Dying Light is an open-world zombie survival game developed by Techland. Think Dead Island, which they also developed, but with a more serious twist and free-running.
Dying Light’s big pull is an excellent day-night cycle, which offers a wonderful risk vs. reward proposition. Zombies are slow and cumbersome during the day, while at night they are brutal.
Nighttime also plays host to some very nasty special zombies who can really put a damper on your moonlight stroll through the environs of Harran. If you are willing to venture out at night you are rewarded with double EXP.
You experience your first night outside of a safezone while on a mission and it is truly terrifying to run away from fast and big zombies, not being able to see where you’re going and not having the tools to fight, yet.
The “yet” is important. As you level and complete missions you become much more adept at not only running away from, but also facing the shambling zombie horde down.
It gets to a point where you can quite happily slash, smash, cleave, shoot and stab your way through multitudes of the living dead with reckless abandon. The early game is really where they pose the most immersive threat.
Not to say that walloping zombies with a 2×4 with spinning blades attached isn’t a grand ol’ time, but the zombies do become something of annoyance as opposed to a threat.
The level system and skill trees add a really nice RPG twist to what is otherwise a pretty fun free-running zombie-killing game. The trees are split into Survival, Agility, Power and Legend.
They level up independent of one another as you perform related actions: Survival is traditional quest completion; Agility represents your free-running; Power is your zombie smashing prowess; Legend is a kind of “end-game” tree which only unlocks once you’ve maxed out another tree.
Crafting is excellent, much as it was in Dead Island. You can create crazy weapons that electrocute or set your enemies on fire. They’re ridiculous but fantastic fun to use.
However, some of them are so zany, impractical and weird that it’s the equivalent of walking into a church wearing a leather gimp suit swinging a big pink dildo bat: you look out of place and a bit silly.
Have you played Dying Light? Was it the best zombie game you’ve ever played? If not, what was? Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.