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Release date: 04. February 2022
USK: Released from 18 years
Platforms: PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X
Almost 4 years ago, the zombie game "Dying Light 2 Stay Human" was announced at Microsoft’s E3 conference. Since then, however, a lot has happened, both in the world and in the development of the game. The zombie hunt is released much later than planned and the question arises: Did the additional time do the game any good or are there other problems in the development process?? I have taken the game to the chest and tell you why a few things bother me in this work particularly.
The world is on the brink. Many years have passed since Part 1, and the virus dominates events on Earth. In contrast to Corona, however, the world in Dying Light 2 has been hit much worse again. Zombies are everywhere and there are only a few safe places where the last survivors are hiding out. In between there are only the pilgrims. Loners who are rather ostracized in society. They do not join any grouping and live alone in the midst of omnipresent danger. One of them is Aiden. He is also a so-called pilgrim and keeps himself alive with what he finds in the ruins of the former world. But one circumstance in particular plagues him: his missing sister Mia. He gets a hint that this could be in the city of Villedor, or at least there seem to be people there who might know about it. Villedor, or simply "The City", is one of the last great bastions of humanity. But also here zombies rage and there are only a few safe shelters. But Aiden is finally surrounded by zombies around the clock, so a city tour makes no difference anymore.
The world as we know it already no longer exists here.
Between the fronts
But the journey turns out to be more dangerous than expected. Aiden gets infected by an undead on the way. However, together with a stranger, whose motives for helping seem noble, they manage to escape from the zombie hordes. Henceforth Aiden fights not only against zombies on the way to his goal, but also against his body. Only UV radiation seems to be a sure cure for the infection. In daylight the sun is of course UV source number 1, but at night it turns out to be a bit more difficult. To make matters worse, Aiden quickly becomes embroiled in an intra-city conflict. The Peacekeeper, which sees itself as the new military, seals itself off with all force against the undead. For it also times unconventional measures are no obstacle. On the other hand, there are the "survivors", who live in much poorer conditions and despise the militant appearance of the Peacekeepers, and in parts also want to fight them. But here too some people resort to immoral measures. Moreover, deceit and crime destroy much trust between the citizens of the bazaar they have built for themselves as a shelter. And Aiden of course in the middle of it all.
In Dying Light 2 there are the "survivors" and the militant Peacekeepers.
Zombie meets RPG
You quickly notice that the world of Dying Light 2 is exciting, but also just as tense. In addition to Aiden’s own goal, there are also many things happening to his left and right that he can (partly) disregard or even turn to his advantage. The story is enormously driving and exciting. The game doesn’t just take its time to embellish the story and fill it with intrigue, twists and power struggles. Aiden himself also becomes more and more approachable for us players from game hour to game hour. For when the collapse occurred years ago, he was part of an experiment, as was his missing sister. In flashbacks his past is reappraised and we get an insight into his emotional world. But also the atrocities of the scientists gnaw at his psyche even today. So it’s not only the search for Mia that keeps him busy, because he also wants to come to terms with their common past. All of this is wonderfully packaged and motivates throughout. This is also due to the dialogs. These are not only well written, they also provide a lot of exciting information about the people in this world, so that they don’t remain just impersonal NPS’s. This also makes the world and the characters that fill it feel really believable. I am not only confronted with personal fates, I also get insight into the behavior of the different characters. Here is truly offered more than the so often used black and white scheme.
The many decisions have small to very large effects.
Who owns the world
Decisions play an important role in Dying Light 2. For Aiden can not escape the inner conflicts of the city and must always make the choice between A or B. A "good" or "bad" often does not exist however. In a side quest, for example, I would have to choose between 2 people who were in conflict with each other. Both have done morally questionable things and I now have to position myself and decide who is most to blame for a little town intrigue. Every choice has pros and cons for me. Also larger circumstances put me again and again on difficult choices. For example, there is a water shortage and I set out to reactivate the water tower. But the water I can either direct to the survivors or to the peacekeepers.
This is one of several big decisions that in the overall context determine who rules the city. Villedor is divided into several territories. If I work together with the Peacekeepers, they will own more and more districts over time. For this I have a bad standing with the survivors, but in return the peacekeepers build zombie traps and other facilities that help me in the fight. On the other hand, the survivors would help me to expand the city with parkour elements, which in turn helps me enormously with climbing and movement. But I can also make sure that the territorial balance is about the same. Here Techland really offers freedom to transfer my own style of play. In addition, depending on the path I take, some quests are only unlocked through this or not at all. A second playthrough can thus lead to a completely new game experience again.
Which faction do you grant control of the city to??
A large climbing park
Those who have already played the first game will also quickly get along in Dying Light 2. We are offered an open city to run, jump, climb and sneak through. In Mirror’s Edge style, Aiden can jump over roofs, climb up roof edges and leap over surrounding objects. This creates a very fluid and nimble movement pattern without sacrificing handling. It is a lot of fun to steer your character through the world even for several hours. Of course, Aiden is not a superhuman either. A fall from too great a depth can lead to damage or even death. Also the stamina is not infinitely high, but after a few seconds rest the bar is fortunately filled up again.
This keeps the game in a good flow and doesn’t take me out of the action for too long. Only the health does not regenerate automatically. But this is less important in the parkour, but in the fights. Villedor is teeming with the undead. These are usually not a big challenge, but in the masses the zombie slaughter becomes much more dramatic. Here I have to watch out from all sides for approaching enemies, but also for my health and endurance. When I swing my weapons around, the latter empties and you have to catch your breath for a few seconds before you can hit the shuffling dead again. A level and health indicator above the enemies tells us how strong our opponent is and how much damage we were able to inflict on him.
Not always you can climb so pleasantly by ladder.
This is how Dying Light 2 works
With the shoulder button I can use one of my melee weapons and damage the enemies. Attacks I can either dodge or I can block them. Well, at least most of the time. There are also power attacks that have a lot of force and can only be stopped by evasive maneuvers. But such an action, as well as the block, profit from the right timing. At the perfect moment they stagger our enemies. But this tactical variant is especially important against human opponents. Because while the undead stumble more or less elegantly towards me, the living humans approach the battles a bit more tactically. Especially then I enjoyed the fights, because against the zombies it sometimes felt more like "fighting through". But also the people of the decayed have some aces up their sleeves.
There are a few special types, which stand out because of their special abilities. However, these play a rather subordinate role in the daytime. Only at night the zombie hunt becomes really wild. The zombies here are not only basically faster, we also meet the mentioned special zombies. The Howler, for example, as the name suggests, makes a lot of noise and draws all attention to us. It does not take long until the lively pack then blows to the attack. Still other zombies are particularly fast, scramble along walls and perform jump attacks. Another creature can also perform ranged attacks by hurling some kind of yellow, aggressive acid at us. And so day and night have their very own dangers, which make the game experience very refreshing. At night there is also the lack of the UV radiation mentioned at the beginning, which prevents Aiden from the virus breaking through in him. So you always have to look out for UV lamps or forage the beautiful, glowing UV mushrooms.
In the dark you can sneak up on the undead especially well.
Don’t make a sound
So attracting all attention at night doesn’t always make sense. Therefore there is also the possibility to act silently. If you stalk ahead crouched, you create less noise and the undead are thus less easily aware of you. With the right stick I can also activate the survival sense. With its help I locate objects, but also enemies in the vicinity. So I can move forward in the dark without getting caught. Dark places can also be found during the day. In some houses or caves you will find sleeping zombies. Well, let’s say rather half asleep. Because they do not have too deep dreams and also react sensitively to noises. Sneaking and survival sense are again the solution.
There are also hiding places under tables or behind shelves, where we are "relatively" safe from the stray creatures, as long as we keep quiet. But I can also sneak up behind an enemy and take him down with a stealth kill. This is an excellent contrast to the otherwise fast-paced gameplay, where we maneuver through the world with nimble movements. Thumbs up! In the main missions, these sections still play relatively linear, but in the free exploration, we really have all the options open to us. I can sneak around zombies, I can fight them, but I can also take completely different paths. Dying Light 2 is full of options, both in story and gameplay.
Dying Light 2 has some quite nicely written side quests.
An open world with 500 hours of gameplay (fun)?
The open world is basically built according to the checklist principle. Lookout towers to conquer, which are just called windmills here: Check. Infiltrate bandit camps: Check. Free survivors: Check. Conquer settlements: Check. Complete side quests: Check. Rarely find items: Check. Yes, it does not sound innovative. By the way, it is not. The activities in Dying Light 2 resemble almost all Ubisoft games and also other open world games. But still I feel comfortable in this world and here I like to spend my time. The activities are very 08/15, but they are fun, mostly at least. Techland promised us 500 hours of gameplay to really complete all the activities. Yes, you can actually do that, but playing for 500 hours does not mean having 500 hours of fun.
At the latest when I have climbed 6 or 7 windmills, this strand doesn’t appeal to me anymore. At the latest, when the tenth time someone screams for help from afar, because he is surrounded by three bandits tied up and after the rescue either hands me nothing and only moderately useful loot, I also pay little attention to the whole thing. Quality> Quantity, dear developers. Why not let out some creative? Instead of the umpteenth rescue mission, I would be happy if the game surprised me. A story behind the tied up person I can pursue? Or how about a feint, a disguised capture of a settler, which turns out to be a trap to ambush me? This is better. But the side quests are more successful.
Some doors and chests can only be opened with crafting skills.
Authentic game world?
Relatively at the beginning of the game Carlos, an inventor, wants to impress his mentor. He thinks a fence that could be electrified to protect the cattle is a brilliant idea. I help the crazy geezer, but of course the experiment goes wrong. The goat to be protected is accidentally electrocuted during the experiment. His even crazier mentor is nevertheless excited, as he sees it as a breakthrough for defense technology. Such small, funny stories await you as well as intrigues, quarrels and power struggles within the city. So, even though the main quests are so exciting, it’s fun to take a look at the side quests. Because they are quite varied and nicely written. They also let me feel the world even closer and really experience the problems people face.
Unfortunately, Dying Light 2 doesn’t go far enough though. For example, the water shortage is often thematized. People are tense about it and arguments ensue. Food is also scarce. This also tempts characters to sell stretched flour, for example. I do experience this issue within these quests, but not based on the gameplay. Aiden never needs water and never food. The world constantly suggests and confronts me with a struggle for survival, but fails to make me feel it in the game. Where, if not here, some survival would have done really well. I know not everyone likes it, but at least an optional activation of such parameters would have pleased me.
There used to be some experiments with humans.
When I’m not tracking down conspiracies, fighting through hordes of enemies or jumping from roof to roof, I’m especially busy with my equipment. Because there is loot at every corner. The undead mostly have uninteresting things with them though. It looks just as lousy in many already completely looted houses or cars. However, there are so called booty sources where you can find much more exciting things. These can be abandoned stores, which serve as a sleeping place for the undead during the day. But also various caves hold some small treasure. These can be weapons, with which I can equip Aiden. But also various pieces of equipment I find there. In addition, there are also crafting parts everywhere, with which I can in turn create other items. With the appropriate blueprint, I can craft medicine, throwing knives or lock picks, which I can use to open locked chests or doors, for example.
Fortunately there is no maximum weight here, so I don’t have to juggle my inventory around much. Some interesting objects can also be purchased for a few coins from merchants. Craft masters, on the other hand, can modify existing weapons. Modifications can also be found in the game world and are a powerful tool to make weapons even stronger. A plumber’s hammer is nice, but a plumber’s hammer with a fire modification that inflicts fire damage on enemies is even nicer. Unfortunately, the durability is limited and you also have no way to repair the weapons. So you are forced again and again to keep your eyes open for loot. Sure, you’re more likely to find better weapons this way, but I would have liked to see more focus on weapons you’ve already found through a repair option.
With the appropriate skills you can survive such a fall without any problems.
Variety thanks to clever leveling-up mechanics
Okay, the story keeps you on the edge of your seat, the world in large parts too. But does this also apply to the gameplay? This is of course varied thanks to parkour and combat, but after you have mastered this, it needs spice here as well. Fortunately, Dying Light 2 has a recipe for that as well. You switch through missions, as well as the free exploration, experience points. But these are divided into EP for battle points and once for parkour points. If you have collected enough of it, you get a point in the respective skill tree, which you can and should use. Combat points expand your attack abilities and bring even more variety into the game. A jump kick, a power attack, a whirl attack, the ability to deflect projectiles or even multiple shots for the bow you can get later on. The developer studio didn’t just make it into "attack 1 point stronger. The skills constantly expand the gameplay in a meaningful way, so that even in the long run no boredom arises. But also the parkour points bring momentum into the game.
Wallruns, slides, fast climbing and safe landings from enormous heights round off our city trip and also invite you to try out the new abilities again and again. Health and endurance can be extended by means of so-called inhibitors. These are well hidden everywhere in Ding Light 2, but are enormously valuable. Especially the endurance is not to be underestimated, because some climbing passages require a long breath. The higher their levels, the more immunity Aiden collects and the longer our main character can stay in the dark without his infection throwing a spanner in the works. And here again, the bloated scope of the game is noticeable. A whole 126 inhibitors are distributed in the world. If you want to have them all, you will be busy for a long time. But you can still ignore the sheer endless collecting.
With time you unlock new abilities and skills.
Once please on the lifting platform to the technology check
On the Series X, Dying Light 2 presents itself in graphically different modes. While it’s common to choose between high resolution or a better frame rate, the game comes with a third mode. The Zombie Game also has a mode where the level of detail is particularly high and also benefits from ray tracing. For testing purposes, of course, I did a lot of switching back and forth between the three modes, but the results left me unsatisfied. At maximum resolution, the image is of course crisp, but still seemed softer than other games at 4K resolution. But the picture is very jerky and doesn’t fit at all to the mostly fast gameplay. Here a reasonable motion blur technique would have certainly helped. The same goes for the mode with a high level of detail. The vegetation is even more lush and textures a bit more embellished. The difference is already clearly visible. Disadvantage: In addition to the likewise low frame rate, the picture looks much softer. Probably the studio has resorted to a dynamic resolution. But the performance mode brings the longed for high frame rate. And it is really bitterly necessary. Dying Light 2 plays much more pleasantly with 60 FPS. But I’m not completely happy here either. Although the image is fluid, the picture is enormously blurred, which suggests an enormously throttled resolution. Still, that’s not surprising, after all Techland already published the PC requirements, which turned out to be enormously high. I hope that some optimization will be done here in the aftermath, because so the technical state is a problem, BUT…
In general, Dying Light 2 is really nice to look at.
… It looks so good!
There is an obvious reason why Dying Light 2 is so demanding. The game is really pretty! In addition, at least on Next Gen and PC, you don’t have to deal with (almost) anything at all. The city is enormously detailed and filled with numerous characters and zombies, so you can guess why the system requirements are so high. Here and there you’ll find textures that look a bit out of date, but that’s nothing that can’t be improved. On the whole, it makes a great visual impression and the world lives from its level of detail. Only the trees seem rather oversaturated in color. But well, that’s complaining on a high level. As for the characters themselves, Dying Light 2 has light and shadow.
The characters, which are elementary for the story, look nicely worked out and have also been given detailed faces. On the other hand, I keep encountering clone bandits and clone zombies, which seem to come off the assembly line in large numbers. A little more variation would be nice. The animations are okay, but tend to look a bit wooden in large parts. But this is also criticism, which doesn’t really make the game look worse overall. A small special praise for the sound design. This is enormously well done and especially the background music contributes great to the mood and has a real recognition value. Important info by the way for us in Germany: Unfortunately we don’t get an Uncut version. This means that you can’t attack neutral NPC’s in the USK variant. In addition, human opponents can’t be decapitated either.
- The effects of your decisions have a big impact on whole regions of the city
- On your way to becoming a person of great power, all paths are open to you
- Host your own games or join other players and find out how your choices affected their world
- Play the entire campaign with up to four players in co-op
- Pre-order now and get the "Reload" DLC with outfit "Reload", weapon skin "Reload" and paraglider skin "Reload
*Advertisement: The Amazon links are so-called affiliate links. If you click on such an affiliate link and make a purchase via this link, the editors will receive a commission from the online store or provider in question. For you the price does not change.
It has rarely been so difficult for me not to give the award. Because basically Techland delivers the formula for a squeaky clean hit. Dying Light 2 presents a thrilling story that always keeps the tension high. In addition, Techland also knows how to give the characters a face and especially main character Aiden becomes even more multilayered through the flashbacks. The decision-making power, which in part also has great gameplay influence, can also keep up with other heavyweights in the genre. In addition, the side quests know how to entertain and offer exciting stories to explore alongside the great main story. The zombie game is also convincing from a gameplay point of view. Aiden can be navigated smoothly through the city and you always have full control, even if it’s fast-paced times. The different game mechanics in the day -and night change, coupled with the stealth passages, make this game the hoped-for hit. Why is there no award then? The activities in the open world are often too generic apart from the side quests and leave me with the feeling that for all in the world you could also say: "Here you can spend 500 game hours.". It doesn’t really need that. I would have much rather liked optional survival features, which would have fit so wonderfully into this world. The themes of water and food scarcity, which the story repeatedly confronts us with, are simply missing from the game. On the technical side, I’m also bothered by the washed-out look, especially in performance mode. At least I can console myself with the fact that DL2 is just really pretty. So all in all we get a "very good" overall package. Our coveted award is still lacking a certain finishing touch.