February is a huge month. It has 2 of the biggest AAA games releasing weeks from each other. We get Dying Light 2 and Horizon Forbidden West. I am looking forward to Horizon Forbidden West. But I am here to talk about Dying Light 2. And try to give you a honest review before you go spend 60$, 79$, or 99$, or just go for the collectors edition at 230$, whatever you want. I hope this review helps you make that decision.
I bought it on launch day despite the reviews. I have seen those bugs and glitches. But I have also enjoyed playing Dying Light 2. And I’m here to explain why.
PLOT AND LOCATION • Dying Light 2 takes place in a city called Villedor, based on modern day Europe with the unique European look to the buildings. It takes place 22 years after the events in Harran from Dying Light. Like Harran, the city of Villedor is a zombie playground. The outbreak from the virus has stretched further and further. Leaving once loud cities, and turning the city into a land full of horror.
There are trees and vegetation growing on top of buildings. People that haven’t turned yet, building bases on top to avoid the zombie infested streets below. The sounds of thousands of zombies are all over. You will encounter 3 factions called Renegades, Survivors, and the Peacekeepers. You will be free to join any of the factions when you eventually run into each one.
The map has 2 (what the game calls) Hubs. The most modern and populated Hub is called Central Loop. It has 7 different zones. And then you have the Hub called Old Villedor. Its a smaller hub. And has 4 zones. The map is a lot more smaller for an open world game. But it’s tight and dense, and has a ton of buildings to explore, and secrets to be found. But it is still way bigger then Dying Lights map.
GAMEPLAY AND COMBAT- The gameplay in Dying Light is pretty much the same in Dying Light 2. The button layout is similar, other then a few changes. The (R3) button will be your best friend due to constantly pushing it down to use your survivor sense to help highlight loot you may not see. Because there is a lot of loot inside of buildings, and if your not paying attention, or using the survivor sense, you will be shocked of how much loot you will miss. I mean there is loot around pretty much every corner. Plus you can purchase items you would normally loot, from the trader in each camp. To use to craft weapons, and medication. Pretty much everywhere you turn, there are meds, alcohol, scrap metal, rags, old world money, batteries, boosters to help your energy, and immunity.
Speaking of immunity. At night, or inside buildings even during the day. There is a new feature that Techland has given the player to keep an eye on with the immunity meter. It gives you 5 minutes before you turn to a zombie. The only way to get your immunity meter up is to find UV light areas. Or simply loot or craft immunity pills, to give you more time to explore more in the building, or simply give you more time to reach a safe zone with a UV light. The UV lights protect you from the infected. Waiting until night time, is the best time to loot and explore these infested zones inside buildings. Quarantine zones and buildings are brutal during the daytime, due to zombies staying out of sunlight. I have seen and heard a lot of comments where players do not like this new feature. Me on the other hand, as nerve racking as it is at times. I like it. It makes it more suspenseful, and gives you more of a push to find loot and maybe slash a couple of sleeping zombies. That’s right, sleeping zombies. It really makes the nighttime and daytime inside of buildings intense. Trying to work your way through a maze of sleeping zombies without waking them as your immunity meter gets lower, helps separate the gameplay in Dying Light 2, from the other games in the genre.
These buildings and quarantine zones have tons of loot and collectibles. The main way to build skills up is to discover the GRE quarantine inhibitors, where each container gives you a inhibitor, that in return, gives you points to purchase new skills to improve your character. I love the idea of 1 point for each skill. Where as most RPG games require some skills to take up 3 or more points for one skill. It gives you a chance to build up quick. I love the fact that no matter how powerful the skill is. They are all 1 point. It gives the player a chance to build up your skill tree quick, in a fair and equal way so you can become the ultimate zombie killer in Villedor.
The combat is about as gruesome as a game gets. With the hacking and slashing, cutting limbs off, and the blood and gore, man its just brutal, just a bloodbath every encounter. The sound of limbs being taken off by a axe. Definitely makes you feel like a Viking warrior or something. Makes you feel unstoppable at times. Dying Light 2 definitely does not hold your hand when it comes to combat, or training. It’s straight forward. Get a weapon, and the R2 button will be worn out after hours of hacking and slashing. You also have the options of purchasing, or getting different weapons from completing missions, and side quest. Each weapon has different degrees of damage. The weapons are available to purchase, and you can tell that the developers at Techland really put a lot of thought into the homemade weapons in the game.
You will get to meet different leaders within the different Factions throughout the city. Those being either the Survivors, Peacekeepers, and the Renegades.
The missions will be given to you through 3 Factions. You will discover throughout the game that there is a huge rivalry between these 3 factions. You will have the opportunity to choose whose side you want to be on. With each faction and leaders giving you a decision to either help them, or choose the other side. At the end of a certain point in the game. You can choose which faction you want to control a certain area, and in return, they give you certain rewards to use to your advantage. It sounds like you may have enemies. But that’s not the case. You can either stick with one group. Or you can use another Faction based on their advantages over the other Faction. And each one you choose, wont really have an impact on the story, other then just a few missions you may miss out on, that’s it.
While the main story gives you around 20 to 25 hours. Dying Light 2 does not hold your hand as far as keeping you from free roam. I found myself on my way to a main quest, but I got caught up searching and gathering resources to craft new weapons. Or just see a building I want to explore. Or passing by a quarantine zone knowing there are a few inhibitors inside and some good loot. So I get caught up, and eventually get to the waypoint where the mission is.
Really really easy to get sidetracked, and forget you were in the middle of a mission. So much to explore. Running the rooftops are key. It protects you from hordes below you. Jumping from roof to roof is satisfying and just feels smooth. Rather if your escaping a chase. Or escaping conflict. The rooftops are your way out of any situation. A lot of the moments going rooftop to rooftop, requires you to think ahead on where to jump or grab a hold of next. As a horde is chasing you and giving out the creepy yells from thousands of zombies below, absolutely leaves the gameplay very very intense and stressful.
Each kind of zombie has unique and different types of attacks. They range in different sizes of height and speed. Some have more powerful attacks.
I didn’t think I would find a game that was as gruesome as Last of us 2, RDR2, Borderlands, and I’d add in the multiplayer Chivalry 2, with how realistic the combat was. To me, Last of us 2, ranks at the top of my list when it comes to realistic combat mechanics. But Dying Light 2 really came close.
The combat is a bit repetitive. It’s constantly hitting the attack button (R2) but it feels rewarding after going through 20 or 30 zombies. Looting the bodies. And going onto the next group. I was shocked and truly disappointed to find out no guns are in the game. At least for now. You can make what I call a homemade gun. But due to how they are assembled. The durability of those guns did not hold up well. To me they should’ve kept guns in Dying Light 2. Since Dying Light made you depend on guns. I had a blast with guns in Dying Light. I hope it’s something they add in the future, but I doubt it. The combat is centered around melee weapons. But if your a fan of chivalry 2, Kingdom come deliverance, then you will like the melee combat. The closest you will get to a firearm is a crossbow and of course your standard bow that you don’t get until halfway through the story. So if you want long range weapons such as a bow or gun. Get ready to test your patience, because it isn’t until later in the game you have access to any of that. But with all that being said. The melee weapons keep you entertained with the different weapons you can craft and purchase, and level up each weapon as well.
There are ways to block, dodge, and parry enemies. There are combinations to use if you time your block just right. One requires you to do a almost perfect block to stagger an enemy, and in return, gives you a quick window to strike your enemy. If you block at the right timing. You can vault over a enemies shoulder, and drop kick the guy behind him. It’s a little bit arcady at times. While the combat isnt the best. It’s not so bad that you totally lose interest in the game. It’s got a certain grind to the game where your constantly looking for better ways to improve your weapons and melee weapons so that you can kill enemies faster and easier.
CHARACTERS• The player is thrown into the role of a new character named Aiden Caldwell. The game really doesn’t give much of a backstory, other than he is a Pilgrim. However, Aiden is infected (hints the new feature called the immunity meter) so he is constantly finding ways to Stay Human (as the title states) and all we know is he is on the search for his sister named Mia that he hasn’t seen since they were young. I want to keep this spoiler free, so I won’t explain how this came about. The game will slowly start making sense as you play.
We will see a familiar character returning at the beginning of the game. The first character you run into in the whole game is a much older Spike from Dying Light. One of the survivors in Harran. Gives you a quick tutorial. And throws you into the story.
You will find that each character you encounter in the game has a story from their past. There really isn’t a nice person in the game. A lot of characters you can connect to and actually feel their anger and frustration. But there are a few you meet that are actually chill and laid back at some point too. Get out and make allies however you want to. It’s a free roam map. The story and decisions will be on you.
GRAPHICS AND LIGHTING • While the graphics in Dying Light 2 isn’t Last of us 2, Uncharted 4, or RDR 2. It still looks pretty dang good, especially on the base PS4 as well. You can tell the improvements were made for current gen systems. But I felt Techland also focused a lot on last gen systems as well. The attention to detail is really good. The graphics definitely lives up to the long wait we had for this game.
While the face animations aren’t great. It’s not the worst either. A lot of the conversations are a little awkward. They are just funny at times. I wish they did a whole lot more with the characters. I noticed that a lot of the NPC’s had the same face like they were twins wearing the same outfit standing next to each other. A lot of the NPC’s were showing up with the same face, just different wardrobes. I thought that was kind of odd seeing the same face in 2 different camps, knowing it wasn’t the same person I saw 10 minutes before. I wish they would’ve been more creative with the NPC customization. But overall, the graphics are definitely a leap forward in the right direction from Dying Light.
The lighting was one of the best part of the game. The UV light’s glowing really put a good look on the game. The way the flashlight reflects off the surfaces, was really done well also. The vegetation on the rooftops look amazing. The colors are very vibrant, and one good thing is I have not noticed any objects popping in and out from far away. So that’s definitely a plus.
I was really disappointed when I found out the only settings you could adjust on the video side of things, was the brightness, film grain, and colorblind mode on consoles. No way to adjust the motion blur! So if you get sick easily. I would recommend you to just wait for a patch, or try to adjust to it. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be an issue. I don’t know why I didn’t make this an option. So hopefully they are working on a patch to get this problem fixed soon. I thought it would be an issue the first 10 minutes I was playing. But to be honest with you. I was able to adjust to it, and at times I didn’t notice it. But you can definitely tell that it’s there. The option is only available for PC players only. But despite that issue. The game looks really good.
BUGS AND GLITCHES • While the game has a lot of good. It also has a bad side. I feel like these issues will be fixed soon. But for now, it’s a mess at times. But it hasn’t even been a week yet since releasing. So I believe these will be fixed soon.
During conversations, sometimes there is no voice, no sound. But the cutscene kept rolling anyways. At times the rain was pouring indoors through a concrete roof. At times I was fighting zombies and they would disappear in thin air. One cutscene I noticed a guys head was tilting left and right as he was talking. As I entered rooms at times NPC’s were gray. Literally looked like a car with gray primer before it’s painted. I would go behind a enemy attempting to take them down in stealth. They would disappear, but the action still went on as if I still had a hold of them. Really really irritating to watch because there is so much potential and room for improvement. But I have read that Techland are aware of these issues. They have said that they are in the process of fixing these issues reported. The co-op mode just does not work at times. I did have it crash once. But it hasn’t done it since.
Despite all these issues. I have been able to ignore most of these issues. It has not stopped me from enjoying the game at all.
FINAL THOUGHT • While Dying Light 2 may have its issues now, even after a day 1 patch. This game will be improved, and come back strong. I feel like it’s lived up to the hype in my opinion. The story is a little weak and dull. But it also has a lot of surprises. I like that it gives you choices to make that impacts the game a little. But it’s not in a way you may regret your decisions in the game.
The decisions really don’t impact the story. So feel free to make what you think is the best decision, or who you really want to help. Dying Light 2 is a game I was comfortable spending. 60$ on. There are tons of side quest to complete as well. And tons of gameplay time. So the score I would give this is a 8 out of 10 and I will move it up to a 9 with the future fixes and patches.
Enjoy the open world of Villedor. Do what you want, when you want. It’s a smaller map in the genre, but its also full of skyscrapers and buildings waiting to be explored. I hope this helped someone out. And I look forward to more reviews on the new releases coming up.
Corey February 9th, 2022