First Impressions: Dying Light by Techland

What do you get when you take the parkour-like elements of Mirror’s Edge but place them in the middle of a zombie apocalypse? That’s almost what you get from an upcoming game called Dying Light, developed by Techland and published by Warner Bros. Interactive. I had the opportunity to go hands-on with a preview build of this game at PAX and, I have to say, I’m still feeling a little anxious.

When I talked to some of my colleagues about the game after we all played it, they likened it to Left 4 Dead, but there doesn’t appear to be much of a team-based element here. It’s arguably a lot more like Dead Island in many regards. The goal isn’t really to kill all the zombies; it’s mostly to just to avoid them and to survive the night. And that’s one element that helps to separate this game from all the other zombie games that have flooded the marketplace.

The zombies, I guess you could say, have an almost vampire-like quality to them. During the day, they are your usual slow and lumbering kind of undead. They’re still dangerous, to be sure, but it’s not terribly difficult to avoid them. When night falls, though, they literally become an entirely different kind of beast. They become far faster and far more aggressive. As I was running around trying to set off traps for them, I ran into dead ends and bad turns. The parkour elements come in handy as you can literally jump up onto cars and platforms to get away.

It’s freeing, but it’s also terrifying. If you start running, you can even jump up and over the hordes of zombies themselves. The developer sitting next to me during the demo reminded me to keep moving. If you stay in one place for more than a few seconds, you will get bit. Getting free of the bite requires mashing on the X button, which isn’t terribly creative but it does give a sense of urgency.

First Impressions: Dying Light by Techland

You do get a sense of having an open world, as you’re free to explore the maps as you see fit, including climbing up onto buildings and running through the brush, but the gameplay also felt very linear as I had a set series of objectives to complete. This may change as we get closer to launch, but based on what I saw, Dying Light could be one killer zombie survival game.


Look for it to launch on PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 and PS4 some time next year. And in case you missed it, be sure to watch the PAX Prime 2013 video coverage we posted last week too.

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