Dying Light may possibly be one of the best, if not the best zombie games ever made. Techland’s pure blend of fluid parkour maneuvering, and brutal zombie killing made it an instant classic and a massive financial success.
The bar was incredibly high for a sequel, if it were to live up to the expectations of fans, it would need to be bigger, better, and crazier. Techland appears to understand this, and have set out to make Dying Light 2 everything that people would want and more.
Dying Light 2 takes place 15 years after the outbreak first began and during that time the world has begun to fall back into a pseudo Dark Age.
Medieval-esque societies have begun to be built within the ruins of the old world. Each section of the city is controlled by a particular group or gang and it is up to you, Aiden Calwell, to traverse this new society and help the people where you can.
While many games will state that your choices in the game will have consequences, few ever feel as though those choices actually mattered. Dying Light 2 aims to prove that you can absolutely create that open world that changes and shifts with your every decision, and my behind closed doors preview of the game at this year’s E3 helped to illustrate that.
The short section of the game that I got to see takes place just as the city is about to run out of water, in fact they only have about 24 hours before the city runs dry. Aiden meets up with a local bartender named Frank, a man who is beloved by everyone and is able to cross the isle of many of the different groups in the city in order to broker deals and ensure the continued existence of the people.
The plan is to meet up with a man called “The Colonel” but who is also referred to as “The Butcher”, a bandit leader who has set up shop within the water pumping station. As the plan is about to take place, things take a turn for the worse as the Colonel’s henchmen shoot Frank, causing Aiden to spring into action.
The combat of Dying Light is as satisfying as ever, as Aiden lands a good swing of his blade, severing the head of one of the bandits before turning to disarm (literally) another. The Remaining bandits jump back into their van and flee leaving Aiden to try and tend to Frank, who is laying in a pool of his own blood on the ground.
This is where we see one of the choices we can make first appear, Aiden is given the choice to either go after the van, following them back to their base, or to stay with Frank and try and save him. The developers chose to follow the van, thus given us a look at the impressive new and improved parkour system complete with deployable hang glider and grappling hook.
Traversing the city looks awesome, it truly feels like an open world where you can take any path to get to your destination. Eventually Aiden catches up with the van and is able to use it to sneak inside the compound where he confronts the Colonel. The Colonel seems confused at first when Aiden tells him that his men shot Frank and he makes the point that Aiden did not see it happen with his own eyes.
He knows that Aiden is there to kill him and tells him that he has been played and that the water can not be turned on from the pumping station. He says that the real objective of the other gangs is to weaken The Colonel’s control so that they can seize his territory. He makes Aiden a counter-offer to work together to get the water on, but the player refused.
After an awesome fight with some of the Colonel’s thugs, Aiden finds the switches to turn on the pumps in the station, releasing water back into the city and saving the day. This is where we see the best example of the player’s choices transforming the world. When the pumping station was turned back on, the water that had flooded a large section of the city was pumped out, allowing the player access to it.
Another cutscene played that showed that one of the gangs that pushed you to attack the Colonel was now launching a full scale offensive on his compound, proving his point in the end, and perhaps most interestingly, a new type of zombie was revealed crawling out of the wet, marshy earth within the newly unlocked zone.
The Developers stated at the end of the presentation that during a single playthrough of the game, the player will only be able to experience 50% of what the game has to offer, meaning that they will need to play through the game at least twice to see everything.
I, for one, can only hope that every choice in the game has these kinds of wide-scale effects on the world around me when the game releases next year. Techland clearly know a thing or two about this genre, and I can not wait to wall run, dive, duck, and kill zombies within their world soon.