Dying Light 2 Review - Dead or Alive?
Dying Light 2 has been in the making for six years, and now it is finally here. The long-awaited sequel to the highly rated Dying Light has finally dropped for all platforms, delivering a refined open world that has been completely taken over by zombies.
For many years, open world games have been somewhat of a mess. With Ubisoft open worlds being a prime example. With many suffering from long game times and a feeling of emptiness. And when Techland first said that the game would take 500 hours to complete, I went a bit into panic mode. Thankfully, it was all clarified that it doesn’t take that long and it realistically takes up to 80 if you do all the side quests and what not.
Dying Light 2 delivers a true next-gen open world experience that really strives in its graphically beauty and gameplay opportunities, and from all that I have played so far, I’ve had a blast with it. Well mostly.
A Mess of a Story:
I thought I would start this Dying Light 2 review with the story. And it just so happens to be the part I enjoyed the least. Story-wise, this game is a bit of a mess. This applies to both the narrative and the characters. No spoilers as well of course.
What I will say about the story, is that it did deliver some truly memorable moments. And though these were truly amazing, the rest of the story felt extremely lacklustre. I am going to start this with the protagonist, Aiden. I found it very difficult to connect with this character as a whole. This applies for many of the other characters too, now that I look back on it. This is mostly due to a very limited backstory. We don’t get to see much of what a lot of the characters have been through and why they act the way they do. Feeling a bit robotic in a sense.
While I am still on the topic of characters, the models are also just a bit hit and miss. Some look great and function well. But others that you find in the world are not only modelled bad, but their animation is also just a bit off.
For the whole narrative, like the characters, it is very hit and miss once again. A lot of events and actions occur out of nowhere and very poor explanations given. At points it does also feel like the choices we make don’t make a significant impact, and that the same things happen anyway. But I do need to explore more of these alternate options in the future for better clarity. As a whole, it’s just a mess.
Though this game certainly suffers with its story, it is certainly the opposite when it comes to gameplay. Dying Light 2 has truly raised the bar when it comes to its gameplay. Taking everything loved about the first game and completely refining it and turning it into something magical.
Praises go first to the parkour in this game. I have not experienced parkour this great in a game in a long time. It feels extremely fluent, fast paced and very reliable and consistent. Everything little thing, scaling buildings, hopping from platform to platform, gliding through the skies, it is all amazing.
And the part that most of us care about, the combat. It’s brilliant. That’s the best way to put it. Enemies don’t feel like absolute bullet sponges, all of the weapons feel slick and useful, stamina doesn’t feel as limited as the first game. It’s just a load of fun.
It’s also worth mentioning the skill system and trees here. Where in the original it focused crafting and some new attacks, in Dying Light 2 it has a greater focus on abilities and combat. This system doesn’t feel massively different to what was included in the original. In Dying Light 2 you have both parkour and combat abilities. Some of the skills under these don’t feel that great, but most do feel rather entertaining.
A Glorious Open World:
Dying Light’s 2 open world plays a significant part in the gameplay. As you would expect. And I have to say, I’ve loved it so far. You jump into the walled city of Villedor. A city full of open environments, huge skyscrapers to climb and of course, Zombie infested zones. The world feels truly alive, in a gameplay sense. The missions and locations you will get to visit are all exceptional and only get better as you play and achieve different objectives.
The only real complaint I have is that some of the objectives do feel a little repetitive. A lot of the time you will be going around and opening safehouses. And if not for the really enjoyable combat and gameplay, I definitely would have found this rather awful. But I don’t. Of course, each safehouse has different requirements to meet and enemies to clear, and the combat really brings excitement every time.
Exploring this world is absolute joy, both at day and night. During the day you will find yourself battling it out with other humans and scattering hordes of undead. With most zombies hiding out in abandoned buildings during the day. But it is with night when it becomes far more brutal. As night comes, the zombies that hibernate during the day come out of their indoor nests and hunt you down. Making those previously ruthless indoor sections feel a lot safer, and roaming the streets a huge risk. Though this sticks close to the original, it is still extremely effective.
How Does Dying Light 2 Perform?
The world of Dying Light 2 is full of life, and death I suppose. And the graphics and visuals work extremely well to make it all whole. This world looks absolutely beautiful. The scenery and locations are so rich when it comes to visuals. I played on a PlayStation 5 and there was not a single point where I felt that the visuals were poor. Jumping from rooftop to rooftop and exploring open environments every time is just delightful.
Performance wise, I am content. I don’t know how it has performed on PS4 or Xbox One, but it has been pretty solid on next-gen so far. With the fps being consistent around the 60 mark. This does help the parkour feel a lot smoother too as well.
But there is also a side to performance that is not so good. This game has suffered from a series of glitches and bugs off the start. A game of this magnitude was always bound to have issues off the start. From what I have heard, a lot of the major bugs took place during the review window and included consistent crashes and game saves being bricked. But Techland have been on it straight off the bat and these issues were resolved with the day one patch. Applause to them. But there are still a few issues here and there. I haven’t encountered many from what I have played so far. I have encountered a few crashes here and there, but nothing major.
6 years of waiting and here we are. Dying Light 2 certainly has its upsides, with a fresh and enjoyable gameplay loop within a world that feels both brutal and alive at the same time. But what really brings it down is its failure in the narrative department. The story is a mess in a lot of areas. Though it does deliver quite a few epic moments, most of it becomes a blur when looking back.
Overall, I am going to give Dying Light 2 a 7.5/10. A solid and fair score in my opinion. Granted I did not care for the story, I believe the success in the gameplay department is what truly makes this game worth playing. Especially if you are a fan of the original and/or open world games. Dying Light 2 delivers a truly next-generation experience and I cannot wait for what comes next.