Dying Light 2: Stay Human
Dying Light 2's Plot Writes Itself In 2022
Historically, story-intensive games that focus on real-life scenarios and settings are inclined to provide their players with a warning. The phrase "Any references to real-life locations, names, and events are fictional and coincidental," has been at the beginning of not just games but also movies and television. However, the more real-life writes the "plot" of these mediums that offers this warning, the more I'm left scratching my head. There's a point in the opening cinematic to Dying Light 2 where I asked myself. "Am I seeing a recap of 2020 before my eyes?"
The game takes place directly after the events of the first Dying Light, following the viral outbreak in Harran and failure to keep its citizens from succumbing to the virus. A vaccine was developed due to the efforts of Crane, the protagonist from the previous game, who went missing. Unfortunately, further experiments led to a laboratory outbreak, spreading a variant of the virus worldwide and bringing humanity to its knees. Years later, Aiden, who is one of a traveling group of survivors known as "Pilgrims," sets foot in the town of Villedor in search of his sister. The "laboratory outbreak" alone was enough to make me believe that the "not based on real-life" warning is a load of bull. But, I'll suspend my disbelief.
While A Standalone Game, References To The Original Are Appreciated
It wasn't too long ago that we took a look at Dying Light on the Nintendo Switch of all consoles. The oft-considered underpowered console isn't the first platform one would guess to run a massive game like the original. Yet, the little Switch that could, manage to blow expectations out the water. It was my first experience with the title, but despite its compromises, I was able to enjoy the experience much like I would if I played on PC.
The pacing in Dying Light 2 was different than the original for a multitude of reasons. The protagonist was a government agent sent to spy on a rogue alliance located in the depths of Harran. His peers don't trust him until he's forced to align himself with the ones he's meant to be the subject of his mission. The sequel features an all-new protagonist separate from Harran who endured lab experiments as a child along with his sister. His entire purpose in DL2 is to find the whereabouts of his sister, while also surviving in a world where he's looked at as the enemy.
Dying Light 2 Feels More Grounded In It's Plot
At least, these were the early impressions I've gotten from the first hour of playtime. I recall the first game dropping the player in an aggressive torn state between survivors and zombies. In the sequel, things are more tranquil, mainly due to the abandoned rural outskirts. While the original forces the player to get used to the abandoned Middle Eastern cityscapes, the environment in its sequel are lush mountainous parks, lulling the players into a scenic false sense of security.
This is brought to the front following the introduction with another Pilgrim, Spike, who reprises his role from the first game. After the protagonist and Spike catches up, the player is left to their own adventure in finding the link to his sister. Shortly after, their first zombie approaches, the music changes, and the tension ramp up. If the zombies weren't so easy to dispatch, the scene would be far more stressful than it is.
The World Is An Obstacle Course
One of the early objectives in Dying Light 2 is to make it to the radio communications center, keep in touch with someone who may have a lead on your sister, and rendevous with the person. The only problem is that the center is at the peak of the mountain, with the player near at the bottom. This also serves as a tutorial for the game while nudging players to attempt different paths as the "optimal" path isn't laid before the player.
An example is a split path leading to a broken RV truck and another with a steep mountainside. If the player chooses the latter, they swim to the hanging RV truck and climb from the inside until they reach the top of the broken highway. The small segment is neat, using the geometry of a vehicle in ways that only a parkour artist can make do. The latter is more traditional but grounded for players who are used to a "stable" way of reaching the top. While the developers encourage players to take a sensible approach, they reward the player for going off the beaten path if necessary.
Combat Is Once Again A Hit Or Miss
Much like the original, combat consists of grabbing a rusty object and caving a zombie's head in with it. It's simple combat, yet some enemies have "power" attacks identified by a glowing aura. These attacks can easily be dodged, otherwise, it's best to be mindful of the durability of the weapon used. Scavenging items is also as important as the original as they can be used to craft items. Also, much like the first game, levels are gained the more certain skills are used such as combat and parkour.
This leads to my conclusion of Dying Light 2 as not many differences or improvements are made to the original. It's an upgrade to the prequel for sure, but it seems like a title for players who missed out on the first game and wish to play it on a modern console. While I feel the sequel is easier to engage in than the prequel, it's not reinventing the wheel. Dying Light 2 is a game that features expansive open locations, zombies, and parkour, much like the original. It may be "more of the same," but that "same" was a formula that didn't need fixing from the beginning.
Dying Light 2: Stay Human is now available on the PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S