Dying Light The Following Review (Playstation 4)

Dying Light The Following Review (Playstation 4)
Review Score:

Dying Light: The Following is an expansion to Techland’s Dying Light, a first-person survival horror game that launched on January 27th, 2015 for next gen consoles. The expansion introduces a plethora of new content, including characters, weapons, gameplay enhancements, and (surprisingly) drivable vehicles. The game world has also been expanded to twice the size of the original game, giving the player new areas to explore.

Accommodating this larger, new world is the dune buggy — a vehicle that can be used to traverse the game world and kill zombies. The dune buggy’s performance can be upgraded via skill tree, and equipment such as UV lights and electrical cages (to name just a few) can be added for protection. It is also possible to attach flamethrowers, spikes and other weapons to the dune buggy, making it the post-apocalyptic equivalent of a light-armored ‘tank’. The player must collect fuel to PPG_GOTM_Badge_2015_Graphicpower the buggy, though.

The Following also introduces two new game modes  — ‘Bounty’ and ‘Nightmare’. Bounty mode splits all available missions into three categories: Basic, Dailies, and Community. The missions available in this mode not only reward the player with experience, but they change daily to add more variety to the gameplay. Nightmare mode, as the name implies, increases the game’s difficulty by extending the nighttime sequences and making the zombies more difficult to kill. The player doesn’t have to complete the main story to experience the expansion, but it’s not recommended due to the difficulty. Any progression earned during the base game is transferred over to the expansion, making it easier to play.

The core game mechanics have remained the same. When you’re not completing story-based missions, you’re scavenging the environment for food, parts to craft new weapons, and saving random survivors caught in life and death situations. As a living, breathing city (so to speak), events happen constantly even when you’re not around to interact with them. For example – GRE supply drops happen at random intervals. Since these drops are not important to the main story, the decision to find them is left up to the player. Saving a survivor also functions in the same way. Completing these ‘side’ events will grant additional money and bonus XP for leveling. Ignoring these side missions will invoke changes in the environment; these changes are minimal at best. Refusing to help a survivor leads to their death, and ignoring a supply drop makes it vulnerable to bandits.

Dying Light The Following Playstation 4

Combat is the same as Dead Island by developer Techland, but the floaty controls and the awkward delay of some heavy weapons, which plagued the aforementioned game, are not present in The Following. The combat system isn’t perfect, though. For example: anything larger than a pipe still has a short delay when a heavy attack is performed. But heavier, slower weapons are now more manageable during combat. A modified baseball bat is slower and heavier than a pipe, but it is capable of  incapacitating multiple zombies at once. Like Dead Island, there are too many zombies occupying the streets to take them all on. Highways, bridges and streets are infested with the undead, and the slightest noise can attract their attention. But on the flip side, noise can also be used to clear an area or a location that is congested with enemies.

It’s important to change your survival tactics when exploring the city at night. When the sun sets, Night Hunters join the endless, shambling crowds of flesh-eaters as the city’s apex predator. And unlike their brain-dead brethren, Night Stalkers can target a player from almost a block away due to their heightened senses. These creatures can be easily defeated when they’re by themselves, but not when they are in large groups. You’re only left with two options when cornered by more than one of these creatures — run for your life or scare them off with a UV powered light. The effect is only temporary, so you’re left with mere seconds to find cover before they start looking for you again.

Dying Light: The Following contains more scares than your average survival horror game, but not always for the right reasons. The game has a tendency of materializing zombies out of thin air even though you had checked your back moments before. And nothing can describe the emotions you feel the first time this happens either. I nearly dropped my DualShock 4 controller in shock because I wasn’t expecting anything to happen. It’s difficult to tell if this is a reoccurring glitch or the developer deliberately added these scares to keep gamers on their toes. People with weak hearts have been warned.

Dying Light The Following Playstation 4

The crafting system is robust in that it doesn’t restrict the player to a ‘crafting table’ (i.e. think Dead Island) to repair and/or modify weapons. Crafting material can be found all across the city – and can range from shoelaces to bottles of rubbing alcohol – and all of it can be crafted while you’re on the go in the city. Broken weapons can be mended with spare metal parts such as nails, saw blades and broken electronic parts. Every weapon requires a small laundry list of parts to be repaired, and those parts are displayed in separate windows next to the weapon currently in use. Repairing a weapon is as simple as pressing the Triangle button.

Weapon mods require blueprints, which can be found throughout the city. Hammers and wrenches, for example, can be modded into crude welders, capable of fracturing bones and charring flesh. Knives and Picks can be laced with aerosol to poison living enemies (i.e. bandits), while also causing a deep, bleeding effect. Electrocution is also among the many blueprint mods available, and it’s actually quite entertaining to see it in action. Zombies will shake violently from convulsions as electricity courses through their rotting, disfigured bodies. Moreover, zombies that are set on fire will stumble around mindlessly, only to cause adjacent flesh-eaters to burn as well. There’s an almost morbid satisfaction to dealing out such punishment; it has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.

Dying Light The Following’s co-op multiplayer feature comes in handy when a mission is too difficult to complete solo. When you’re close to a mission zone, the game will notify you of any co-op games currently in progress. You can find these games by pressing Start and selecting the Matchmaking menu. Here you can choose ‘Quick Match’ (which doesn’t always yield the best results) or ‘Find a Game’.

Dying Light The Following Playstation 4

Any progress made during the co-op game is carried over to the single-player experience, making it much easier to progress through the story. Multiplayer’s biggest innovation is the ability to play as a Night Stalker during a co-op season. As a Night Stalker, you can stalk players and kill them to level up. The interaction is limited, though, and you can only participate if gamers have the feature enabled while hosting a game. It’s fun for a short time, but you don’t actually participate in the story; you’re just there as an obstacle for other players to overcome.

Dying Light The Following is one of those expansions that make the original game even more addictive. Some of the issues that plagued the original Dying Light are still present, but the positives still outweigh the negatives in this case. Dying Light The Following is guaranteed to satisfy gamers of all skill levels. Just remember that when the sun sets, the real fun begins.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Playstation 4
Developer: Techland
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
ESRB: M (Mature)
Price: $59.99

Dying Light’s Official Website: http://dyinglightgame.com/

Review Score
Gorgeous environments and character models.
Creepy zombie moans and blood-curdling howls make your skin crawl.
Intense combat that is complimented by a diverse survival system. The Following expansion adds to the game's longevity and overall appeal.
Dying Light: The Following is a fantastic expansion that compliments the core game.
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