Dying Light: Parkour and Dropkick in the Apocalypse

My God, zombie games have become new and interesting again. It’s easy to forget in 2021 how oversaturated the zombie game genre was. It filled every type of genre, from tense emotional stories like the Last of Us, to abominations like Road to Fiddler’s Green.

Now that we’re in the age of battle royale/ sandbox games though, zombie’s are making a comeback, in part due to the fact that now the trend chasing (Or trend parkouring) is over we can get back to zombie games made with an actual fucking point in mind, rather than big companies chasing the green.

With the new Dying Light 2 releasing in 2021 i thought it would be nice to lookback on one zombie game from this time that people actually seem to like.

Pro: Fluid Parkour, and Desperate Combat

This game is all about movement, which is something one usually doesnt find in the zombie genre. The parkour elements to this game add alot of depth, as your ability to move is your best weapon in this game. For the most part Techland did a good job with the movement. It feels solid, with good sound design and character animation, and is overall really smooth. Despite the fast movement there is little, if any framerate drop, which is good as that problem would have torpedoed the game.

It still has physics problems where the protagonist doesn’t seem to remember how his arms work as you fall to your death, cursing the devs all the way . But for the most part it feels solid, fluid and satisfying. Every piece of equipment feels “Parkoury” , and everything is built around your movement, such as throwing stars to stop a zombie quietly from a distance.

The combat itself is, for the most part, pretty good. The undead are pretty lively in this game. They dodge melee swings, try to trap you into tight corners, and can climb any building. Melee combat is a slog for the first hour, but once you start getting some decent gear, it becomes quite satisfying to whack your way through a group of biters.

Once you get a firearm, the game’s difficulty drops like a barbell into the ocean. You can pretty much kill anything in the game in a few hits, which causes the late game to becoming a bit tired and repetitive.

Going from struggling to take down three at a time to mowing through an army ends up going dull real fast. Regardless, the gameplay’s focus on movement and snap decision making create a tense survival game in a way that makes Mirror’s Edge look like a game about a child running through a dreary office complex

Con: Terrible Characters/ Story

I have to get this out of the way first: Who in their right goddamn mind thought that Rais would be anything above a waste of time and effort.

The characters in this game are god awful. It is so filled with zombie movie cliches that when a cutscene plays i roll my eyes and skip it half the time.

Rais is the absolute worst character. As the main bad guy he promotes a feeling of evil and badassery, which is fair considering he’s a murderous warlord. But he is so evil, he becomes unrealistic. From shooting his own men, to controlling life saving supply drops that the government just gives away anyways, he just defies common sense. His soldiers should just cut his throat and elect someone who doesn’t have an absolutely massive God Complex. His design is generic, think bald guy with a black mustache and you’ll probably be able to fill in the rest on your own.

It has other problems with genericism, to the point it sounds like they are going off a checklist

The good doctor working a cure out of a trailer? Check.

Hot badass lady that the hero needs to rescue? Check

Young child who has a bizarre amount of technical knowledge? Check

Main villain screaming the main characters name in rage? double check

the themes that “Men are the real monsters”

The only characters i found myself relating to was the main character, Kyle Crane and the leader of the resistance, a man called Brecken. Kyle surprised me at first, due to the fact that unlike other zombie FPS characters, he actually has a personality. He’s snarky, witty, and doesnt fail to tell his secret agency to shove it up their asses. Brecken, on the other hand, falls on the opposite end of the specture. He isn’t a military leader, in fact he traveled to the city as a parkour instructor, and it shows. Every scene he’s in shows him as this broken down, terrified man, who might snap and hurl himself out of the window at any moment.

Conclusion

Dying light is a flawed game, but one that is still very worthwhile. If you’ve been craving a parkour game and a zombie game at the same time then this is a perfect buy for you. If you wanted a more narrative focused game similar to Last Of US, then skip it and play something else, because Left 4 Dead 2 has a better story than this confusing narrative

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