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Dying Light Pushes Switch To Incredible Limits

Courtesy of Techland

Dying Light Platinum Edition

Developer: Techland
Publisher: Techland
Release Date: October 19, 2021
Available as: Digital and Physical

This Dying Light Shines Bright On The Nintendo Switch

The appearance of Dying Light Platinum Edition on the Nintendo Switch of all consoles seems like a random decision from developers Techland. At the time of writing, the original game was released in 2015 on the PC, PS4, and Xbox One, six years ago. It has been six years until the Nintendo Switch's release, a sign that gives me red flags. This wouldn't be the first game from 2015-2016 that would get an inevitable Switch port that I'd play. I didn't expect one to be so soon after the mess that was Aragami Shadow Edition.

As with other zombie games we've looked at in the past, Dying Light is all about survival yet with a unique twist. The player, instead of using guns, will need to rely on their agility to evade and reach safety. The game centers around Chris Redfield Crane, a S.T.A.R.S member undercover government spy who finds himself in a middle eastern country to investigate an outbreak. The protagonist is voiced by Roger Craig Smith, the same voice as Chris from Resident Evil. Considering the setting and its intro, I couldn't help but think about Resident Evil 5. These are where the similarities end, putting my personal vocal whiplash aside.

cutscene in game
Dying Light Platinum Edition - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Dying Light Is The Mirror Edge Sequel We Didn't Expect

The first twenty or so minutes of gameplay is easily the game's lowest point, forcing me to make one fatal flaw. Dying Light made me question logistics in video games. The moment Crane lands, his parachute gets caught on a streetlamp and lands him in the middle of an ambush. For a government agent, a shoddy landing such as this makes for unintended humor. This continues with the bandits injuring his legs and getting bit by a zombie in the arm. Before anything can happen, rescuers appear and make the save, transporting him into a safe haven known as The Tower. It is here that Crane is put to work to pull his weight and it is here that I'm surprised his cover isn't blown.

While its story failed to impress me, Dying Light's gameplay certainly did for several reasons. As I mentioned earlier, rather than focus on gunplay, the player relies on parkour to survive. The city of Harran is a runner's paradise, complete with fences, houses, highways, and cranes. These objects are important to take advantage of in order to avoid the hoards of zombies. The gameplay reminds me of Mirror's Edge, where if the player attempts to fight, it's an uphill battle. The intent for Dying Light's survival relies on not getting caught, much like Mirror's Edge.

gameplay harran zombie
Dying Light Platinum Edition - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

A Dynamic Day/Night Cycle Bears A Challenge To Those Who Brave It

In the daytime, the zombies are lax, sluggish, and non-threatening, making daytime the best time for reconnaissance. Players are able to explore the city of Harran while helping out its residents with various missions. An early mission involves helping a resident set up traps in order to ward off zombies at night. The mission also serves as a tutorial for distracting zombie hordes with firecrackers and reaching higher ground. Near the end of the mission, the player will come across a larger zombie with a large slab of rock. The player can attempt to fight it but will realize that their attacks do nothing to the hulking zombie.

It's here that the game will nudge the player to their intended target nearby, in which the mission can continue. Sometimes, there are fights that are best left unfought, and running to live another day is more important. Trying to punch outside of the player's weight class can lead to a swift death. Before I knew it, I've became hooked to Dying Light's gameplay as it offered me a number of options to complete a mission. You could fight zombies head-on at the cost of stamina and weapon durability. You could also avoid them strategically and focus on completing each mission.

dying light zombies
Dying Light Platinum Edition - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Dying Light On The Switch Impresses, But Cuts Corners

On the Switch, Dying Light looks almost as impressive as its PS4/Xbox One/PC counterparts in motion. There are lighting and shading showing the time of day, although at times it appears baked in. The best way to explain this is during the tutorial mission that leads the player to a large crane. Atop of this crane, the player gets an incredible view of Harran, showing the city's skyline. The further the draw distance, the more blocky the environment appears. It's nowhere near as high-fidelity as its counterparts, but it doesn't have to be. Up close, there are certain graphical glitches that are unintentionally humorous. However, it's not enough to deter the gameplay should players ignore the graphic nuances.

dying light harran skyline
Dying Light Platinum Edition - Nintendo Switch Direct Capture

Overall, Dying Light is an impressive game on its own although it's the weakest link on the Switch. The game pushes the Switch to its limits and the concept of playing the game on the go is awesome. However, those who wish to play Dying Light for the experience will do better playing on any other platform. Switch owners who have no other means to play Dying Light could do far worse than playing it on their console, making this a worthy pickup.

Dying Light Platinum Edition is available on the PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One.

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