Rory Galvin digs into a lifeless excuse of a sequel
There has been a meme floating around recently of Sonic the Hedgehog asking for "…shorter games with worse graphics made by people who are paid more to work less…". It stems from a recent exhaustion of good will from the gaming community for games that are so clearly phoned in - more well known for their awful development rather than their actual content. Dying Light 2 is one of those games: and this is what I think of when I see the meme.
Techland has always been known for zombie games - their Dead Island series was never known for being excellent by any means, but a ton of fun with friends. When they eventually parted ways with their original publisher, they lost the rights to that name, and instead created Dying Light. What makes Dying Light special was not only the time it was released in (an otherwise quite early 2015), but the quality of the product. It’s hard to find people who dislike the game, it may have its faults, but there are aspects like the world and the gameplay that elevate it to being one of the best undead games out there - the same can not be said for the sequel.
Dying Light 2 takes place 20 years after the original in the boring city of Villedor. It pales in comparison to Hanar: there’s less variety, less colour, less everything. We have a new main character, but you may not notice as they sound exactly the same for some reason. Any attempt at telling a story is poorly written and paced - and it’s not like the first game was Shakespeare, but it got its point across. It all comes together more lifeless than even a zombie game should.
The incredibly smooth and intuitive gameplay of the first entry is nowhere to be found in the sequel. Each hit feels like slapping a tree trunk - nothing has impact. In the first game I could charge up a hit of my baseball bat and send a zombie flying into the ground. Here, they’re practically unphased until their health bar reaches zero. Yes, health bars: something reserved for boss encounters originally now applies to every single enemy, and it’s as frustrating as you would think. Techland decided to shoehorn every games-as-service feature into a fully priced game all with the intent of taking more of our time away. Now certain areas of the city are essentially locked until you level up to some arbitrary number, making the game more linear and forcing you to do side objectives for those precious experience points.
I don’t even have time to mention the bugs, it took months of patches to put the game in a playable state, an annoying trend of modern game development. Plus, the numbers speak for themselves: the first Dying Light has more average concurrent players on Steam, a pure embarrassment for the sequel. I can’t recommend the first game enough, but Dying Light 2 is worse in every conceivable way. Don’t play it unless you’re desperate.