A bright light in a sea of zombie knockoffs
By Stephan Brown
Next Tuesday, January 27, Warner Brothers is launching a new game developed by Techland studios, “Dying Light.” Gamers may be thinking, “Oh just another zombie game,” but before writing it off, it is not the typical zombie game.
Techland developed “Dead Island,” a game that revels in zombie slaughter, and they seem to have grown quite a bit from the experience. Last year at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) they introduced “Dying Light.”
Although, a more accurate description would be an action/survival game that just happens to be flooded with dumb, flesh-eating, dead things. The main character is a special operative dropped into the city of Harran to look for a rogue agent. It is unknown if he expected Harran to be filled to the brim with zombies, it is the last place one would think to send an asset like Kyle Crane, the main character.
Players will feel particularly inadequate in comparison when they start using the games parkour system. Parkour is among the games features gamers would not generally expect to find in a zombie game, yet it fails to seem out of place. Players will feel right at home with the free running system, supposing they have played game such as “Assassins Creed” or “Mirror’s Edge.”
There are not too many designated paths for the player and the parkour system is context sensitive. So, if the player thinks they can make that jump that nobody in real life could ever make (unless one is a parkour ninja), then they probably can in the new “Dying Light.” This is especially important in a game where killing is not always the best option. Although killing may sound like it solves everyone’s problems all the time, sometimes it is just better to run.
This feature also helps that it allows players to vault off the zombie’s faces.
In “Dying Light,” the enemies do seem to get more intense and ferocious. Faster, stronger super zombies come out at night to truly test the player’s survival skills after a long day of scavenging. Some of the zombies, lead developer, Maciej Binkowski, deemed “volatiles” are hazardous to the players’ health and well-being.
At the end of the day, the main character is still human. The player character is not alone either. During the day you might be bombarded with cries for help from people just trying to get by in a city full of things that want to eat them. As a player, one can aid them and maybe earn some extra supplies to help or just ignore them, which could be a reasonable choice with the fact that they could be infected and it is unlikely they would do the same if roles were reversed. In fact, Harran is littered with bandits who try to kill the player for supplies. The bandits obviously do not expect the player to be a zombie murder machine. It appears Techland really wanted to emphasize the role of humanity in the wake of a zombie apocalypse. Just another way to set the game apart from other zombie games, and it seems to be working. “Dying Light’s” fresh take on zombie survival games is worthy of examination.