The lights are on
Zombie games are not in short supply at E3. Deep Silver has
partnered with developer Yager for Dead Island 2, but the studio behind the
original Dead Island is working on a different first-person zombie apocalypse
game. Techland and publisher Warner Bros. are joining forces to make Dying
Light, a next-gen game that combines the visceral combat and open-world
structure of Dead Island while injecting slick new traversal options and a
day/night cycle. I played through a section that highlights player progression
like crafted weapons, learning new abilities, and getting faster.
I played Dying Light at Gamescom last year, but this build
felt even more polished and playable. The Mirror's Edge-esque mantling and sliding
feels slick and fun. It's as simple as looking in the direction of the ledge
you want to mantle and holding down a shoulder button. Timing jumps across gaps
rooftop gaps, hopping up onto balconies, and aiming soft landings on to piles
of garbage bags feels great. I felt liberated by the mobility options and
actually looked forward to long treks across the area. Better yet, players only
become more agile and speedy as they gain more experience.
Combat is in line with Dead Island's roots, but it's more
brutal than ever. One swing of the electrified axe chops a zombie in half.
Blood splatters everywhere and gore smears across the ground. I also tested out
a flaming machete and spiked baseball bat, which offer other satisfyingly
devastating means for destruction. Firearms like handguns and machine guns are
also available for long-ranged destruction. Aside from straight-on gunplay,
firearms offer more creative methods for dispatching human enemies. For
example, I shot an explosive barrel near some unsavory human survivors, which
attracted nearby zombies and took them out.
I also took another look at the important day/night cycle of
Dying Light. One objective tasked me with securing a safe house. But when I
arrived at the location it was overrun with enemy thug survivors. The human
menace was too much for me to handle alone (four-player co-op is also supported), so I headed back to another safe house for a nap. The sun
set and I wandered about again under the cover of night. Zombies become more
powerful and observant in the nighttime, but I successfully sneaked past them
to the aforementioned safe house. With the enemies gone at night I was free to
clear out a couple zombies and turn on the lights to repel further invasions.
Dead Island showed a lot of promise when it released years
ago, and Dying Light appears to be Techland's next innovative step in the right
direction. We can't fully sound off until the character classes are revealed,
but things are looking promising leading up the early 2015 release date for
PS4, Xbox One, , PS3, 360, and PC.
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