The Average Gamer

Dying Light Review: It’s Killing Me (PC)

Zombie hordes. Excitement and dread.

The wind rushes past your breathing apparatus, a faceless women is communicating with you whilst you perform a H.A.L.O jump into the South American city of Harran. This fictional paradise has gone to hell and you are sent in to locate a rogue politician, retrieve a file he has stolen, and get the out of there. Sounds simple enough? Cue the one of the two major factions that have formed in the wake of the outbreak in section zero.


This is where Dying Light launches off, at one heck of a pace. There is noble sacrifice, heroism, a pinch of parkour, and a huge dose of inexperience on the way to the game taking the training wheels off you, Kyle Crane. Yet, when it does? Woah, Dying Light really explodes with content, both trivial and brutal. From simple fetch quests to escort quests. The latter can both be hilarious and some of the most challenging content in the early-to-mid game.

One quest that comes to mind is where you encounter a werewolf, yeah… The writing on this mission had me in stitches; the voice acting from Roger Craig Smith, the voice actor for Kyle Crane, is what made the mission. If I encounter a werewolf, I will take cues from him. This one quest is a divergence from the norm within Dying Light, two parts humour and one part fleshing out the living world. Dying Light is not attempting to be The Last of Us, not at all. However, it does have some serious undertones woven throughout.

The missions, the character interaction, and the huge open world of Harran’s two playable maps, are just the clothing on the body of Dying Light. The body doesn’t hold up too well in some areas, but that is more down to developers Techland skipping legs day.

At the head of it all you have the parkour system, which is done extremely well. Think Mirror’s Edge meets Dead Island, and you have the free-running system in Dying Light. If you choose to play Dying Light from the safety of the shanty shack rooftops or leaping from train car to train car, staying away from the dangers of Harran’s new residents, then you will have an easier time, but it won’t prepare you for forced combat situations. The parkour system is limited at first, though how it explodes from parkour into something else entirely, made me think of the film Lucy; in so much as you become so powerful, that very little can stand in your way. You can hop on the heads of enemies, scale seemingly impassable walls, even go all Babe Ruth and slide your way to safety. Alas, there is no USB moment. Or Morgan Freeman. Shame.


The heart of Dying Light is the character progression system, which ties into the crafting system. Its simplicity is refreshing. Jump, slide, climb, do the moonwalk and you gain points for the agility skill tree. Swing a weapon, shoulder charge enemies or doors and you gain points in the power skill tree. Earn enough points and you gain a rank within the applicable tree.

The third skill tree, survivor, is filled by completing missions, rescuing survivors, and other random events out in the world. Spending the points you earn in tiers, novice to expert, will unlock abilities such as increased inventory, the knowledge to craft more effective weapons, and some really cool passives such as the aforementioned zombie head-hopping.

There have been some quality-of-life issues, mainly to due with the FPS. It can drop horribly for seemingly very little reason. Thankfully there is one action you can take that will increase your FPS massively; reducing the view distance bar to nothing. TotalBiscuit has produced a graphical performance video of Dying Light showing how this will give a boost whilst also not having much impact of the visuals.

Now, the legs and feet of the body is where Dying Light stumbles. The zombies, as I mentioned, provided me with excitement and dread. Just not as you would think. I am excited to see them, as I see free experience points walking towards me. On that same token, I dread to see them as they are just not imposing once you have encountered a player-controlled Night Hunter.


Be the Zombie is the name of adversary mode within Dying Light. Unlike the seamless drop-in drop-out experience of the 4-player co-op experience, which is a lift from Dead Island, you have to load and queue from a different menu to Be the Zombie. It doesn’t detract from the experience, as you have a whole new style of game play to learn. If you are in main game, you can be invaded seamlessly(if you have enabled the option.) Once you are invaded by an actual player, you will experience tension that is tenfold over your first date, your A-Level results, or heck, even marriage. Techland have done such an awesome job at the 1-on-1 through to 4-on-1 aspects of the game. Be the Zombie keeps the legs from collapsing, keeping them rigid enough to stumble on to a very fun experience.

Ultimately, Dying Light is a great spiritual successor to Dead Island. It is an improvement in almost every area, from game play to story. It falls a little short on the enemy threat levels, but is redeemed by the human controlled players and enemy. If you do not have anyone to play this with, or aren’t wanting to hop into a random game with people, I would stick with Dead Island. However, if you can brave the worlds of Xbox Live, PSN or Steam, then Dying Light is the zombie game to play right now.

Dying Light is out now on Xbox One, PS4 and Windows PC.

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