Techland leaves the island but returns to familiar waters in Dying Light, their next-gen FPS (first person shooter) Zombie Apocalypse game coming to PC and consoles in 2014.
What it is
Dying Light is a new FPS game built upon the bones of its predecessors (Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide) in Techland’s next generation engine called Chrome Engine 6. Chrome Engine 6 supports Directx 11 and also provides significantly enhanced visuals for the next generation of consoles (Xbox One and Playstation 4) for which it will be released.
But despite its many similarities to Dead Island, Dying Light isn’t a sequel. It’s still an open-world FPS game based on Zombies, but it’s a new story wholly independent of its predecessors.
Flesh of my flesh
From a game mechanics standpoint, Dying Light still borrows heavily from Dead Island.
Like Dead Island, there will be 4 distinct characters that can be customized and upgraded as you gain experience. Melee combat and weapon crafting still figure prominently—our presenter at E3 made a brief stop at a very familiar-looking (albeit visually upgraded) workbench, where you’ll craft and upgrade weapons. If you prefer to club zombies with a flaming pipe wrench wrapped in barbed wire, the Workbench is where you craft that iron engine of brain-splattering, flesh-burning destruction.
Despite similarities to Dead Island, Dying Light promises a larger, more dynamic open world. It also introduces several unique mechanics that set it apart from its cousin.
In the continued effort to name zombies something other than “zombie”, the zombies in Dying Light are called “Virals”. They behave much as they do in Dead Island—i.e. basically a mix of slow-moving wanderers and the faster, more aggressive types. That said, the town our protagonist was running through in the E3 demonstration seemed even more over run than the various towns in Dead Island—almost reminiscent of the shoulder-to-shoulder zombie crowds in Dead Rising 2.
“Good night and good luck”
Giant hordes of any zombies are never a good thing to begin with. But in Dying Light, when the sun goes down bad, bad things happen. For starters, the Virals grow more aggressive and increase in number.
Worse still, another type of Viral called “Volatiles” emerge. Volatiles are active hunters with mandible-like jaws that probably just open that way because it’s extra freaky. They are very, very fast and very, very strong. Fear them.
Thankfully, because you’re already infected, you have a sort of ‘zombie sense’ that helps you steer clear of them. But if they see you, your best (maybe only) option is to run like hell. In Dead Island you rarely feared most zombies, but Dying Light aims to change that and inject more elements of survival horror into game.
Fortunately for us, Dying Light makes running away a little easier by introducing a free-form movement system. You can seamlessly run, jump, slide, and climb parkour-style through the environment. During the E3 presentation our presenter moved fluidly, climbing over fences, leaping from roof to roof, and dashing through streets to steer clear of the Viral-infested streets.
In the demonstration, our unnamed protagonist is heading out to secure supply crates. The crates were air-dropped, and each of the three crate locations billows orange smoke to help locate it. Standing atop a rooftop, we see the smoke in the distance.
But the real catch is that we need to get to the crates before night falls and things get…difficult.
Our hero is able to quickly find the first crate after jumping across rooftops and sneaking through alley ways. Unfortunately, this crate has already secured by 3 well-armed militia types. Each of them levels an assault rifle at us and tells us to shove of.
Humans and other scavengers compete for resources during the day when it’s safe(r) to venture out, so human conflict may be more prominent in Dying Light than it is in Dead Island.
We’re outnumbered and we brought a wrench to a gunfight, so we oblige them.
“Those things are waking up!”
Thankfully, there are two other drop points across the city, but we’ve wasted precious time already. The sun is beginning to set—but we need those supplies. It’s nearly dusk.
Jumping rooftop-to-rooftop toward the next drop, we hear a woman calling for help—a chance to help someone in need.
Such occurrences in Dead Island are scripted and the same idiots will stand on a motor home crying for help for the entire game—a bit of ironic immortality when you think about it. They never die, they never starve. They just call for help, waiting for you to save them so they can give you stuff or send you on a FedEx quest.
Dying Light however refines and expands these simple side-quest mechanics. It has a fully randomized side-quest system.
Our presenter passes up the side quests in an effort to be expedient, but it’s too late. Night falls. The Volatiles emerge, shrieking and running through the streets like rabid wolves.
Now more than ever we have to stay out of sight and avoid detection. If a Volatile senses us even for an instant, it will come running, bringing more Virals with it.
Our presenter misses a jump and lands in the street. We’re spotted.
The last part of the demo is spent running away. Fast.
Dying Light comes to PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 in 2014.