There was a short time after Dying Light I found myself burnt out by zombies. The Walking Dead has lost its momentum and like many felt betrayed by the decisions the showrunners made. Even now, we’re still seeing zombie content but it isn’t as much in your face as it was before.
One game, in particular, made the zombie genre palpable once again, and with last month’s release of Dying Light: Platinum Edition on Nintendo Switch, did I remember why I was so drawn to Techland’s breakout hit. For starters, the game is still being supported six years after launching and is will get a next-gen upgrade soon. I was always curious why Dying Light never launched on the Switch after seeing so many other titles port over to the hybrid console. Thankfully, it’s now available and is a stellar port, even as the aging hardware continues to bottleneck games.
Dying Light – you are oh so good. Since I started playing, you’ve been nothing but a rush and so damn addicting. Dying Light takes the established mechanics of Dead Island and puts a welcome twist to these ideas. Parkour, zombies, and sheer gore. Yes, please!
Set in the city of Harran; isolated from civilization are the remnants of a ravaged and torn city. A zombie outbreak has signaled the apocalypse and nowhere is safe. Your character, Kyle Crane is airdropped into this hell to look for a secret file. Through this introduction, you meet the various factions that will play a part in the days to come.
After a brief tutorial of the game’s mechanics, the world begins to open up. And the first thing I did? I found a few zombies and kicked them into a pile of electrocuted water to my amusement. Techland added some really great mechanics, but I love the movements of the zombies more.
The parkour adds a fresh and exciting layer to the zombie genre. The first-person parkour fits stunningly well with the other established fighting mechanics to where fighting zombies opens up more possibilities. I didn’t know I would enjoy drop-kicking a zombie, but low and behold, I ended up doing just that and this hurtled the zombie into a set of defense spikes on a wall.
The controls in Dying Light will take some time to adjust to in the beginning. During the tutorial I had a sinking feeling in my stomach I was going to hate the control scheme of the climbing mechanics but, an hour later I was a natural-born free runner in Harran.
What I’ve taken out of playing this game is the tension. I haven’t been so tense or felt so anxious while playing a video game in ages. The first night in Harran was not at all what I expected it to be, I was invaded by another player who was playing as the supercharged zombies that only come out at night. These zombies terrify the crap out of me because once they spot you in their field of view, your options are limited to either run or try to fight and be torn apart.
Dying Light Delivers a Thrilling Experience
The Be the Zombie mode is one of my favourite add-ons in quite some time, selectable from the main menu, the roles are switched and I invade other players’ worlds to devour them in a game of cat and mouse. After a quick tutorial of how to be the best predator around, jumping into someone’s game while they’re busy finishing quests is exciting – but- not as exciting as I eat their face after pouncing on them. One of the most memorable nights included being invaded my first night playing and being terrified because I had no clue what to look out for.
The main gripe I’ve had with these open-world games is the tedious and redundant fetch quests, I’m not happy being an errand boy for the people of Harran. Whether I’m grabbing herbs for someone or having to trek my way to a power facility at night no less, to turn on a breaker. It’s frustrating when these filler quests are stuffed in to prolong the time I’m playing.
Techland I applaud you on what was accomplished with the graphics. The entire world looks amazing from anywhere you look on the map and has some of the most beautiful bloom effects I’ve seen on a console, ever. This ravaged cityscape is brought to life in vivid detail and is stunning to explore at any time of the day.
The fun gameplay works well with the complimenting soundtrack. The audio is stellar and to this day, I think the soundtrack is still supplemental to the experience. The voice acting is top quality as well and is some of the best I’ve heard in a long time, each character has a distinct personality to them.
Dying Light has a ton of content to keep you coming back. My time spent in Harran continues to keep me entertained despite zombies being hungry for my flesh, and Techland succeeds with Dying Light despite the foibles sprinkled through the world. The Platinum Edition comes with all existing downloadable content, too including all four expansions including The Following, Hellraid, The Bozak Horde, and Cuisine and Cargo.
Each expansion gives players new locations and tasks but The Following is still the best of the bunch given how it expands the world.
For the most part, the gameplay is about as equal as it was when it launched in 2015. On the Switch, Dying Light runs at 1080p and 30 frames per second docked, while handheld yields 720p and similar frame rates. The trade-off of having Dying Light on Switch is it performs surprisingly well, but is also is fuzzy and blurry at times.
Dying Light: Platinum Edition is a solid port of a great game. There are some issues with having the game on the Switch but that’s due to the bottlenecking the aging hardware has finally hit. One of the biggest successes of the console is how portable it has made console gaming and while this trend continues, it does have some caveats. If you’ve never played Dying Light, then I’d suggest checking it out on a proper console, but if you don’t, then the Switch port will give you a viable experience.
[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]