Dying Light PlayStation 4 Review

Article first published as PlayStation 4 Review: ‘Dying Light’ on Blogcritics.

Dying Light, video game, PlayStation 4Originally set to be a sequel to their last-gen zombie game, Dead Island, Techland’s new title, Dying Light stakes out its own territory on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.  While zombies aren’t exactly original source material these day, the ratings for AMC’s The Walking Dead, show there is still plenty of appetite for more brain-munching, undead content. Over a year into the PlayStation 4’s life cycle, Dying Light is surprisingly the console’s first non-indie, zombie title.  Of course, Xbox One owners had Dead Rising 3 available as launch title, and as you would expect, there are quite a few similarities between the two games.

Despite its heritage, Dying Light does manage to differentiate itself from the Dead Island game, as well as Capcom’s Dead Rising 3.  Set in the fictitious Middle Eastern country of Harran, which has been placed under a quarantine due to the outbreak, the player takes on the role Kyle Crane. Crane is an operative for a supposed humanitarian group known as the Global Relief Effort, and has been sent to Harran to recover some important internal documents.  Given instructions to infiltrate a large group of survivors, the early parts of the game are spent trying to ingratiate yourself into a group of survivors that live in a skyscraper aptly named The Tower.

Dying Light, video game, PlayStation 4Dying Light’s utilizes a first person point of view but employs some unusual gameplay mechanics, including a notable day/night system, as well as a somewhat unique control scheme.  Central to the game is the Mirror’s Edge-like, first-person parkour system, though Dying Light’s implementation is a little more finicky than Mirror’s Edge. Because the controls are so different than other first-person games, it’s only with long play sessions that I was able to execute combat and movement effectively and consistently.  An example of this, is that during combat, L2 is used to kick, but R1 is your melee attack button. While R1 is a typical shooting button on PlayStation, clicking the right stick to aim is not.

Dying Light, video game, PlayStation 4

As mentioned before, Dying Light has a fairly robust crafting system.  While I typically crafted health kits, grenades, or thrown weapons, fire crackers were also very useful to distract the zombies.  This was most effective when I needed a powerful enemy on the other side of a room while I retrieved something or had to activate an item. Strangely, crafting is done on a blueprints screen, separate from your items screen. The last thing I’ll mention about crafting is that when it comes to weapons, pretty much only melee weapons can be crafted.  Any of the handful of firearms, which are only available about halfway through the game are pretty much just stuck as what they are.Every time I would start a new play session, I would get the left button and trigger functions mixed up, which usually meant wasting an item assigned to the bumper. In the worst case, and too often for my liking, this meant throwing a Molotov cocktail at an enemy too close to avoid taking damage myself. While there are huge number of items that can be crafted, health kits, fire crackers, and Molotov cocktails were by far my favorites. Finding a high point to hide and lob fiery death at enemies often seemed a preferred tactic to jumping into melee combat, and running the risk of breaking my weapon.

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