Following the original surprise hit game, Dying Light 2 tells the story of a global pandemic. With a large shadow to step out of, and development challenged by the aforementioned pandemic, can the game itself step into the spotlight?
Like so many others, the game’s development has been hampered by the pandemic, and when this reviewer read it would take 500 HOURS to complete, I almost threw in the towel before writing the review – and I’ve played the Witcher 3 to completion several times over. For total clarity, the ‘main story’ should ‘only take 80’ but it’s still daunting – even if you spin it positively as great value for the cost of a game. For better or worse, I set out into the world.
Using the foundations of the previous game, the open-world is within a city, where survivors now live upon the roofs of skyscrapers and have become masters of their domain – by way of becoming parkour experts and beating zombies to death with a variety of sports equipment.
Almost all the survivors themselves are infected – but not part of the mindless horde. It’s not necessarily the shamblers that keep the game tense either. The need to stay exposed to UV light is the only thing that’s stopping you from turning into one of them – and the constant tick down of that metre shows the literal minutes away from turning that you are.
So, the positives. The parkour system is fluid and beautiful. Much like the more excellent Spiderman games, even moving from point to point across the map is thoroughly enjoyable. Avoiding the city floor becomes all-important, impacting every aspect of the game alongside the infection metre. As you level up, more and more traversal options become available, more acrobatics and equipment to add variety and flexibility.
Combat is also entertaining, to a point. Whilst managing the horde and dealing with zombies rarely gets old as you dismember them with dropkicks and golf clubs. Fighting humans get old a bit faster due to a lack of variety and dull AI, but we’re not here to get excited about fighting bandits in a zombie game.
The survivors that aren’t trying to kill you are also somewhat beige, although the voice acting and actors themselves (i.e. Rosario Dawson) are fantastic. The potential is wasted by the story sort of just…wandering about between characters without building meaningful connections. As the player however, you inhabit the body of Aiden. And, when measured up against the wide roster of NPCs he is…oh so boring.
Aiden is a dull character, and the fact the story ‘breadcrumbs’ you with interesting flashbacks and hints ultimately amounts to nothing interesting. Could Aiden have been filled in with a silent protagonist, or a character creator – honestly hard to tell. He’s just enough to somehow be a character in his own right – but not enough of one.
Sadly the decision-making system in the game, like so many implemented these days, is largely inconsequential as well. You can make what seem like history-altering decisions as well as interpersonal small ones – but they have roughly the same impact. The game is however, largely fun, and Aiden’s blandness can even help to make the rest of the cast and the story shine, even if his decisions barely scratch it.
Author: Tom, Cardiff Store