At this point I have a real tough time getting excited to play yet another zombie game. Even when I first saw and played Dying Light, the zombie craze felt like it was winding down to a crawl (that’s a little zombie-humor right there) 😀
So in 2015, with most of the zombie unpleasantness behind us, Dying Light — at least thematically — comes off like it’s competing from behind. But that didn’t stop me from giving Dying Light a 12-hour shot at winning me over. There’s a chance it could possess some never-before-seen zombie action that’ll reinvigorate the genre, right?
Well, not so much.
That’s not to say Dying Light isn’t fun to play, it certainly is — and it’s got a handful of ultra-satisfying scenes of zombie dismemberment glory. It’s also the most refined and competent effort developer Techland has put forth, a realized evolution of the Dead Island action-RPG-meets-crafting experience.
Give Dying Light points for successfully attaching a parkour mechanic to what’s primarily a first-person-shooter. The “Mirror’s Edge” addition to the game works well and doesn’t outstay its welcome as a design choice.
Stitching jumps from rooftops, box trucks, awnings and beyond is a welcome amendment to a zombie game, where I often find myself playing the “ground is hot lava” game.
However, the problem I found with Dying Light is that falls short of crafting any kind of narrative that isn’t cut from the same dreary dystopian cloth that you’ve seen a thousand times before.
It’s gimmick — that its zombies grow more intense and aggressive at night — is a necessary distinction that prevents the game from being labeled as cookie-cutter, but beyond that, there’s not much incentive to check it out.
I played Dying Light longer than I thought I would, mostly because I was committed to discovering what the next story mission would be. I didn’t find it necessary to waste time with side-quests, which is something I regularly find myself doing in similar games. That said, there are an awful amount of them that are sure to provide hours upon hours of play time.
All in all, Dying Light isn’t something I’d call a disappointment — it’s just exactly what I assumed it would be. And as much as I lament about the monotony of slicing up zombies, there’s enough variation in that category for even the most jaded zombie slayer. 😀