Do you like zombie survival scenarios? I sure do. I’m not quite sure what it is about the idea of living through the end of the world but its always captured my imagination. Clearly I’m not the only one, for the genre has exploded the last five or six years, and its showing no sign of slowing. Now on the new consoles, the hardware is providing some truly impressive experiences, and Techland’s newest offering is no exception. A tropical cityscape gone ‘Land of the Dead’, scavenge by day, and hide in terror by night in this newest zombie apocalypse, Dying Light.
Dying Light was developed by Techland and produced by Warner Brothers Interactive
Release Date: January 27, 2014
Genre: Open-world, Survival horror
Don’t Go Out After Dark
Though they seem quick to distance themselves from the series, developers Techland are far from novice hands when it comes to the zombie apocalypse game. Responsible for the first iteration of the Dead Island franchise, a game that drew a lot of attention for its powerful and controversial first trailer. Remember the ‘start at the end’ heart breaking story of a little girl that becomes a zombie in slow time? That one. A game about surviving the zombie outbreak with wits, allies, and whatever was on hand that could be cobbled together. It was also the first of the zombie survival sims to put the focus on melee weapons, rather than your more standard ‘bullet to the head’. Whatever their take on that series now, it was another step towards the elusive goal of every developer in the zombie genre, actually giving players the feeling of surviving the apocalypse day to day. It was also fairly influential on Dying Light, whatever they may say to the contrary, an excellent first try that no doubt helped provide a laundry list of ideas to improve the experience of running around the city, scavenging, saving lives, and putting down the undead with some handy bit of salvaged weaponry. With a heavy focus on free running, and a time of day cycle that turns placid unded meat bags by day, into terrifying, savage, hunter- killers by night, Dying Light, to judge by its media, might be the closest to the mark so far.
We’ve all played that game, or, maybe normal people don’t, but I sure do, that ‘imagine it’s the end of the world’ game. If you’re trying to imagine what skills you’d like to have, I’m pretty sure free running comes to mind. The closest humans come to actual super powers, being able to spring up, around, over under and across an urban landscape doesn’t just look cool, in the apocalypse its downright useful! Dynamic movement in a beautiful (in that end of the world sort of way) environment… it’s a big part of what made those first looks at Dying Light so interesting. Parkour isn’t new in games of course, the Assassin’s Creed franchise, and Mirror’s edge are two obvious examples, nothing like this though. The environment transversal is mesmerizing, it carries weight, making the experience all the more real. And then, of course, there’s the alleys full of zombies
The Apocalypse You’ve Always wanted
Capturing the feel of actually navigating an environment in all directions, but with slightly more input that simply pointing your character and letting the animations sort it out, there’s a fine balance at work. Players will find themselves scouring the ruins of a city in ruin. It’s a free runners paradise, just watching game play has been enough to hook me. Though I’ll be the first to admit, what I’ve seen of getting caught out at night time is downright horrifying, and I can be something of a coward. That said, I’ve also longed to leap from buildings on aid runs, helping stranded survivors and navigating the end of the world, so, six in one, half dozen the other.
Not simply another zombie game with some hype or a kickstarter campaign, Dying Light has been receiving positive feedback from the ‘jump’ (thats a parkour joke). Probably as close to actually surviving the zombie apocalypse as we’ve gotten to this point, if you’re like me it has you itching to lace up those parkour shoes and wrap your hands in something tough looking… we have cargo containers to climb.