Dying Light: The Following
Let me start by saying any of my gaming friends or anyone who reads my reviews on a regular basis knows that I’m not the biggest zombie fan. For me, zombies fit right in-between wolfmen and mummies, in other words, merely fare that perhaps would have been cool when I was a toddler but is akin to ghosts & goblins at my age.
Having said that, I’ve been on this whole “have-to-give-everything-a-chance” deal for the past couple of years or so, and so I’ve been stepping outside of my comfort zone and playing all sorts of games. That includes giving games that feature the good ol’ shambling dead a chance as well. This began with Left 4 Dead 2, which was sort of a guilty pleasure. Then I moved on to a couple of other zombie games that were meh, before encountering another one which I thought was fun: H1Z1, which I also just recently reviewed for CyberpowerPC.
I tried Dying Light out a while back and enjoyed the light, breezy storyline which took place on a Turkish island which the main character, Kyle Crane, was tasked with more or less saving. What really struck me about Dying Light was the introduction of the Assassin’s Creed-esque parkour and free-running gameplay elements. Instead of having to constantly try to run around zombies at ground level like other zombie games, you could leap over them from shanty rooftop to shanty rooftop with hardly a care in the world (unless you fell that is—which I never did…nope not me…ever…). The graphics were also head-and-shoulders above any game I’d seen featuring the walking dead, which was the icing on the moldy, decaying cake. Oh yeah, and the combat was great too.
After playing the first Dying Light DLC, The Bozak Hoard, which was by all accounts, rather lackluster, I didn’t know what to expect with the latest DLC, titled Dying Light: The Following. The plot revolved around a dying survivor painfully relaying to Crane that there might be a cure to the zombie virus yet, and that it is located somewhere in a countryside area that the poor dying bastard had once visited. Since the remaining survivors from Dying Light are fast running out of Antizine (the zombie anti-virus), Crane decides to take off for greener pastures, and the countryside area becomes the new backdrop for the new zombie-maiming adventure.
Since the new countryside is indeed a vast, sprawling playground, it’s not ideal to try to walk/run from point A to point B, unless you don’t mind watching Crane do so for long stretches of time. Therefore, he must utilize the key new feature in the game which is the all-mighty vehicle.
Vehicles can be fully upgraded, armed, and come complete with their own branching skill tree. The character’s skill tree has also been expanded in The Following so that players can develop some pretty powerful avatars. Not too powerful though—as there are some truly gigantic boss-level foes in this new expansion, and they come with their own life bars. I was incredibly astonished (and saddened) when I first attempted to attack one of these creatures. They are amazingly strong and deal out a lot of damage. Each and every time I tried to take one down I ended up getting smashed to within inches of death and had to speed off in my trusty metal steed. Maybe it’s that I just suck or maybe it’s that these things are made for groups of players to go up against, so methinks I’ll reserve trying to tangle with them again until I have some co-op buddies backing me up.
I really did enjoy the change in the environment to a large extent, it is indeed a drastic switch. I had been getting used to the cramped, dusty streets of the city featured in the original Dying Light and its incredibly impressive amounts of verticality-potential. I had so much fun with my zip-line, dashing between roofs, awning, and even skyscrapers, up and down and up and down—and being able to attack from on-high was such a blast.
But alas, in The Following the amount of vertical hijinks to be had are minimal, which makes sense given the more open-world expansiveness of the DLC as compared to the base game. It’s just a different beast altogether. Fortunately (thanks Techland!) you can take your newly bolstered up character from The Following and still go back to play Dying Light, which will give you even greater loot opportunities (and stronger foes). You can also play either one with a friend or two if you didn’t do so before. All of these factors lead to The Following and the base game having a decent amount of reply value, and I’m planning on going back to play Dying Light again once I’ve gotten pretty far into the DLC.
The graphics in The Following continue to be absolutely stunning—the best of any undead game so far. Environments are lush and realistic looking, character models are very detailed and move naturally (as naturally as they can for digital avatars anyway), and weapon handling is hefty and has gravitas, especially on high-end gaming PCs or gaming laptops. I’m not someone who has to have pretty visuals in a game, but in this case, The Following’s really do a great job of further immersing you in its rotting, zombie-infested world.
The Following is an excellent DLC, don’t get me wrong. I mean I’ve been having a blast playing it. But in terms of it succeeding, that will depend on how much gamers miss the parkour and free-running elements of the original game as well as how much they like the driving aspects in The Following. I find them separately enjoyable, but some might wish that they were combined. The skill progression is also rather slow. I’m about halfway through The Following and I’ve barely unlocked anything vehicle-skill-wise. But then again, I’ve hardly bothered with many of the side-quests which is one of the main ways to gain skill points so I guess I can’t complain.
In all, The Following won’t dazzle gamers quite like Dying Light did when it debuted, but rather offers about 10-12 hours of additional gameplay. The storyline is decent, the action is fast and furious with the new vehicles, and there are new weapons, skills, and loot to enjoy. There is also a beautifully rendered new environment to play around in. I’m giving two big thumbs up for this DLC and would recommend it to anyone who likes zombies, driving, driving over zombies (but not zombies driving), and the like.
Dying Light: The Following is one pretty game, with some really nice graphics—but it’ll bring even mid-range gaming PCs to their knees. Consider getting a new gaming PC or gaming laptop today:
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