Please note that we received a review copy of Dying Light for the PlayStation 4. 

Zombies are everywhere: in our comic books, on our TVs and in our movies. And although we could be on the cusp of zombie overload, video game developer Techland is counting on us still wanting more undead in its latest title Dying Light.

Fortunately, Techland has done the impossible with the game: they've kept the zombie story interesting and added gameplay elements that you don't often see in these kinds of titles.

Dying Light starts in the middle of the zombie apocalypse, after people have started becoming the undead, thanks to the spread of a virus. In Dying Light, you take on the role of Kyle Crane, a GRE contractor who parachutes into a zombie-infested third world city called Harran. Although Crane's mission is to find an important file about the virus that began the apocalypse, he must take on other missions to achieve his goals.

What makes Dying Light unique is that gameplay changes depending on the game's time of day. Although the zombies are out during the day, at nighttime, they multiply. Not only that, but at night, a few other variant strains of zombies come out, and they're deadlier than any you encounter during the day. You have a choice of doing your missions at night or day, but night missions earn you double XP. Some main missions require nighttime wandering, though, and if you're not careful, you're dead before you know it.

It's a nice strategy that lends a bit of realism to the game, and at night, when you're forced to wander around looking for something without the aid of a flashlight (as the light alerts zombies to your presence), there's a nice sense of terror, especially when you start to hear that first zombie breathing down your neck.

There is also an emotional element to Dying Light. The main storyline hits the right beats, and there are a few moments where you're left surprised and freaked out by something that's just happened. The game does a solid job of setting up that tone, but a lot of it has to do with Crane's voice actor, Roger Craig Smith. One particular scene that sees the loss of a colleague hits particularly hard.

Upon first impression, Dying Light feels something like Mirror's Edge. There is a lot of first-person running, jumping and climbing, which makes this different from a standard "shoot all zombies in the face" game. In fact, you're encouraged to not even engage zombies in combat and run from them, using climbing to get away quickly. This means that when you're forced into combat, it's often clunky, and considering most of your weapons are melee, such as an axe or pipe, it takes a few hits to bring an undead down.

However, unlike Mirror's Edge, the running, jumping and climbing isn't an exact science and the controls for those activities are a little clunky. You have to aim your climbing and stare exactly at the ledge you want to climb up. Otherwise, you just end up jumping up and down against the same wall over and over. This game could benefit from more intuitive controls in that aspect. It's a minor problem during most gameplay, but when you're surrounded by zombie hordes, it becomes a major problem.

Another problem with Dying Light is that the game feels repetitive at times, especially with side quests. It's a little unrealistic to think that a guy you just saved wants you to trot him all over town to pick up a few items, although you just saved him from certain death at the hands of zombies or bad guys, but this happens a lot. Harran itself starts getting a little boring, too, and after a while, the city starts feeling rather small, even though the game offers an open world setting.

That being said, though, Dying Light is worth a playthrough, just because it's trying to do something different with survival horror. Forcing players to choose different ways of gaming depending on whether it's day or night, in addition to encouraging players to escape from zombie hordes to live another day, is refreshing in a sea of similar titles that just want you to shoot zombies in the head until your fingers bleed.

Overall

★★★★☆

ⓒ 2021 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.