I'm here to whine about Dying Light. (Slight spoilers)

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#1 Posted by halim51 (108 posts) -

So last night I finished the story in Dying Light. I know the game is pretty old at this point, but Brad getting excited about Dying Light 2 reminded me of how much he used to evangelize the first game and with it being on sale over the past week I thought I would give it a try. I have some thoughts.

  • The combat sucks and pretty much sucks the entire time

It seemed that regardless of what non-gun weapon I was using all by the most basic of early game zombies take forever it kill. I'll be hacking away at it's head for what seems like forever, while in the meantime dozens of other zombies will appear out of thin air to jump me. Fighting humans is even worse, they soak up even more damage, block almost every attack and will change the direction of their attack to perfectly negate all but the most perfect of dodges.

  • You can't do anything without getting jumped

I know hordes of zombies is this games thing, but the way the game places/generates them is obnoxious. As an example - while I was playing last night I jumped down into an area to unlock a crate. I checked to make sure there were no zombies near me, there were not. I start to unlock the crate and almost immediately start getting attacked, the animation stops and I see a group of at least a dozen zombies.
To go along with the horde complaint - you can seemingly never clear a room of zombies. Unless it's a part of a story mission, rooms and building just endlessly fill up with more and more zombies until you are overwhelmed and forced to run away or die. Again, I know it's a game about surviving a zombie apocalypse, but I didn't find it to be fun.

  • The last fight made me want to uninstall the game

QTE end boss fight? Really?

  • The traversal is great/the story is good?

Something I actually liked. The traversal took me a little while to get use to, but once I did I was having a lot of fun with it. I enjoyed just running around, jumping rooftop to rooftop, seeing how long I could go without dropping to the ground. Once I got to the Old Town area of the game I started having a little less fun with the traversal until I remembered about the grappling hock, which opened up a ton of fun possibilities.
The story is also...good? OK. I don't know if I would really say that it's good, but I enjoyed it. It's a game where bad things happen to everyone all the time, unrelentingly. I know dark games (ha) aren't a rarity by any means, but I feel like I just haven't been playing them lately and it was nice to be bummed out. '

With all of that being said....I loved this stupid, broken game (Oh, it was buggy too. I kind of like bugs so I didn't give this it's own bullet point). Brad was right - Dying Light was a lot of fun and everything that's come out about the squeal makes it seem like it's going to be even better than the first. I'm glad that I didn't play it when it first came out, I don't think I would have had the patience for it at the time, but it was more than worth the roughly $10 I paid for it on PSN.

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#2 Posted by rocketblast0063 (324 posts) -

You made it at least. I got bored after a few hours. Story felt like a series of fetch quest, combat was repetitive and the junk you used as weapons broke after just a few uses.
I do agree with that the movement, it's quite ok.

Got pretty strong Ubisoft vibes from the game, great on paper but uninspiring when playing.

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#3 Posted by The_Nubster (4235 posts) -

The early game is supposed to be punishing in terms of combat, because you're supposed to be using parkour to avoid enemies. Once you get a few hours in and you're finding stronger weapons, you can take on zombies without as much trouble and by that time you will have gotten good enough with the parkour that you can move swiftly around the hordes if need be. The weapon degradation stops being a thing pretty early on with the skill trees and there's even a skill that gives you a bunch of bonus repairs. I don't know what you were doing with your weapons, but the game pretty quickly gets to a point where one swing of a bladed weapon will lop off several heads in a row. Along with the instant escape skills, the camouflage skill (which is severely OP, you can become invisible to zombies, kill a few, reapply to camouflage, rinse and repeat), the ability to vault over zombies, distraction items like firecrackers, you should never be in a position in the mid-to-late game where you're getting swarmed.

Human enemies do suck, I'll give you that, but again, the heads start flying off around mid-game, and every single gun kills with a headshot, regardless of its strength. Also, in regards to the final boss, the complaint about the QTE has always bugged me a bit: the final boss battle is the parkour beforehand. The game is all about movement and agility, not direct combat. Just like every other human enemy in the game, you would have just popped out a gun and shot him in the head for a one-hit kill, so it's not like the QTE was robbing you of anything. What else was he gonna do? Get in a robot and fight you to death? (Actually that might have been pretty sick.)

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#4 Edited by halim51 (108 posts) -

@the_nubster: I'm fully willing to accept that I might just be doing something wrong with the combat, but throughout the entire game I had issues. Sometimes zombies would be instantly killed, but more often than not I would stand there hacking away at their heads just for them to stand back up.

Insofar as the boss goes; I totally take your point that the parkour was the real boss fight, but there were multiple points throughout the game where they stripped you of your gear just leaving you with a knife or something. While I don't think it would have been a great solution to just do it again, I don't know if I buy that there wasn't anything else they could have done. But yeah, a robot fight at the end would have been dumb in a way I think I could get behind.

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#5 Edited by wardcleaver (317 posts) -

I also recently finished this game. I actually enjoyed it, for the most part, and I say this as someone who is not into zombie games/modes.

In the beginning of the game, I think you are supposed to be underpowered. However, as The Nubster stated, once you upgrade your skills, you can down enemies fairly quickly. I really enjoyed getting into a flow of using parkour with hit-n-run attacks on groups of zombies/humans.

I agree that the last boss battle was disappointing.

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#6 Edited by Shiftygism (1022 posts) -

I fell in love with the combat early on when I got myself cornered on a bus with no back exit or sunroof which ended up being one of the most tense moments I've ever had in a game...

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While the hordes in Days Gone are impressive, Dying Light's is on another level, I haven't played regularly for a couple years and fell off after I reached Old Town, but I can vividly recall so many scenarios where I found myself in a jam like the one above (and the medical camp on the bridge) that it made most of the otherwise boring mission objectives interesting just from the possibilities of what type of mess I'd end up in. I really need to get back into it before the sequel drops, especially with all the extra content they've added. Great game.

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#7 Edited by Gundato (294 posts) -

Going to have to strongly disagree on a few points

1. Early combat is trash. Pretty much once you start unlocking blade weapons and perks though it gets really fun. The key is that you need to stay mobile. Don't stand still and fight the horde. Ambush enemies (including humans) and then dodge out. And if you get swarmed, fight your way out of the swarm. And don't be afraid to use firecrackers and grenades and even throwing axes/knives/shurikens.

2. Unlock the perk that lets you cover yourself in zombie guts. Makes getting supply chests and the like a lot easier AND results in a crapton of tension when you are trying to pick a hard lock and hoping your guts won't wear off. At night you need to throw down a flare and hope that not too many volatiles start waiting for your flare to run out

3. Yeah. The Following was kind of a letdown. The drive up to the last boss was pretty fun though

4. Story is pretty crap, but it helps that the game is so long you tend to forget about a lot of it by the time you are fighting Rais for the umpteenth time.

Overall, the pacing of Dying Light is bad. I forget what changed after the first major update, but the game really only opens up once you start finding bladed weapons and guns, have the grappling hook, and have the camouflage. Which is maybe 3 or 4 hours in?

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#8 Posted by Nethlem (787 posts) -

As somebody with close to 150 hours in the game, I feel like I have to share my take:

There's quite some really nice depth to the combat that doesn't really surface in the regular game, but the asymmetric multiplayer used to be tons of fun particularly due to the combat and traversal mechanics. Nothing more satisfactory than sneaking up on the hunter and killing him, because you brought the right stuff to hide from his sense. Or baiting him into a bad position just to drop-kick him into a pair of wall-spikes.

A lot of the real fun to be had needs preparation, which requires farming items, that's probably the biggest weak point of the game but also a big draw for a lot of people. There's a bit of monster hunter to it where you prepare for raid specific objects for specific loot, you can put quite some time into creating good weapons and upgrading them.

Couple that with the smooth traversal system, and rewarding combat system when properly utilized, and you got a very enjoyable game that's simply fun to play once you master the mechanics, even more so once you throw in coop.

The story had its moments, but it's the overall combination of elements which made it such an enjoyable ride. Like the slow but pretty cool power-ramp up. You start so weakly, but by the end, with some extra time in you are literally grappling and parkouring all over the place like Spider-man, killing zombies in ways that make you feel like a bad-ass action movie hero.

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#9 Edited by sparky_buzzsaw (8911 posts) -

I really enjoyed it, but yeah, that last boss fight was shit. Also, the game could really, really use some good fast traveling. I get the traversal's supposed to be the point, but some consideration towards the player's time and energy to get around the world would go a long way.

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#10 Edited by PeezMachine (470 posts) -

There is good Techland and there is bad Techland. Dying Light is a lot of both.

My rock bottom Dying Light moment came in the arena fight with the monster with all the shipping containers. After you win that fight, you have to run through a gauntlet of enemies who shoot at you from windows. They're supposed to pop up "just in time" so that you get that "running through a hail of gunfire at your heels" moment. I died, and since respawns don't load a previous state (you just lose some XP and respawn at the last physical checkpoint) it meant I had to run the gauntlet with the shooters already in place. After x attempts and all of my Survivor XP, I finally made it through.

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#11 Posted by BaconHound (299 posts) -

@gundato said:

the game really only opens up once you start finding bladed weapons and guns, have the grappling hook, and have the camouflage. Which is maybe 3 or 4 hours in?

I must have done something wrong, or maybe I was just really bad at the game. Steam says I have 23 hours played, and of the things you listed, I only really had bladed weapons. Maybe I was focusing too much on little side quests and stuff, but it sure didn't feel that way.

That aside, the nail in the coffin for me was the abysmal save system. I'm rarely able to play a game for longer than 30-45 minutes in a stretch, so I hate it when a game doesn't allow me to save whenever I want. On top of that, loading back into my game almost inevitably put me on the far side of the world map, nowhere near the spot that I saved. Very frustrating.

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#12 Posted by Gundato (294 posts) -

@baconhound: I think blades/guns are tied to story. Guns start popping up around the time you storm the school (?) and blades... probably before that?

Grapple and camo are tied to the survival (?) score. Which reminds me of another grievance I have with the pacing

Don't fucking put me in an instant death chase sequence in a game where you take half my experience every time I die. Felt like every single major quest mission zeroed out my Survival score.

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#13 Posted by halim51 (108 posts) -

@gundato: I can totally see what you're saying with all of your points. I think what it really comes down to for me is the difference between the game they made and the game I wish that they made. I suppose by the end I wanted to be able to just face head on everything the game could through at me. I'm fully willing to admit that I only really hated the things I was whining about as I was having a problem with them, and wrote my original post after getting COMPLETELY DESTROYED a handful of times by a horde of zombies in one of the side missions.

Like I said though - I actually really liked the game and I'm pretty excited to play the sequel.

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#14 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8911 posts) -

One other note - make the skill branching fun. It was way more interesting in the spiritual predecessor Dead Island.

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#15 Edited by dudeglove (13764 posts) -

As far as I know, Techland proper made the "game" part but had outsourced the writing of the plot to a third party that didn't really do a good job. I really like Noah Caldwell Gervais' take on the game (despite him putting it out as an april fool's episode) which is that familiarity with the game's systems and mastery of it creates an altogether different experience.

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#16 Edited by soimadeanaccount (623 posts) -

The running around of the game is amazing as you go down the skill tree.

The combat is kind of mixed. It is very gear and upgrade depended. You kind of have to know where to get certain blueprint and spend the time to gather materials to make what you want. The beginning developer machete is both a blessing and a cop-out. Fighting human is a good change of pace every now and then. Gunplay is something you have to watch out for and need to be ready for; it isn't too much about if the gun play action is great but more of a preparedness/survivalist macro kind of deal.

I play through the game coop mostly with a set group of people except for occasional solo grinding/farming. We had some truly dynamic cool moments, along with moments of hilarious chaos. A lot of the core story missions aren't too interesting (the drug trips are cool tho), since the final boss is a solo deal I never play though it...we opt for the "alternate" ending.

I find the story weird honestly, and I think Brad mention it also, the message of the game really isn't about zombie or humans are the monster exactly, rather it dabbles with this weird meta commentary on choices, in particular video game choices. Either way kind of excited about Dying Light 2 and looking forward to gather up the same crew again and see what kind of mischief we can cause.

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#17 Edited by NTM (11850 posts) -

Sucks that you had those issues. It's one of my favorite games of 2015 and one of my favorite zombie games period. I loved the atmosphere and traversal was a lot of fun. I just, at least at the time, didn't like the ending of The Following. Also, the game changed quite a bit from when it launched, and probably still further after the last time I played it. It went from guns always being a no-no, to when I play The Following, I dropped all my melee weaponry and went full on guns. Enemies also became tougher to kill with the most powerful of weapons I had, where it originally swept off a zombies head in one swipe to now having to take two or three hits to kill them. I haven't played it since The Following DLC, so it's been a couple of years.

I really wish they had enhanced the game on one of the consoles. It's unfortunate Dead Island (be it original or remaster) wasn't nearly as enjoyable to me, so much so that I didn't even want to finish it. When it comes to Dying Light 2, it's a just have to wait and see how it turns out because while it doesn't look bad, it doesn't really look like it brings what I loved mainly about the first, which is a similar atmosphere. Still, I'll be keeping my eye on it. But yeah, I have fond memories of playing the first game in large part due to its setting and the way you get around it. The zombies were fun to kill in my opinion, but decidedly less fun when they updated it and weapons were weaker. When it came to hordes in the way and upgrading, I remember using the molotov's a lot.

Oh, and I really like the soundtrack too, which goes hand-in-hand with helping create that atmosphere. Voice work was adequate, and I appreciated that the story was there even though I didn't think it was great. I liked the characters enough though (which is partially why I was disappointed by The Following's ending). Re-reading your post, it seems you just played it at the wrong time maybe (in terms of enemies taking forever to kill). The updates when The Following came out brought some pluses, and some negatives to the experience so perhaps you would have actually preferred to play it then than now.

I think the game you played is a little different to the one Brad (and I or anyone else that played it at launch) played.

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#18 Edited by DarkeyeHails (596 posts) -

I generally liked the time I had in Dying Light (which was in Co-Op). The plot was barely there but moving around the world felt great, I thought the combat was fine, and at some point you get a grappling hook that ziplines you away from things like a zombie-apocalypse Batman.

I think my biggest complaint was that for all their talk about tense night time experiences with the very lethal zombies, the game doesn't actually do much to get you out and about at night. Which is disappointing since it seemed like one of the big hooks of the game.

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#19 Posted by Nethlem (787 posts) -

@darkeyehails: You can go hunting for Bolter zombies during the night, they drop the ingredients for a cloak potion which was pretty handy in PvP where regular zombies, for camouflage, are sometimes a bit rare.

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#20 Posted by ATastySlurpee (676 posts) -

I enjoyed it along with The Following, but I remember liking it more in co-op than single player

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#21 Edited by nutter (2195 posts) -

I lasted about...8 hours maybe? Maybe longer. It was all co-op. Leveling up, exploring, and moving through the environments was fun. Fucking around was fun. Sneaking through the night or a parking garage was fun. Traps and combat I found fun enough.

The story was just shit, from what I recall though. It was a game that was fun to explore with friends, but that only takes you so far.

It’s a great foundation, if I spent that long exploring. The authored missions and beats were just typical bland open-world filler.

I seem to recall having a lot more fun while I was under-powered. Once you could go out at night and fuck with the bigger threats, night lost all its charm.

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#22 Posted by DarkeyeHails (596 posts) -

@nethlem: Oh sure, it wasn't totally without reason to do so but mostly I found it pretty easy to avoid night unless you wanted to or were totally prepared. I think some of this has to do with how readily accessible safe zones are, so you were never really caught out in the world except for story beats.

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