DYING LIGHT 2
The new zombie RPG that will go viral
You’ll need all your parkour skills to evade the zombies… but what will you do against people?
To find its feet amid the army of zombie games on PlayStation the original Dying Light went, literally, over the heads of its competition. A focus on parkour traversal and ‘zombies’ – really frenzied infected humans with a lust for blood – that were equal to your every move lent the game a unique, if simplistic, take on the survival horror formula.
Retaining the good – parkour – and improving the bad – everything else, Dying Light 2 is shaping up to be one of 2019’s sleeper hits. On a base level, like in the first game you can engage in building-shimmying shenanigans easily by pressing one button. But developer Techland has revealed it’s layering RPGlike elements into the parkour system.
There’s a Metroidvania feel to this sequel’s design, with new areas of The City – the last large human settlement on the planet still fighting to survive – becoming accessible as you earn new skills and expand your parkour moves. Sections of the environment that had been inaccessible are within reach after you unlock new ways to move around the world, travelling faster and with greater finesse.
It’s a design choice and levelling system aimed at encouraging you to constantly alter your parkour flow. The more you experiment and do, the more XP you receive, with which you can unlock new skills and ways to overcome the problems you encounter in the game.
When you begin to fight, combining combat with these developed parkour skills (leaping and wall-running and kicking and swinging bats), Dying Light 2 really begins to showcase its brand of zombie action.
One prime source of joy in the original game, the ability to kick the pursuing infected off ledges to their splattery deaths, is definitely back, and now done with more panache.
“They’re zombies, right, so you could think they’re not that advanced. But they are, and they’ve learned a slew of new tricks,” explains the game’s lead game designer, Tymon Smektała. “Especially the Virals, the fast ones that have turned just recently – they still show signs of human intelligence; they co-operate, avoid damage, and can actually be quite smart.”
So expect a hefty challenge up on those rooftops. And it’s not just the zombies, the Virals, that you need to keep an eye on. Set 15 years after the first game, Techland has built on the original’s setting, developing lore to lend its zombie-kicking fun some substance. Penned by Chris Avellone (Fallout: New Vegas) with help from Karolina Stachyra (The Witcher 3), the game presents new human characters who are capable of mistreating you just as harshly as any zombie.
According to Smektała, in Dying Light 2 humans are more dangerous than the infected zombie menace. They behave in very complex and unexpected ways to keep you on edge.
Smektała reveals: “If you scare some guys they’ll just drop their weapons and run off. Or they’ll get desperate with their last few health points and will start attacking you ferociously, hoping this will let them survive the fight. With humans it never is as easy as bashing infected on their heads with a hammer.”
As the enemy AI improves you’ll need to adapt your tactics. Smektała explains how you can mix parkour attacks with environmental takedowns, using and interacting with the world to defeat enemies. There are throwables to take out foes from a distance, too. “Each encounter is a challenge, a puzzle for you to solve – but you have plenty of ways to find your own solution,” he says.
Combat and movement is about choice, and that theme resonates through the game. Decisions you make in the story change The City. In many ways, Dying Light 2 is evolving beyond its original premise. It’s infectious.
“MIX PARKOUR ATTACKS WITH ENVIRONMENTAL TAKEDOWNS.”
While the infected zombiealikes grab headlines, it’s the new human AI that will cause trouble.
Above Melee combat is back, and always fun in first person. You can unlock new skills and upgrade your moves using earned XP.
Set in a new Dark Ages, The City is a brutal and primal place that juxtaposes modern scenery with medieval practices.