I’ve sunk a fair bit of time in to Techland’s latest open-world Zombie apocalypse survival simulator. There’s a great deal wrong with it; including but not limited to tired tropes, yet another dull white male protagonist, uninspired missions, a weak narrative and the usual AAA bloat. Despite those issues, it’s one of my favourite games in a long while – because it’s just a whole lot of fun to play.
The day and night cycles add a certain thrill; after dark the zombies become significantly tougher and more menacing , ensuring that lights out invariably causes your sphincter muscles to tighten. The cleverly-implemented parkour mechanic makes getting around the doomed city of Harran more than just easy – it’s an absolute joy. There’s a real focus on survival; much of your time is spent foraging around the city to pick up items with which to craft supplies and an increasingly large array of inventive and exciting weapons.
It’s also incredible to look at. Despite being set in a fictional middle-eastern city, it’s not all a sandy brown; there are colours everywhere, presenting Harran as a city that was once bold, bright and beautiful. I think one of the reasons I’m enjoying Dying Light so much despite its issues though is it’s clear to see that Techland had a great deal of fun making the game – and that spark, that fun comes through in the game itself. Though the situation it depicts is a dark and gloomy one, the game never takes itself too seriously, and is liberally sprinkled with all manner of secret, Easter egg, homage and joyful nod to other games and bits of pop culture.
Gamespot’s collected the best of them and stuffed them in to two videos. Have a look, because they’re awesome. The recreation of that infamous World 1-1 is obviously a highlight – but check out the rest. I’m sure there are many, many more waiting to be discovered.
Last Updated: February 11, 2015