Dy­ing Light

Hum­drum zom- yomp

SFX - - Videogames / Miscellaneous -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW! For­mat: Xbox One ( also avail­able on PC, PS4) Pub­lisher: Warner In­ter­ac­tive

Dy­ing Light is a game about zom­bies. The core parts of Dead Is­land, de­vel­oper Tech­land’s other un­dead fran­chise, are ap­par­ent in its at­tempt at sur­vival hor­ror, its XP- fu­elled skill trees and all them zom­bies. But there’s more: it’s got As­sas­sin’s Creed’s rooftop- clam­ber­ing and Ea­gle Vi­sion, Skyrim’s weed­har­vest­ing and lock­pick­ing, Sniper Elite’s slow- mo­tion dam­age porn and Far Cry’s… well, Far Cry’s ev­ery­thing else.

The first- per­son park­our, which is the cen­tral hook – other than zom­bies – sees Tech­land bite off more than it can chew. It works on a tech­ni­cal level, but it’s slow and the lack of ob­vi­ous rac­ing lines means you rarely hit full flow. It’s quite handy that the pro­tag­o­nist, Kyle Crane, per­fects the art of park­our not 20 min­utes af­ter his first go, but this is typ­i­cal of Dy­ing Light’s lazy re­liance on tropes. Al­most ev­ery char­ac­ter in the game falls into the cat­e­gory of “gruff man who has a dark se­cret”, “lady who doesn’t want to deal with your BS” or “guy who des­per­ately needs sup­plies that can be found in the bin out­side his house”. Even Crane’s boss is to­tally, ob­vi­ously evil, forc­ing him to en­able some grim hu­man traf­fick­ing just a scant few hours into the story.

Then there’s the in­con­sis­tency. The sur­vivors – peo­ple with mil­i­tary gear, train­ing and guns – ought to be as will­ing to help out as the T- shirt- wear­ing “noob” ( that’s you), but no. They sit in­side, static ex­cept for oc­ca­sion­ally ask­ing you to go and res­cue things they left be­hind. Small glimpses of fun – such as signs for “Left 4 Bread” and “Bites Mo­tel” – are enough to make you wish that the game had more of a sense of hu­mour about it­self, rather than build­ings full of AIs that only dif­fer from zom­bies in their propen­sity to dole out fetch quests and a pro­tag­o­nist whose pri­mary weak­ness is that he “cares too much about peo­ple”. Ap­par­ently not enough to stop mur­der­ing peo­ple for their flares, though.

Dy­ing Light is a vast im­prove­ment on the bro­ken Dead Is­land – in­deed, if you man­aged to eke fun from that tech­ni­cal sham­bles, you’ll be in heaven here. But with no real ideas of its own, it bor­rows heav­ily from other ti­tles with­out ever re­al­is­ing that a suc­cess­ful game is not the sum of its me­chan­ics. You’ll be able to fill many mind­less hours, sure, but it cer­tainly doesn’t have the brains to be a great zom­bie FPS. Kate Gray Dy­ing Light’s night lasts just seven min­utes. Why? “I’ve seen a grown man cry dur­ing the night,” says lead designer Ma­ciej Binkovski…

Paris Fash­ion Week sur­passed it­self.

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