There are no story spoilers for Dying light 2 in this review.
Most gamers these days have had their run-in with zombies, be it back in the days of Call of duty : world at war’s zombies. Dead island’s sunny and dead paradise, or maybe at 3 am after a 12-hour gaming session when you catch yourself in the bathroom mirror. Zombies are a solid premise for any survival game and after 2016’s Dying Light was released, it’s safe to say players got the golden triad.
What I mean by this is a world of zombies, excellent combat that was both challenging and fun and finally, the means to navigate rooftops for epic chases and escapes. Dying Light hit the mark, and many fans were excited to see what could be expanded on within this world, thus beginning the wait for the sequel. Developer Techland had some big shoes to fill, and after various delays and some trailers, December 2021 birthed Dying Light 2: Stay Human.
The question now is, does it hold a candle to the original? Was it worth the wait?
I can confirm that it was definitely worth the wait. With a whole new generation of consoles out we are now able to see what a further fleshed out, overgrown zombie world can look like. The city of Villedor is a vast and beautiful playground, filled with enemies from a human thief to a hulking zombie variant.
There is much going on once you’re settled in and given a free roam of part of this city. Some areas are blocked off for story reasons, however, you are still given a big playground to start in and it is stunning to view. There are many moments during the daytime when you can be up high and moving to a checkpoint, and the beauty of this world can be seen for miles. Techland has truly created a real and vibrant world for what is essentially the end of humanity.
The question that I’m sure many have is; does the game still hold up to its prior entry, and I would say that there isn’t a massive leap between the two. That isn’t a bad thing by any means, and the improvements that are made were what many players, me included wanted to see.
The parkour is much tighter in reaction and flows so much better, allowing for directional changes to feel seamless. This makes traversing this large city a pure pleasure, making me think back to how Marvel’s Spiderman’s swinging first impacted. This movement system is well fitted to this world and it’s a great time moving between missions and side quests. This is also complemented by the combat. There is less improvement here generally, but the skill tree allows for much more diversity in how players can deal with enemies. Granting a host of additional skills for both combat and parkour, the skill trees allow you to truly personalize this experience, tailoring it to you.
Not to cover too much detail, the story of Dying light 2 lands you in the running shoes of Aiden, a pilgrim (zombie postman), who is searching for a connection to his past. Aiden will make many connections once he enters Villedor, even making some friends along the way should you choose his dialogue to reflect that. Although his personality doesn’t get reflected by these choices for the most part, you can make him more withdrawn or open.
Aiden is voiced by actor Jonah Scott, who you may know as Phoenix from One punch man’s season 2, or Legoshi from Beastars. Although new to the scene, Jonah brings a lot of passion to this role, fleshing Aiden out as a protagonist. You also have the likes of fantasy queen Rosario Dawson, and many other long-time actors who bring their A-game.
Dying Light 2 is a solid sequel for a series that hit hard from day one, adding a solid cast to flesh out the characters and an overhauled world that was made to blow the first entry away. Although some would argue there isn’t enough here to class it as a big step forward, I would argue there were only small fixes needed from the original. This entry has definitely made a place for itself amongst open-world survival games. If you want a solid world with plenty of content, heart racing chases and world-class parkour to get you around it, what’re you waiting for?
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