Dying Light 5 Years Later: Does it Hold Up?

Dying Light

Developed and published by Techland, with the help of Warner Bros. Entertainment, in 2015, Dying Light was one of the best post-apocalyptic zombie games that I had ever played. Fast-forward to 2021 and the highly-anticipated sequel to the previously acclaimed zombie looter-brawler is set to release after a delay from last year. With Dying Light 2 about to release sometime this year, we thought it would be the perfect time to jump back into the game and see if it’s worth playing over 5 years later! Is the game really as good as I remember it, or have I been affected by nostalgia and the hype for Dying Light 2? Well, I’d say that’s not the case, as I still find myself having as much, or even more, fun as I had the first time I played the game. As with just about any review of anything ever, there’s going to be some pretty heavy spoilers here (the game’s been out for 5+ years, so I think I’m probably safe, but just so you know).

Story

The Dying Light story is actually pretty good for a zombie game; it follows Kyle Crane (portrayed by former Sonic voice actor, Roger Craig Smith) after finding himself in a zombie-infested city called Harran. Crane is tasked with finding and obtaining a file of sensitive information stolen by Kadir Suleiman. The GRE sends Crane undercover and airdrops him into Harran, but he is bitten by an infected! Luckily, he is found by one of the core members of the recovery team at the Tower and rescues Crane. You are then supposed to report your findings to both the Tower and the GRE (albeit covertly) in an attempt to maintain your double-agent appearance. There’s a whole bunch of twists and turns that happen in the game, but I won’t go into too much detail, so in case you somehow haven’t played the game yet, you can experience most of it for yourself. That being said, the story is pretty engaging as your character actually speaks, so it doesn’t feel like a brain-dead zombie without a consciousness (pun definitely intended). The game is full of laughs, jump scares, and heartbreak all along the way and it manages to make it all feel somewhat impactful one way or another. Once you get far enough into the story to reach Rais and start doing missions for him, you’ll also meet a guy named Karim. Karim works for Rais and, although he’s supposed to be one of the bad guys, man I can’t help but love him – he’s just a swell dude with a fantastic sense of humor.

Sound Design

The sound design in Dying Light is also incredible. While I was replaying even the first mission, sprinting through the city and running through the mass of zombies, it was almost like I could feel the air rushing around my face and the zombies that gathered all around me. I don’t know how Techland did it, but they absolutely nailed every sound from the air rushing by as you run, the metal and wood clattering as you jump from one rooftop to another, to the ever-so satisfying “thwack” of taking a zombie’s head off with a pipe, hammer, or any other blunt object you can get your hands on.

Graphics

The actual in-game graphics of Dying Light still look great, especially for a game released in 2015 before we had ray-tracing, or any of the technology we’ve developed in the last few years. However, the cut-scene graphics look a little more dated.

Gameplay

The gameplay of Dying Light is what really makes it as good as it is. From being able to parkour and climb almost any object or building you see to the incredibly satisfying beat-downs you’re free to deliver the Infected, Dying Light delivers a phenomenal gaming experience, even 5 years after its initial release. The movement feels great, even though the controls are very different from your standard controls. I used an Xbox Series X controller and pressing RB to jump is still a bit of an adjustment, however, it makes sense for Dying Light. The control scheme is exactly the way it needs to be for what it is. The skill trees and  upgrades that you can unlock as you progress throughout the game are also unique and change how you play the game with each and every new skill you unlock.

Overall, I would definitely say Dying Light has withstood the test of time and will continue to do so for years to come. If Dying Light is any sign of what we’re in for with Dying Light 2, I’d say Techland has a very bright future ahead of them.

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