Running, jumping and smashing though doors as you try to escape from the zombie horde, Dying Light places players in a game that is one part Mirror’s Edge and two parts Dead Island. You play as a runner trying to go through the story in a world infested with the living dead. You have a small assortment of weapons and your feet to take you away as you go from story mission to story mission and try to stay alive.
Built by the people over at Techland and published by WB Interactive, Dying Light is a game that I personally am amazed took this long to create. It feels like a natural fit to have a world where fighting zombies is just not possible. It may be possible to kill a few, but with more being infected every day it becomes an impossibility. Techland looked at that and built a game that focuses more on the escape then the fight, and it feels fantastic.
The demo starts with a small area that lets you hone your skills. All movement relies on running, jumping and the ability to grab and hold onto your surroundings. This is rather hard to get the hang of on first play though. It took me around 10 minutes to get the hang of the movement, though once in motion it felt very natural to keep moving in a specific direction. The ability to get to a given destination in the way that feels best to you was a great move. It felt very open to explore the world and deal with zombies the way that felt best. The randomly generated side quests give a new level to the movement and progression, giving the players the choice of taking them on or focusing on the story beats. The side quests will award valuable resources but may cost you time or a death you cannot afford. It is a choice that is left to the players and from the demo it seems to work wonderfully.
Beyond the normal variety of infected, fast type, tank type, etc, the day/night cycle also gives a new take on the zombie genre. Taking the normal weak enemies and giving them more power when the sun goes down builds on the sense of dread that sadly has been lost with many recent zombie games. They become a thing that needs to be avoided and running becomes a need rather than a choice once it is dark.
Slated for 2014 on all major platforms Dying Light is a game that any zombie lover will want to keep an eye on. The graphics are built on a new in-house engine although they do feel similar in tone to that of Dead Island, also by the same studio. From the early look it was fun, fluid and interesting, yet it will need to be seen if all the ideas will come together in a full package. Keep an eye on CGM for more E3 coverage along with all the articles that keep the site so interesting.