‘Dying Light: The Following’ Review
Dying Light was a game which greatly combined open world exploration with the perils of humanity in the midst of an environmental outbreak. The Following expansion takes this idea and runs with it to the widest expanses, for better or worse.
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PC, PS4 (Version Reviewed), Xbox One
Release Date: February 9th
Making my way across the country roads outside of Harran, I finally arrive at my destination. Nearby is a field of those who died while infected with the Harran Virus. I grapple over the fence into the safe house area.
A few unsuspecting enemies meet the other end of my electric charged machete, a holdover from my endgame playtime in Dying Light. My character is still rather tricked out as an explorer of the city of Harran, but now in the countryside, my running skills do not have much of an effect on some of these faster zombies that are chasing me with far fewer obstructions in the way. In times like these, a man needs a vehicle and Dying Light The Following is not one to leave a man hanging. Enter the buggy, the means by which I made my way to the current destination.
The other safe house guards are aware of where I am now as the dead bodies have piled up a bit. Time to be a bit more active. I pull out my leftover military rifle and take down a couple more. Then I switch over to a bat. Now, I am a bit of a switch hitter in real life, but in the game, every player is right-handed. Where is the justice for the left-handed batters?!
I get inside the safe house, which is really the water plant in the countryside. Here is where things get interesting. It is now dark outside, and I need to chase the water main to the other side of the facility to decrease the water pressure before the pipes blow. Seems easy, right? This is where Dying Light throws in the curveball to keep night time exploration interesting. Your buggy, while great for mowing zombies, has a shelf life on all of its parts and it needs a gas refill after a certain amount of time as well.
Guess whos a well traveled, rugged explore who has a buggy with little gas and some already malfunctioning parts? This guy!
Given the lack of gas and some of the poorer working parts, my vehicle is just not fast enough to track down the water main to the end alongside the distractions of trying to navigate at night. On top of all of this, the volatiles show back up again. As a quick recap for those whom may not remember, the volatiles are night time, fully transformed infected that are super fast and super terrifying.
The volatile tries to jump on my vehicle, and I swerve out of the way. I try speeding off into the fields, but this may have been the worst idea to have. As I mow down wheat and zombies, the volatile catches up and jumps on the side of my buggy. I turn around back towards the road with the volatile’s attacks from the side coming at me. Then I spot a large boulder/rock. Slam. I peel the volatile off of my buggy, but now my suspension is completely gone. In order to repair it, I have to get out and apply some of the items I have collected to the engine to repair .
The buggy already has attracted more attention from other zombies, so I get out my military rifle. Tough luck as there are so many surrounding me, they are all like bullet sponges. On the other side of the crowd, I hear the cry of more volatiles. It is the last thing I hear before the screen wipes, and I try my hand at it all over again. Only this time, I have to try to run around the countryside, at night, avoiding volatiles, to collect car parts and fuel so I can finally make it to the other side of the water line.
The sun comes up, but daylight does not save you in the world of Dying Light. Daylight is less intense, but you still have all the same dangers you have at night, minus the volatiles. In the open fields of the countryside, there may be less parkour and less time spent running around to escape, but without your buggy, you spend plenty of time looking for the proper supplies to get you back on the road again. The Following is about the size of the first two base game maps combined, but exploring on foot is much more tedious without the bevy of obstacles to act as barriers during road traversal.
Dying Light:The Following is a curious expansion when you think about the central feature of what made the last game unique in mine and others’ eyes. There were no cars or vehicle interactions beyond walking on top of them or stealing materials out of trunks. For the most part, your character needed to build up the right stamina and stable of weapons/movement accessories like the grapple to be able to execute your own stylish getaways through the city at night. You were not a powerful survivor to begin so you had to be really smart to build your character’s survival skills. Very few of those original thrills really come back in this new expansion in the same way. That is not all bad news, however.
Dying Light was a game I resoundingly thought was incredible last year. While there were some minor glitches and a pretty by the numbers villain story, the crafting, exploration, and the game’s large city environment made a “zombie” game entry that surprised me and other critics. The night time sequences running from the incredibly dangerous volatiles were truly terrifying, but with a well-crafted parkour running system the game kept these moments from being an exercise in absolute death.
Trading out the city for open fields, farm lands, and the fenced in safe house they separate, Dying Light The Following starts you right back where you character left off as the runner for the surviving camps. After you make your way through the sewer main to the country side, the new game pits you in all of these new situations. Where previously wondering around at night and getting spotted did not mean absolute death, it is almost certain that if you are spotted by a volatile outside of your buggy that you will not escape.
This takes away a bit from what Dying Light took advantage best where most other games took players for granted. Players like the allusion to death without being met with its realities all the time. By making it rewarding, yet escapable, peril to go out at night, Dying Light teased the player into creating thrilling moments. You are getting chased by volatiles, and you turn on your ultraviolet light as you run to buy yourself more time until you make it into a safe house. Armed with whatever tools you have crafted, ultraviolet light, and wrapping your mind around the fastest route back from where you were headed, night time missions and exploration were an adventure on foot.
This feeling of accomplishment of escape is different in Dying Light:The Following and depending on your mileage, you may like it better, or you may like it less. I am kind of in the middle as I appreciate that the expansion was not simply more of the same. On the other hand, the best parts of the game I liked last time are in rather short supply for much of what I played.
Returning in the expansion is the online co-op gameplay. You and your pals can run around in buggies, you can upload challenges for races, and you can continue to work on missions together. There is still plenty of co-op action fun to be had.
Dying Light as a game is worth your time. If you have bought the season pass or the new Dying Light The Following edition, you will not be disappointed to have more Dying Light to play. While there are some aspects that do not live up to the legacy of the original, Dying Light The Following stands on its own two feet within the landscape of Harran and adds a ton of new elements into what was one of the games of last year.
- Dying Light The Following is a very well put together expansion on the idea of Dying Light.
- The new upgrade mechanics focused on not just your player, but also your vehicle, give you plenty to work on as you play.
- The new story is a decent look at the kind of cult-like groupings which can form in times of great stress within humanity.
- New thrills and types of encounters to add with the already excellent effects from before.
- Night time has never really been more terrifying than when you run out of gas in an open field.
- The game still functions around a large playground in which you mainly perform fetch quests.
- Pretty bad frame rate drops when mowing down large numbers of zombies in the buggy.
- You cannot return to the city in one gameplay instance. You must save, exit, then re-open your original Dying Light file.
- The open fields necessitating the buggy will make you long for the close city quarters which made being a runner possible.
A copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purpose of this review. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.