Walking around the Warner Brothers area at E3, I was surprised to see a title I hadn't even heard of prior to my visit to LA. Being a sucker for zombie games, I decided to check it out on the final day. Is Dying Light just another rehash zombie game, or did it show some potential in the live demo? Read on to find out.
As the live demo started up, the only thing that was in the back of my mind was, "Hey look, another Dead Island clone." However, as the demo progressed, I was excited about the possibilities this game could bring.
Dying Light is an open world game where the world is infested with zombies. Stop me if you've heard this before. However, think of Dying Light as a mixture of games, not your basic open world zombie clone. The best way I can describe Dying Light is a combination of Dead Island, Mirror's Edge and the stealth mechanics of any stealth game you have ever played -and truthfully- this combination is awesome.
I'm a huge fan of Mirror's Edge and EA's announcement of a sequel had me filled with glee. But this article isn't about Mirror's Edge 2, so I'll leave that for another time. Dying Light is a free-running game, much like Mirror's Edge. In the demo, our main character was running across the streets, jumping onto vehicles, climbing walls and hopping onto roofs with the best of them. All while being surrounded by zombies who are salivating for his juicy brain.
Now you may be asking yourself, if this is a free-running game, where are the stealth mechanics implemented? Well, Dying Light has a full day/night cycle. During the nighttime hours, zombies are stronger, faster, smarter and overall, much more badass. If you can, you'll want to avoid roaming the streets in the night and stay at your home base. But, when you absolutely need to get that medicine for your party, you may have to venture out at night. This is where the stealth gameplay begins.
At night, you'll want to avoid all matters of zombies, not just the big bad ones. Your normal, everyday zombies can be dispatched with relative ease during the day, but come night, it's an entirely different ball game. In the demo, our lead character was crouching, hiding behind objects, dodging in and out of alleyways, whatever he had to do not to be spotted. If you happen to be seen, the normal zombies will immediately run full speed at you. In our live demo, this happened and our character took off. If you try and hold your ground, you'll most likely be over ran and meet your untimely death. To spice things up even more, there are these big bad zombies (I don't recall their names) but if you are caught by them, it's insta death. They WILL kill you every single time. They only come out at night which is another reason why you'll want to stay put during the night hours. In the live demo, our main character was caught by one of these zombies and was killed in a matter of seconds. The concept of having the zombies be stronger during the nighttime hours is nothing new, but it gives the zombie game genre a bit of fresh air by implementing this. And the nighttime hours in this game are truly nighttime hours. What I mean is that it's actually hard to see without a source of light, creating the perfect atmosphere. Just watching the demo, I felt my nerves on edge when the sun went down. Listening to the zombies groan and hearing them traverse the areas around you instills fear of being spotted. Your heart is already pounding during the night and if you happen to be spotted, the free-run that will commence will increase your heart rate tenfold.
Dying Light is slated for release in 2014 on all systems. I'll be on the lookout for this game because it definitely has the potential of giving new perspectives into a common, rehashed genre. The new implementations of a day/night cycle, free-running/mobile gameplay with the sprinkle of stealth components could breathe new life into a game filled with death.