Zombies! A genre that is as undying as its slow shuffling stars.
Developer Techland, no stranger to zombie lore with their first outing Dead Island (which I was a big fan of) is creating a mighty ambitious open world zombie playground to explore, raise a little (more) hell and if a healthy dose of luck is on your side, maybe even survive. Maybe...
Dying Light consists of two core mechanics playing off each other in beautiful concert here: acrobatic parkour world exploration and, of course, zombie massacring. Both look so fully fleshed out and fun they could each helm their own game. What's great is that both mechanics are subtly synergized by being solely in first person perspective.
It's one thing to watch your characters strain to scale a building from your detached 3rd person camera. To know what's around a corner is a lot easier (and safer) when you can just swing the camera around to a better vantage point. It's a whole other thing to feel your face pressed up against a wall, able to count the bricks, and seeing rotting corpses at eye level reaching for you.
Speaking of zom-com (or zombie combat to us experienced Z hunters), I hope you like yours extra brutal with more head trauma than your average NFL season. Any encounter with a walking meatbag (living, undead, or otherwise) will result in quite the bloody mess. Combat focuses on the down and dirty melee variety--baseball bats with nails are just the beginning.
Depending on what flavour of damage you like to deal from the blunt force of a sledge hammer to the surgical strike of a rusty machete, you'll yield unique results. The hammer will break the bones of zombies, limiting use of the effected limb in really neat x-ray visuals. The machete will just remove the limbs entirely or even cut a zombie clean in half. From the look of it, artists have spent as much time designing the insides of a zombie as much the outside.
When it comes to running and jumping, everything has a flow and your character moves with a hustle as if their life depends on it. Whatever you want to climb, just point yourself in that direction and your character will do all the requisite reaching, hopping and shimmying.
One of my favourite gameplay philosophies in character progression for abilities and skills is when they are gained through action and not overthinking. It's more fun to gain experience at hacking and slashing by well... hacking and slashing instead of placing arbitrary points in some abstract ability slider. Dying Light has two character traits that you can level up, strength and agility--which given the hopeless brutal nature of the game world might as well be called fight or flight.
Hopefully this dying light will burn a bright flame on its scheduled release on Jan 27. Catch the zombie fever here at Shogun Gamer!
*if zombie fever doesn't subside in 4 hours, please see your nearest priest.