E3 2013: Dying Light Impressions

The next generation of consoles is almost upon us and so is the next generation of zombie games. Developer Techland has created their version of the zombie apocalypse featuring elements from different genres of games including Mirror’s Edge, Left 4 Dead, and Dead Island. Techland’s new game, titled Dying Light,¬†is published by Warner Bros. Interactive and allows the player to free run through an open world.

Dying Light 3Dying Light is set during the zombie apocalypse where players control a character who uses parkour or free running to navigate their way through¬†the quarantine zone to escape the zombie hordes and gather supplies from drop shipments that are made twice a day. The free running mechanic allows players to climb, run, and jump onto any structure the player can imagine in the game, including the ability to climb telephone poles to access rooftops and balconies. While at Techland’s E3 booth, I watched the developer play through a slice of the game as they had a character who was on their way to a drop shipment get side tracked after he heard a girl scream. The character climbed a telephone pole to get to the third floor of a home, jump down a hole in the floor to rescue a little girl who was trapped in a closet. During the Dying Light presentation, a member of the development team said that the game offers plenty of side quests the player can undertake to increase their reputation with other survivors in the quarantine zone. Increasing your reputation will not only get other survivors to trust you but sell you weapons and items cheaper.

A few of the weapons I was able to see in Dying Light consisted of machetes, aluminum bats, sledge hammers, and axes. The player is able to sever the zombies’ limbs, break bones, and/or decapitate these foes. The player can also punch, kick, and jump kick the zombies in order to keep them away. Blunt object weapons have the ability to break bones, showing an x-ray of the bone breaking and the spot turning red indicating bonus damage. Weapons and items can be looted from fallen zombies and modified to make better weapons. During the demo presentation, the developer modified a machete giving it an electrical charge. The zombies come in different varieties similar to the zombies in Left 4 Dead. During the showing, we were able to see five different enemy types which I thought was really cool. There were the normal rank and file zombies; They are the most abundant and will run at the player to get at them. There’s the Viral, who are individuals who are infected but haven’t fully turned yet. They will scream as they run at the player attracting other zombies. Also, there was a burly infected that broke through a wall tossing a car at the player. The developer stated, “It’s best to avoid certain infected.” there are the non infected humans who will either help or hinder the players progress. During the demo, the player ran across a group of militia who secured a drop shipment first and pointed their weapons at the player as he got too close. The last was a special infected that only comes out at night called the volatile. The volatile are different as the player really really doesn’t want to be seen by them. Another tool in the players arsenal is the ability to send out a ping similar to sonar to find the special infected zombies at night. This comes in handy because when night comes, the zombies get stronger. The portion of the game I saw was short but looked incredibly fun to play.

Dying Light will have an online four player co-op mode as well as a single player campaign. The game will launch for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One some time next year.

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