Dizzying. That’s how I’d describe my first few hours in Techland’s “Dying Light.”
The most obvious reason why is because its intense use of parkour to traverse the environment. As undercover agent Kyle Crane (voiced by Roger Craig Smith), you’re tasked with infiltrating a quarantine zone in Harran, a city infested with zombie-like creatures (and some just straight-up monsters). There are no easy ways to travel (at least not early on), so you’re on foot the vast majority of time, throwing you into the mix of enemies that just want to bite your face off.
So, if you want to be at least somewhat safer in your travels, you need to get higher. And the way you get higher is by literally climbing up the building all around the city. I’ve spent more time off the ground so far than not, and I’m getting the feeling that’s the way the game is meant to be played.
Another reason I describe the game as dizzying, one not easily seen, is because of how much work it finally took to get the game up and running for me. Make no mistake, there was nothing wrong with the game technically; the misadventures were all my own. First, I tried playing this on PC, but my computer is capable of playing or recording gameplay, not both. So I had to wish over to PS4 to continue playing, at which point my recording equipment died. By the time I actually started playing the game in earnest, I’d probably had the game for about two weeks. But enough about my problems.
Like I said, you’re one Kyle Crane, sent to Harran to locate Kadir “Rais” Suleiman (voiced by Jim Pirri), a character who seems to be in possession of some very damaging information that Crane’s agency, the Global Relief Effort, would rather him not have. But almost immediately upon arrival, he becomes entangled with the local citizenry and has to juggle his secret-ops mission with helping a group of survivors make it through this zombie nightmare.
The learning curve is a bit high to start off with, but it clears the game gets easier the longer you play. (I’m thinking it front-loads the hard stuff so you can master everything by the time you get to the late-game material.) Either way, I’m quite enjoying my parkour-heavy exploration of Harran, though I could use a little less zombie nonsense and way more humans who don’t want to shoot me. It’s not asking for much, right?
Editor’s note: While this review of “Dying Light” was done on the PlayStation 4, I’d like to thank Evolve PR for sending a PC review code for the game.
This is a First Impressions of “Dying Light” on the PlayStation 4. A full review will follow once the game is completed.