Dying Light - Review

Click Jade's head to watch the review on Youtube!

Click Jade's head to watch the review on Youtube!

Transcript

Dying Light. Don't walk in thinking it's going to be a powerful narrative with huge realizations and character twists. Run in thinking that you're going to enjoy the most thrilling uses of parkour in a video game. Cause that's what you will be paying for - a thrilling experience of panic and skill thrown together to make you freak out at every turn. 

Dying Light delivers the story of Kyle Crane, a freelance operative for the G.R.E, a company who basically reeks of evilness, overbearing control, and manipulation. It's up to him to find and secure a file that contains basically THE FATE OF THE WORLD, somewhere in the big city of Harran. But in truth, Crane's just trying to save his ass from zombies that scale from 1 to psycho.  He also tries to help people. And coupled with voice actor Roger Craig Smith, Crane feels like a big brother who's just trying to help, realizing he's put others in a pretty shitty situation and is doing the best that he can. 

What you have at your disposal? Your two legs, as you run around, jumping on everything you see to avoid these zombies and acquire your goals. As you level up, which by the way involves a very satisfying skill tree for crafting sickles and swords, bumping up dexterity, and applying slides and dropkicks, you access two of my most favorite tactics: camouflage, which consists of slapping zombie blood all over your face to fool the deformed denizens of Harran, and the grappling hook, which makes shifting around the air as fun as fighting Titans. Also, playing "The Floor is Lava" is hilarious. If and when you get the game, try it. Worth.

What I sincerely like is that even the side quests, or better yet, the people you just meet along the way, have their own names. Their own stories. Some are just people caught in the mess, while others are just hilariously bonkers. Zombie plague or not. I like that you're saving individuals, not just always nameless people you find getting their heads bit off at every corner. Which, don't get me wrong, nameless deaths do happen. But the city feels alive with these characters, despite...well...almost everyone being dead.

As far as my gripes with the game, here's one character to start it off: Jade. Don't get me wrong! She does has an interesting background: the Scorpion, a former champ in kickboxing, is strong in her own right without the need for others, and is continuously that person Crane could never catch up to. But, avoiding spoilers, I feel we spend so much time chasing after Jade that her character is lost so fast, so quick. Underdeveloped is not the word I'm going for, but I do think she feels like an aspiration that Crane has to look up to, but fell short of that expectation in a highly lackluster way.

The only remaining gripes I have with this game lie in the very situational blocks of using certain items. Grappling hook is amazing, but in certain situations, it's prevented from being used when it's clear the hook will work on said building. Also, another thing that agitates while playing Mr. Parkour is when you cannot climb some structures where you know you absolutely should be allowed to scale it. For instance, some of the ladders are locked, but there's no way that you cannot climb the material that is protecting it. Like come on, I can scale barely protruding bricks but I can't stick my leg onto a metal bar? Let's be serious.

For a game that does have a linear storyline, I am glad we have Crane. He didn't showcase himself as a beefy macho-man, devoid of personality. His reactions to everything happening to Harran were natural and befitting. Nothing felt wrong to the ear - he was a big softy at times, and a fun asshole to others. He develops from a standard secret-agent goody two-shoes into this awkwardly charming "I just risked my life, fuck this, fuck that, get on my level, rekt" kind of state. He isn't delivering elongated speeches, or Jack Bauer punch lines...he's just a guy trying not to get killed. And although I am kind of sick playing male protagonists every single game, he was a real funny guy I enjoyed listening to for hours on end. 

For those wanting to play this game, however, a big warning: do not play if you can't stand the following 1. corpses 2. copious amounts of blood 3. corpses spewing out copious amounts of blood. This game's not for the faint of heart, and many different times in the game, even I have struggled to deal with some of the enemies that came by. Like virulents, who will terrorize you both physically and mentally. Thankfully, the game doesn't rely on jump scares, but everything is out to get you at night and you need to bolster the fuck up and be smart, or be quick.

While the main story is cheesy and linear, running around slaying zombies is extremely fun. Crane's a good guy with his own motivations, who feels natural to some guy you'd find across the street, just trying to survive everyday in a zombie apocalypse. And when interacting with the citizens of Harran, he's a pretty funny guy. 


Final Thoughts

Dying Light already is one of my favorites, as far as fast-paced gameplay for any type of genre is concerned. The story kept me going through the motions, but the gameplay is REALLY where it's at. It's so hard to talk about how much I like Crane's silliness without spoiling the plot, but damn. He's an endearing character.

One additional thing I didn't mention in the video, however? If you get motion sickness, DO NOT PLAY THIS GAME. The parkour is strong with this one. If you only suffer from it a bit, remove Motion Blur. It helps. (A LOT)