out the characters and made them memorable–which is a good thing since you spend most of your time listening to them on a radio, rather than actually seeing them. Beyond the voice audio the soundtrack is incredibly well done. It helps to add to the overall effect of whatever is going on at the moment but is ambient enough to not become a distractor. There was a time or two that I thought things got a little loud, but that’s a personal thing more than a technical issue. So overall, I think that the audio couldn’t have been any more spot-on than it was.
This game also introduces a first-person parkour traversal system that can either be a huge asset or your worst nightmare. The pacing is frenetic at best when you are trying to escape the hordes of infected while trying to secure food and supplies. The controls take a little bit to get used to since they are a little counter-intuitive in their placement, but that’s a personal opinion. Once you get the hang of it, you can literally fly your way through the city.