After a year, Dying Light finally receives a rather meaty expansion, making it even more-so into one of the better zombie games on the market.
Dying Light returns
A little over a year ago, I covered Dying Light and said that it was more fresh than most zombie games, but the story lacked in several areas. And now The Following has arrived to make me eat my words. The story is, without a doubt, way more interesting. It invokes some excellent, almost Stephen King-esque feelings of cults and shadowy figures.
The basics of the tale are as follows: You return as Kyle Crane (the protagonist from the main game), travelling out of the city and into the countryside to find out if a rumor of people who don’t turn undead once they’re bitten is true or not (it is). But before you can find out how this is happening, you must gain the trust of the Children of the Sun so that you will be noticed by the Faceless Ones, who will eventually take you to meet the Mother (I told you, it sounds like something out of Weird Tales magazine). It’s seriously a pretty awesome story, especially for a zombie game… though it’s by far not your run-of-the-mill zombie hunt.
The Countryside itself is pretty gosh darn big, with large open areas and actually very few buildings, which is both a good and bad thing. The good part, is the The Following adds vehicles to the mix. There’s a dune buggy now, which you acquire pretty early on, and which you can customize to your heart’s content (it also adds another skill tree: Driving). Car customizations include, but are not limited to: ramming bars, spikes, flamethrowers, speed boosts, and paintjobs of various kinds.
Parkour? Not really…
There are two negative parts about the lack of buildings in The Following though. First of all, have you ever tried to do parkour in barren field? If you haven’t just go to the nearest field, jump up and down a few times, and you’ve just about done all you could do, besides doing some sick flips over a hay bale. And remember that the parkour is a huge part of the on-foot gameplay in Dying Light.
Second, when night time comes, you get demolished by the Volatiles (you know, the way overpowered night time zombies?). And that’s because there is nowhere to hide; so I guess it’s kind of a good thing there though, because like I said in my original review of the main game about a year ago, I never really tried to mess around with them too much and I simply avoided them at all costs (and succeeded most of the time). But it’s a lot harder to avoid them where you’re two miles from the nearest safe-zone and your car is broken. Which reminds me.
I haven’t been filled with such pure rage caused by a game in what feels like an eternity. In one of the first missions in the game, you are tasked with driving along a bursting pipeline to a small building, where you will find a valve that you then turn to open the pipes up.
Well, at the start of the mission, you are given three minutes, which should be more than enough time, given the fact that you have a buggy that can travel about ten times as fast as running. When I got to this point of the mission however, it was night time, and my car was outside of the safe zone. See where I’m going with this?
My car was surrounded by Volatiles, so I of course spent most of my ammunition just getting to my car, only to find that the zombies can actually run the same speed as the car. Oh, and they can damage it while chasing after you. This revealed a huge design flaw.
When you die, the game autosaves, meaning that while everything resets to it’s position (I.E. the car outside surrounded by Volatiles), you don’t get any of your ammo back, and what damage that has been done to your car remains, so after several failed attempts, each harder than the last, my car was broken and out of gas.
Eventually I figured out through accidentally pressing the button, that you can repair your car with screws. I then used the broken system to my advantage, and spent the next several failed mission attempts (at this point the game finally got back around to daylight, by the way), running around collecting spare screws and car parts from nearby broken down vehicles until I finally had enough that I could restore my car to working order. Eventually I beat the mission, after about forty-five minutes… for what should have been a 3 minute mission.
I can’t act like that ruined the entire game for me, because it didn’t, but it did damage my opinion slightly. The autosaving immediately upon death is kind of a bad move, I don’t think that can really be denied, but it’s by no means game ruining.
Dying Light: The Following
Release Date: February 9th, 2016
Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher: Warner Bros