Can Dying Light Freshen Up a Rotting Genre?

The thrill of first-person parkour can be a game changer to zombie-killing action games, but developer Techland needs to work out its technical kinks.

Dying Light is quite a surprise; it blends the first-person free-running mechanics of EA's Mirror's Edge with a zombie apocalypse open-world concept. Combining the two may seem unorthodox, but the game's day and night cycle gives it a good reason to do so.

While your player character is out in the day, he performs a supply drop collection here and a stash-recovering objective there to get supplies and weapons, as well as gain skill points to bolster his current abilities. Melee options aren't in short supply, as you have access to a baseball bat, a machete, and a sledgehammer to take down zombies coming after you.

Be it a big one that can dish it out as much as it can take it, or a green pus-filled one that explodes upon death and unleashes corrosive goo, swinging at enemies and knocking them down is satisfying thanks to responsive controls. However, you can't swing irresponsibly because doing a melee attack drains your stamina meter bit by bit. When it's empty, you can't even deal a full-brunt swing on even the slowest of walking corpses.

Running, jumping, sliding while running, and dropkicking a zombie while doing a running jump feel great too, though the gamepad controls have taken us a while to get used to. You get access to handguns too, but their loud booming gunshots will alert nearby undead that will relentlessly pursue you.

All of the above may remind you of Techland's other zombie game, Dead Island. When nighttime hits, however, that's when it differentiates itself from its cousin. Your free-running skills are put to the test; the zombies become more aggressive, slightly more intelligent, and tougher to kill.

With ammo being scarce and weapons not having much of an effect, you don't have much of a choice but to run like hell. Fleeing from the undead horde to your safe house is really thrilling and tense, as zombies can pop up wherever and whenever, as well as pursue you to kingdom come. A couple of tricks come in handy: you can push away zombies by holding the X button while up close to an enemy and then flick the left analog stick to any direction, or you can use a zombie as a platform by double-jumping over its head.

Even with the thrill of the chase, we had some trouble with the game's camera. While a game like Mirror's Edge reduced head-bobbing effects and had a white blip in the centre of the screen to minimize potential nausea from the free-running, there is no such luxury in Dying Light. We foresee players getting motion sickness easily with the constant motion your player character has to go through to survive and complete story objectives in the game.

Dying Light's melding of gameplay ideas could make it a surprising success, thanks to its day and night open-world mechanic. This being the studio that did Dead Island: Riptide and Call of Juarez: The Cartel, however, it may be dealing with an uphill struggle. Zombie game fans can expect this undead genocidal concoction in 2014 for next-gen consoles, the Xbox 360, the PS3, and the PC.

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Discussion

38 comments
pity-the-sadnes
pity-the-sadnes

I'm buying a ps4 WHY am I punished with that... Where is dead rising 3  ......damned xbox ....

jamesjgraham
jamesjgraham

Is there permadeath in this game or is this another endless spawning type zombie game where death has no meaning?

NickPunt636
NickPunt636

See, I'm not a zombie game fan at all... But this looks REALLY awesome!!!


IF they make this a sandbox and meld good story and voice acting and don't rush it out the door, this could be awesome.

B_STATS
B_STATS

First Person is the superior perspective in gaming. And zombie survival is it's own genre now, like Military shooters. If you don't like the genre don't play the games but it has a huge fan base and isn't going ANYWHERE. Sadly, this is NOT a zombie game. It's another lame 'special infected' game. If anything is harming the genre it is 'special infected'.

daviz88
daviz88

FPS PARKOUR? no thanks

TheBlackSpeed
TheBlackSpeed

Insanely excited. I don't know enough so I can't make too big of an assumption, but it does look interesting. Very interesting. I can't wait to see more!

hella_epic
hella_epic

Techland are so creative. They always have something interesting and eye-catching in their games but the implementation of the ideas is so poor. Their games are fun but the entire package is always buggy, clumsy and lacks polish. I have high hopes for this one, get it right Techland

RavenXavier
RavenXavier

When I read "Rotting Genre" I was hoping mindless FPS games were finally starting to be seen for what they are. There are still some good ones out there, like FC3 or Metro, but aside from that they're all still the same old lame old military style shooters.....*Yawn*.

carlusofwar
carlusofwar

I do appreciate the refrence in the headline, but this genre is NOT rotting! I like the trailer for the new game, but if this is Infamous with Zoombies - as that is what it looks like, well it could work but still the other games in this genre is still AWESOME!  .... Peeps are looking to much waaay in the past when they talk zombie genre and everyone is sooo hooked up on Resident Evil 1... that game is NOT at all as everyone says.. i always think of Resident Evil 2 as the first game in the series because that is the best game on the PS1 console and is everything that RE1 never could be.  (just like tekken 3 should have been tekken 1)...  as for RE5 and 6. i love those games and there is NOTHING wrong with the "horror" in those games! Re5 and 6 are what RE series should be like on the new gen (now old),.  so for me, the only thing that is rotting in his genre are the zombies and NOT the games! *more later  

GreySeven
GreySeven

Let the genre take a rest. 

bahamut_au
bahamut_au

Techland's last game is CoJ: Gunslinger, which is pretty good.

BurningBen
BurningBen

looks too much like a game i've already purchased... twice now. Time to make something new please

oneEnigma
oneEnigma

Techland makes ther most repetitive games out of all developers, Dead Island was a borefest im not surprised that yellow raincoat wearing "assumed maincharacter" in trailer dies as he looks as dead and personality lacking as all the NPC's in Dead Island games.

Thyasianman
Thyasianman

I was excited until I saw Dead Island...

Morthulo
Morthulo

Let my guess, when a zombie hits you, you suddenly lose the use of your legs!? Damn mechanic best not be in this game too, hated Dead Island for that.

santinegrete
santinegrete

Older horror games and Amnesia put emphasis un running from your enemies rather than fight them. Making that part fun is a idea that sounds so simple, yet so compelling that I can't believe no dev tought of that before.

Talavaj
Talavaj

I'll love it if it is anything like Dead Island which it seems it will be.

unreal101
unreal101

If the Dead Island CGI trailer is anything to go by, there will be no actual parkour in the final release :P

xxYetterxx
xxYetterxx

Sounds promising, I guess we will see. 

grey_fox1984
grey_fox1984

Techland has good ideas, with poor execution

Venom_Raptor
Venom_Raptor

I hope they can deliver a great game. Dead Island was a game I had high hopes for for years, and while good was not what I expected. Nice concept here so fingers crossed.

viciouskiller
viciouskiller

Ill be watching this one, but I wont get my hopes up just yet.

atlanticmoon
atlanticmoon

Crossing my fingers on this one. Zombie games haven't been very good in the past. 

Gooshnads
Gooshnads

@B_STATS THIS THIS THIS.


I'm still interested as all hell in zombies, however I am straight up bored with zombies that are running rather than the shambling armies.

KingTrax999
KingTrax999

Military style shooters are fine but zombie games are definitely needing a wash. The stench is getting a bit rank.

ILuvGameSpot123
ILuvGameSpot123

@carlusofwar "as for RE5 and 6. i love those games and there is NOTHING wrong with the "horror' in those games! Re5 and 6 are what RE series should be like on the new gen (now old),."

Please tell me you're kidding. Please please please

ILuvGameSpot123
ILuvGameSpot123

@santinegrete You're absolutely right, nothing as compelling in a horror game as vulnerability. I think true fear is actually knowing you can't face your opponent. And if you barely ever see them, like in Amnesia as you said, it's only getting better.


Damn, if all those people out there who've been dreaming about a horror game like Amnesia for years now just give a dollar to a dev who supports all their ideas and listens to their feedback, I bet we'd have the best horror game in the world right now.

offstar1029
offstar1029

@Talavaj it's too much like it and dead island completly sucked with it's zombies mechanics

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

@ILuvGameSpot123 @carlusofwar 

Lol I agree with Iluvgamespot if you love re5 and 6 your tastes in gaming is undoubtly terrible then again most new age gamers are just spoiled kids who don't know a good game from a copy paste job anyways...

carlusofwar
carlusofwar

@BlackBaldwin @ILuvGameSpot123 

i bet your taste is even worse, sitting there playing MinCraft, Journey, Call of Duty or only sticking to online game play - and if you play like that

: THEN your taste in games is really horrible! 

You know nothing about my age. Ive been into games and it dates back before NES!  As for my games likes, i have always had an AWESOME taste for good games that has everything that i need!  it is NOT my fault that you guys do NOT appreciate the true nature that is RE. instead of being stuck in that horrific first game that could have been alot better! 

You still think my taste is horrible after reading: 

Kratos
Legacy of Kain
Bioshock 2
GTA: San Andreas
Metal Gear Solid
Batman Arkham 
RE2
Dino Crisis
Hitman
Castlevania
Sonic 
Shattered Dimensions
Mega Man
Silent Hill