E3 2019 Preview | Dying Light 2
Techland’s Dying Light was sort of a surprise hit back in 2015. Five years later its sequel, Dying Light 2, is expected to be released and we got a sneak preview into what’s to come from the zombie-ridden adventure. Can the new installment capture the magic?
The game stars a new protagonist, Aiden, who is also infected by the same plague that has turned the world around into flesh eating zombies. Our hero must assist his colony by any means necessary, but that proves a far bigger task than expected. Player choices are a key element in the sequel, and that’s integral to the progression of the game. It’s to the point that in a single playthrough, players would see roughly half of the possible story outcomes.
For example, Aiden’s colleague, Frank, gets shot in the middle of an intense shootout. The player must make an instinctive choice whether to tend to Frank’s wounds or pursue the shooter in his truck. By choosing the pursuit option, another choice can pop out whether to spare the cowardly driver who was following orders or take him out of his misery. While the first choice listed effects how the story unfolds, the second alters gameplay elements as well. If the driver is spared, he can assist Aiden by entering the Colonel’s compound and bring water to his people, without the hassle of infiltrating the base itself which is heavily guarded. While it’s hard to see how this chain of events is comprised from a short demo, it’s worth noting that in multiplayer, the host player is the only one able to make said decisions.
As for the gameplay itself, Dying Light 2 doesn’t stray far from its predecessor. That’s certainly not a bad thing. Aiden is incredibly nimble, able to scale vehicles and buildings easily, and even balance on narrow beams. There were even some neat little additions like rope swinging and avoiding a horde of zombies by slipping through a crack in a wall. The parkour mechanics of the game are fluid, expertly designed and most importantly, entertaining to watch. A particular highlight is seeing how zombies could be used to break a long fall without additional damage.
Combat will once again allow synthesizing ordinary rusty weapons into instruments of destruction, such as a modified electric blade. Much of the game combat revolves around melee, and while there are guns, they often have low ammunition. Aiden was even shown using a UV light which is perfect for petrifying the undead, but only for a short time.
From what we have seen of Dying Light 2, there is a lot of potential. While the choice system does seem great on paper, it may alienate some players that wouldn’t like having more than a quarter of their experience locked. In addition, very few games that have presented a player’s choice system have actually lived up to their lofty potential. Based on the short time watching the E3 2019 demo, it looks like the team at Techland knows what they are doing. We can’t wait to see what’s in store when the game arrives in Spring of 2020.