Dying Light: The Following PS4 Review
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Developer: Techland Genre: Horror, Action Players: 1-4
Age Rating: 18+ Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One
Expanding on the original Dying Light comes the eagerly awaited Dying Light: The Following, which continues on the story of Kyle Crane’s quest to find a cure for the survivors and infected of the zombie virus outbreak. Dying Light: The Following adds more main missions and side quests as Kyle tracks down a mysterious woman known only as ‘The Mother’, who has gained a cult following thanks to her success at seemingly finding said cure. The story is mostly straightforward and doesn’t contain many twists and turns, but it still keeps you intrigued nonetheless, making you want to know how everything will unfold. Kyle Crane still feels underdeveloped, with no mention of his back story or his working for the Global Relief Effort, and there is no contact from his bosses from the original game. This would have been a good opportunity to make Crane more of a rounded character, instead of just a generic hero out to save the day, though he is nonetheless likeable. The original Dying Light also boasted about having a ‘mature’ storyline, but none of that seems to be present here either, instead opting for a more linear approach to the story in comparison to the original game.
As well as continuing the story and adding extra missions, the game also has improved graphics, new animations, new weapons, a new Nightmare difficulty mode and bonus challenges, which include walking a certain amount of steps, vaulting over or killing a set number of zombies and so on, each offering you a reward of some kind upon completion. Another new addition is the inclusion of a Dune Buggy; a four-wheeled vehicle which enables Kyle to get around much quicker.
The new map, known as The Farmland, is what you expect – it takes place in the countryside, with vast fields, mountainous regions and other new areas for you to explore. The new map is supposedly bigger than both of the original two maps combined, purposely made to test out your new Buggy, though somehow it doesn’t really feel as big as The Slums or Old Town together, but that is probably down to its scaled-down, open environment. With no tall buildings to scale here, the parkour that was prevalent in the original Dying Light has taken a back seat to the Buggy, the only quick way for Kyle to get around now. With the Buggy being such a major addition, it can also be upgraded, adding parts to the vehicle to make it run smoother and adding protective armour to keep yourself from being hit by zombies. With the Buggy comes new challenges, including racing around courses, reaching the top speed limit and smashing into as many zombies as possible. The Buggy is a very useful feature, allowing Kyle to get to mission locations faster and upgrading it will allow you to manoeuvre the vehicle anywhere, meaning Kyle now spends less time running, and more time speeding around.
If you have already played the original game, the game will begin where you previously left off, meaning Kyle will still have all of his previous upgrades and weapons. Further upgrades come in the form of the new Legendary Levels, which come into play once you have maxed out one of your skill trees, with future experience being distributed to the new Legendary Level skill tree, allowing you to further upgrade your skills beyond those of the original skill trees. This is a great feature for those who may already have Kyle’s skills fully upgraded, giving players new motivation to increase Kyle’s abilities further.
If you’ve played the original game, you’ll find it’s very easy to get back into The Following, and even if you forget the control scheme it soon comes back to you what you are supposed to do, like riding a bike. Everything becomes very familiar and the game quickly pulls you back in and you are once again hacking through zombies, unlocking chests, crafting weapons and completing missions in no time at all.
The missions themselves are varied and manage to feel fresh, though some missions can lead to a bit of frustration if you are not properly prepared. Enemies old and new return, though I didn’t really see any evidence of the adaptable AI that Techland said would feature, though as you are constantly running or speeding somewhere, you won’t really be paying much attention to enemy attack patterns anyway. There was one boss fight I was thrust into, very unprepared, and the enemy’s attack pattern did not seem to alter based on how I approached it. Other enemy encounters also seem more of the same, with them attacking in pretty much the same manner they did in the original Dying Light, albeit with more animations.
All the extra’s that was in Dying Light returns here, including Be the Zombie mode, which allows you to take control of a Night Hunter and invade other people’s games, or they can invade yours if you have the option turned on. Co-op mode, meanwhile, will be particularly useful if you are dealing with a difficult enemy or boss, though not so helpful if you want to complete the story or side missions yourself.
All of the new challenges and missions ensure that there is plenty to do and the game has a good shelf life, lasting at least 10-15 hours and with Techland stating they intend to support the game until at least the end of the year, do expect more Dying Light content over the course of the next few months. The game that keeps on giving, Dying Light: The Following offers pretty much more of the same, with just enough new additions to keep it fun and fresh and is an expansion that was well worth the wait.