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Dying Light: More Than Just A Mirror’s Edge/Dead Island Crossover?
Dying light is an upcoming action, survival horror game developed by Techland, and published by WB games.
You’ve probably heard that Dying Light resembles a cross between Techland’s previous franchise, Dead Island, and the free-running game Mirror’s Edge. But are splices of other games all there will be to Dying Light? Or can it burst above these franchises, and become something great in its own right? It’s too early to say for sure, but if you look deeper than its surface references, you’ll find something that could become very special in gaming history.
Perhaps the best thing about the combination of these two games, is that we get all the excitement of first-person free running, but in a wonderful open world. Believe me, despite the desolate urban landscape, it is looking beautiful. The use of light in the game is also fantastically crafted, already enticing me to explore its landscape. Krakowiak, Techland’s brand manager, commented that, “This is something we felt was missing from zombie games. You’re human, smart and agile…you can climb rooftops, you can explore interiors of buildings, there’s a huge seamless city – well, you really have to go a long way until you see a loading screen.” Blazej Krakowiak has a deep love for zombies. He knows the genre, so I’m hoping that this will both honour and be respectfully different to what we have seen before. He wants to emphasise that the characters you play as will be intelligent, and use the environment to their advantage. As he states, “Just walking on the street level isn’t very smart for humans.” Though a parkour survival horror game sounds like a nightmare to control, the developers wanted the game to be easy to grasp, whilst making the free-running mechanics look realistic.
So, obviously you can parkour your way out of danger, but what are the similarities with Dead Island? That would come with the tantalising weapon crafting, where you have to use the daylight hours to scavenge for items to use, and pray that when the sun falls, what you have made and found will be enough for you to survive the night. It seems that melee will play a huge part as, at the moment, there is no mention of firing weapons. However, getting up close and personal with zombies is always more exhilarating and nerve-wracking than simply blasting their heads off.
Due to the crafting system combined with the free-running, it seems there will be many paths and decisions to navigate through the hordes of zombies, making weapons to your play style. If you prefer stealth or all out action, there will be a test for your preparations. However, it has been confirmed that not going into combat may prove vital. Massive groups may not attack you if you’re passive, and if they do, you will not survive, not matter how prepared you think yourself to be. But don’t worry, it seems you also have a sonar ability to sense enemies and plan wisely.
All this has already whetted my appetite, but the most intriguing part about the game so far is the use of its day-night cycle. The day allows the player to strategise and plan their means of attack, or evasion, for the upcoming night. For when the sun sets, the infected become even more bloodthirsty, and out will come the most dangerous creatures, those who shy away from daylight hours, but gorge in the darkness.
Thankfully, there are also side-quests to gather more experience points. However, these are randomly generated, and could come at the most inopportune times. This may test your morality and your survival instincts – do you save the screaming girl in the house as you are chased by zombies, or does self-preservation rule? Whether or not this will change outcomes for the story or finale is not yet known, but if it does, the gravity your choices have on both yourself and the world around you should be very interesting to see.
Not much has been said about the characters yet. I’m not sure if there will be deep character development, or an engaging storyline beyond just surviving, but maybe that won’t matter if the gameplay is great enough. At the moment, it has been suggested that you play as four different characters – one of whom gets infected at the beginning of the game – and that a girl called Jade speaks into your headset to guide you towards your destination as you seek out supply drops.
The trailer looks exciting. But then again, didn’t Dead Island’s marketing draw us in, making us imagine a world that never materialised? Yet, overlooking this, Dead Island was a good game in its own right for those who like that genre. Now that Techland has cut themselves from Deep Silver, we could get some interesting results. Let’s just hope that, this time, Techland’s new game will outshine its advertising. From the looks of it, Dying Light may well be doing itself justice enough to not cling to its Dead Island/Mirror’s Edge ridicule.
Dying Light will be released on the PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows next year. Good Night, Good Luck.