Dying Light makes movement across urban landscapes fun with the application of parkour and other athletic (and gymnastic) moves, and it does so a little better than Assassin's Creed thanks to the intuitive way that movement is implemented. This is very important too, as the closed off city of Harran is filled to the brim with various staples of the urban world –from the densely packed cities, to the modern architectures. Then, there is also the threat of zombies –from the slow shambling types to the panic-inducing runners that will try to hunt you down.
What is Dying Light?
This is an open world game where you have an entire city to explore, lots of story and side mission content to accomplish, and plenty more zombies to content with. There is a survival aspect to the game, but contrary to what the initial parts of the game will tell you, the Dying Light's real focus is on the action first, anything else comes second or less. Players take on the role of Kyle Crane, an operative hired by the GRE in order to seek out a man who is blackmailing them.
As expected, the real story is more complicated that what the mission brief states. The target, Kadir Suleiman, is more than just a blackmailing sleazebag. And the real problem in the walled off city is caused by humans and not the zombies (this one is not really all that surprising, really).
Players then get involved in various events that are well beyond the scope of Crane's core mission, and yet there is so much to learn about the zombie epidemic, the various armed groups that have are causing chaos in the city, and of course, the various companies and their stakes in the game's events.
As we said, the initial gameplay of Dying Light is very misleading. When you first get into the game, surviving is a bit of a struggle. Movement is tough, and dealing with the zombies can be a very fatal, game-over inducing thing. Hiding from zombies becomes a key part of the things you learn to do. As if the challenge in broad daylight was not bad enough, once the sun sets and darkness falls over the city, the player will have to be doubly cautious, the zombies are more dangerous at night. When spotted, the game turns into a massive chase that will have players scrambling to safety more than anything else like the typical scenes you see in Zombie Escape Films, www.screenjunkies.com touches on a few of these.
After a few day and night cycles however (and a story mission or two), your mastery of the game's controls starts to show, and you will begin to run circles around zombies instead of outright hiding from them. You will start getting in to tactically selected fistfights where winning against a set number of undead targets is all you need to worry about. Nighttime becomes a game of risk as you get yourself intentionally chased and you zip across Harran as if it were you own personal playground.
Simply put, once you get used to movement and combat (and have earned a few decent upgrades), you will be the one bullying and harassing the zombies instead of having to run away from them. This shift in the game's dynamic is why the whole survival part of the game against zombies is not focused on, because the really dangerous things in Harran are the other humans.
Not Your Typical Zombie Game
Dying Light is not as scary as some undead survival games, there are many that execute that frantic and frightful atmosphere so much better, just check a few of them out here - www.survivalzombiegames.com, in fact, it is more of an action based game than a horror title –and the action starts off pretty early as well. Even in the bits where the player is still struggling, the scare and creep factor that is presented is highly muted by the lively and bright world of Harran. The city may be closed off, but the elements that make it a bustling and busy city have not been fully removed. And it looks great too –the bright lights, the intertwined streets, and all the little nooks and crannies you can run up and climb unto are carefully designed and detailed. The combat looks great as well –which is very important since melee plays a strong part of it. If you have been looking for a game where you do not play as a hapless struggling protagonist in a zombie apocalypse but still get to kick in the heads of the undead, then Dying Light is for you.