The lights are on
Techland’s follow up to the Dead Island series continues the developer’s line of first-person, open-world zombie games. Dying Light changes up the formula with fluid parkour gameplay and a revolving day-to-night cycle. Speaking of night, I played a section of the game where we’re tasked with setting up a variety of creative traps during the daytime for use when the zombies turn extra vicious.
The first-person gameplay of Dying Light feels like a smoother Dead Island infused with the graceful leaping and climbing of EA’s Mirror’s Edge series. Scaling roofs and drop kicking the undead takes a little getting used to, but once you have it down, the stunts you can pull feel great. Sprinting up to a zombie and swinging an axe into it carries a satisfying weight as well.
Beating down zombies with machetes and axes is wonderful, but the survivors of Dying Light need to think bigger come dusk. Zombies get faster and more aggressive as the sun sets. I prepared for these enhanced foes by enabling improvised anti-undead booby traps. One trap electrifies a section of chain link fence laying on the ground by a choke point, which results in dozens of fried foes. Another requires rigging a car with explosives, triggering the car’s alarm remotely, and detonating the payload when a bunch of zombies close in. Players can also toss zombie bait as they weave through the expansive city, throwing off dangerously close hordes in the process.
I didn’t have access to the remote-controlled traps during my E3 2013 hands-on demo, but now I’m wishing I had. Fleeing the tireless masses of zombies during the night is harrowing, and these tricks help even the score. I can’t wait to see how four players can work together using traps like these in Dying Light’s co-op. It arrives on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC next year.
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