Spending more time with Zombies.
Techland’s Dying Light, a spiritual successor to Dead Island, was a pretty good game when it was released around a year ago. While there were certainly issues with the game, it provided an intense and exciting zombie survival experience in a beautiful open world, and both encouraged progress and infuriated players with enjoyable parkour abilities, degradable and repairable equipment, and a solid skill tree to improve the main character. It was enjoyable, and so pretty.
Techland have not rested on their laurels though. A nice stream of DLC has been added to the game, and the developers have engaged with the players time and again to find out what they want from Dying Light, and how the game can be improved. The result is a double release of a major expansion, The Following, and an update that offers a plethora of improvements that are applicable both to the core game and the expansion. Thank you, Techland.
Picking up Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition will certainly give players a feature packed Zombie experience. Along with the expansion and the upgrades to the game, players will also get all of the DLC that has been released so far, and in an open world game such as this, that means there is a lot to enjoy. The upgrades include little improvements, such as to the visuals and AI, and new systems, such as the bounty system. For end game players, there is a new difficulty level raising the challenge, and a legendary skill tree which offers yet more skills to improve the main character, Kyle Crane, once one of the other skill trees has been maxed out.
So there is plenty of cool stuff going on in Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition. But the real meat here comes in the form of The Following, a massive expansion that further follows our running, jumping and Zombie-smashing hero Kyle Crane as he ventures outside of Harran and into the countryside. While the player can jump into this expansion at any point, it is recommended that they reach Survivor level 12 and unlock the grapple before they venture into this new area, so realistically players would be best finishing the main game before starting on The Following.
The story is that Kyle Crane finds a way out of Harran and sets off into the wide-open countryside to investigate rumours of people being immune to the Zombie virus and a mysterious cult known as The Faceless. Getting to the bottom of all this will mean earning the trust of the locals, and that will involve lots of helping them out with their various problems. The quests are a variety of your standard fetch and clear out tasks, combined with some truly interesting missions that tell their own little stories. In all, the quests are not strikingly different from the core game, but they are tied together by a necessity that makes them all feel that bit more important to the overall story.
What is very different though, is the environment in which the player has to complete these quests. Gone are the cramped streets of Harran where the player could flee danger by zipping up a building and running along the close-knit rooftops, and where objectives where all within running distance. The countryside outside Harran is wide open and suitably massive. This is a big map, and players will find themselves having to travel miles across corn fields and the like to get from one place to another. There are settlements and random structures littering the map, and there are plenty of Zombies wandering around to keep the tension up. In fact, in many ways this new area feels even more tense than the original setting due to the vulnerability of being out in the open.
Wandering for miles across fields doesn’t sound like much fun, and is certainly not good for Kyle’s health. Fortunately, the frequently needed parkour skills are slightly placed to one side in The Following, replaced by some awesome off-road driving.
Early in the expansion, players will get their hands on a buggy that can be used zip from A to B, making the traveling much more fun. The handling is great and Kyle will find himself taking on all manner of different driving quests, adding a whole new element to the Dying Light gameplay. And seriously, who doesn’t enjoy mowing down Zombies in a fast moving vehicle?
But with a great buggy, comes great responsibility. Your new vehicle is not an all powerful, Zombie-squishing mode of transport. Much like your other equipment, it degrades through use and will require constant repairs and full replacement of parts to keep it working. Also, using it requires fuel, so players will find themselves constantly having to scavenge for fuel from abandoned vehicles, as well as the parts needed to make repairs.
To complement the new buggy, Kyle will also get a new Driver skill tree. By using the buggy to its full, such as to mow down Zombies or hitting ramps at high speed, the player will earn experience points that can level up the buggy and give access to enhancements such as a nitro boost along with improving aspects like fuel efficiency and sturdiness. There are plenty of physical and cosmetic upgrades available for the buggy through crafting or spending of cash, making the buggy almost seem like a character itself.
The Following expansion adds a huge amount of content to an already content-filled package. Although the parkour-heavy gameplay of the core game is switched over to a more off-road driving centered experience, the main gameplay remains pretty much the same. Players who could not get on with Dying Light will be unlikely to find anything in the Enhanced Edition or the expansion to change their mind. But for anyone who enjoyed the core experience, things will only get better. Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition doesn’t fix all of the games problems, but it expands and improves the experience in a substantial way. Well worth picking up!