New game features zombies and parkour

A combination of daring leaps, dangerous enemies, and compelling characters brings this title into the spotlight of zombie games.

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courtesy of Warner Bros.

Game cover image

Zombies are big, and videogames are certainly no exception when it comes to jumping on the undead bandwagon. Titles like Dead Island, The Walking Dead, and The Last of Us are stand-out games combining the gore and suspense of a zombie apocalypse with the challenging moral conflicts that the survivors must endure in these dilemmas. These games typically emphasize scavenging for resources and employing the environment to the survivors’ advantage. Dying Light, a highly-anticipated spiritual cousin to the Dead Island series, takes this template and morphs it into an enjoyable, interesting, and suspenseful thriller of a game.

As you progress through the various skillsets, you unlock potent moves and better athletic abilities, representing the growth and adaptability that comes with surviving in an epidemic.”

One of the main features of Dying Light is its freerunning system. Players can scale buildings and slums, trek through sewers, glide across planks, and climb telephone poles to traverse the map and escape enemies. While some may find the parkour to be a gimmick, it is actually a fresh mechanic to a zombie game, emphasizing escape and deception over all-out brawling; in fact, weapons in the game break easily, and zombies can quickly overrun you as you try to bash them to bits in the middle of a street.

Dying Light’s story at first looks melodramatic, but blossoms into a gripping tale of deception and horror as you witness and commit numerous atrocities towards your fellow humans. You play as Crane, an estranged operative sent into the quarantined city to retrieve a classified file stolen from your employers. The thief is now leading one of the two main factions scavenging for survival in the city. As you arrive, you are quickly outnumbered by looters and undead alike, and must form uneasy alliances in order to reestablish a foothold in the dying city.

At the core of the game lies adequate melee mechanics. Nothing to shake a stick at (har, har), but as you progress through the various skillsets, you unlock potent moves and better athletic abilities, representing the growth and adaptability that comes with surviving in an epidemic. Later in the game, firearms and potent machetes and swords are more abundant, allowing you to choose between holding your own against hordes of enemies or evading the action altogether, taking in the beautiful slums, skyscrapers, and sewers as you glide and tic-tac your way to safety.

At night, the zombies grow in strength and numbers, and potent resources such as UV lights or hand flares are treasures against the dark hordes. As daylight surfaces, the game’s dynamic weather and lighting beautifully transitions from darkness and despair to the typical rust and grime of the run-down slums and derelict museums.

Dying Light is an excellent zombie game for the beginning of the year, splicing several gameplay aspects of other triple A games and combining them in a way that feels fluid and entertaining instead of forced and repetitive, although smashing zombies over the head with a flaming sledgehammer is hard to make boring regardless. A surprisingly engaging and unpredictable story shines compared to the stereotypical plots of other games. Mechanics are polished and leave little margin for error, helping you eke out a name for yourself in the quarantined wasteland as a legendary zombie slayer.

4/5 stars.