Dying Light Preview
Okay, so zombies aren’t exactly fresh. When you hear about a game that prominently features zombies, “innovation” probably isn’t the first word that leaps to mind. But consider this— take the free-running mechanics of Mirror’s Edge and combine it with a post-apocalyptic world that is reminiscent of The Last Of Us. …are you interested now? Techland’s Dying Light is ambitious in a number of ways, including the inclusion of a day/night feature that directly impacts the gameplay. Provided the control mechanics are solid, this one could be a blast.
During the day, you will have to scavenge for valuable supplies. Explore your rotting, destroyed environment in a desperate effort to find items that will help you survive. If you’re not successful, you could be facing your imminent demise when the sun sets. That’s when the baddies come out to play and you really need to be armed and fully prepared to face them. Whether it’s a sledgehammer or a machete, you need something to defend yourself because these zombies are immensely aggressive and even cunning. You will also have to use some strategy, because there will be very distinct types of the walking undead.
And when you do opt to go toe-to-toe, you have to be careful. You’re definitely human and not a superhero; hence, when you’re swinging wildly away, your stamina will decrease. When you’re out of stamina, you can’t swing whatever you’re carrying and that leads to a very unfortunate situation. At that point, you might just have to run and clearly, this is where the free-running mechanic comes into play. Run, jump and slide your way to safety! Or, if you’re feeling brave, you can attack zombies with swift punches and kicks. You may have to do this quite often because firearms and ammo will be scarce, and you’ll want to conserve.
You will have the advantage of a safe house, which you can retreat to at any time. So, if you’re out of ammo, your stamina is low, and you’ve alerted lots of zombies to your presence, it’s time to get back to safety. The cool part is that the zombies themselves can actually become platforming elements, as you can use them to double-jump over their heads, for instance. The only question we’ve got is this: What’s the point? The story could be quite compelling, but beyond surviving on a day-to-day basis, we’re not privy to the long-term goal at this moment. We’ll learn more about that soon.
Personally, I like the idea of strategy and survival tactics built into a standard zombie game, and with a quality free-running mechanic, this could be awfully dynamic. The biggest obstacle Techland faces, in my eyes, is the aforementioned control. It really has to be on point for this project to work. The last thing we’ll want to do is battle loose or shoddy controls and a poor camera. And yeah, we’ll need a cohesive storyline to keep us entertained. Dying Light is tentatively scheduled to release next year for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC, as well as next-gen platforms.
6/20/2013 Ben Dutka