Dying Light 2 Stay Human is the first new game I played this 2022, and it’s a great start. Though I did not play the first Dying Light game, I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing this sequel. The developer, Techland, has really done well in making this game and it feels like a complete package. This is especially pleasant considering the many disappointing games in the last half-year.
I spent 30 hours playing, though most of it was tackling the main story. However, the feature-rich map and side quests made it difficult to keep on track, in a good way. It offers compelling open world gameplay that can keep you wanting to continue going for more hours.
The game is feature-rich and keeps adding more aspects to the game as you. Even after hours into the game’s story, they provide you a paraglider for another means of travel. I cant help but feel that a lot of open world games today owe a lot to Breath of the Wild. Its undeniable how much a simple paraglider can change the way you play a game.
The world is well designed and crafted as many of the views from atop the building safe havens are a sight to behold. Be it during the day or night. While the map is not huge, it is big enough and filled with many side activities, challenges, side quests. It’s handled really well and doesn’t litter the map with annoying icons.
Your player rank and progression revolves around your Parkour and Combat skills. You gain experience and levels for these as you complete story missions, side quests, and other activities. As you gain enough experience, you are awarded a skill point for the corresponding skill tree. You will also start finding inhibitors which will allow you to upgrade your HP and Stamina. These then allow you to unlock more advances skills. As your rank goes up, you will also find weapons, gear and items to match.
Starting with the parkour, it is absolutely fantastic in this game. Not only is it because of the movement, it is also because of the great map design. Once you get a good momentum going, it feels great just running from building to building. The buildings themselves can feel like puzzles that are designed to be solved in different ways, all while still allowing the player to move swiftly through them with ease.
Though, it may feel bit finicky in the beginning, but it just keeps getting better the more upgrades you get. These upgrades can range from faster climbing, long jumps and more. There are even skills that let you jump off enemies and survive falls from higher elevations.
After a few skill unlocks, I felt that if they had just made this Aiden’s default movement, you may see less people complain about it. It feels like they designed the movement around a fully skilled character. Then, started taking out chunks for the sake of creating a sense of progression.
As for its combat, it is visceral and feels very satisfying. The action of chaining light and heavy hits, while knowing when to parry and dodge has a surprising amount of depth. You unlock more combat skills as you progress, with my favorite being the drop kick, as it would let me launch enemies off roofs. It kept me laughing.
Stealth can also play a key factor when trying to explore building interiors full of infected. Other times, it would be for liberating fortifications from the enemy Renegades. However, I would always prefer to just go in “guns blazing”. Though because of lore reasons, there are no guns in the game. Your ranged weaponry are usually throwing knives, bows and crossbows.
Day and Night
The marriage of these two systems is what makes the gameplay loop so very engaging and addictive. Game play can change in an instant, depending on the time of day. One of the reasons for this is that you are infected early in the story. As such, to prevent yourself from turning, you have to keep track of your immunity to the infection. To keep it in check, you have to be in sunlight or a nearby UV source. This makes it dangerous to explore at night.
However, you are incentivized to do so since many indoor areas that reward a lot of loot are crowded with infected during the day. Your best option is to explore them during the night when most of them are out in the open. This makes exploring indoor areas easier. To make matters even worse, during the night, if special infected called howlers spot you, they will start chases. This is similar to a “wanted” level as seen in other open world games such as GTA. As the chase level increases, the number and strength of the infected that chase you will increase. So, not only are you on the clock, but you must also look out for the impending danger.
Standard Post-Apocalypstic Story
The story, it is average at best and feels like everyone keeps wanting to betray one another. As Aiden, you are thrust into the city of Villedor in search his sister, Mia. Then you end up stuck between two factions, Survivors and Peacekeepers, as tensions between them escalate. If you’ve consumed any other type of zombie media before, you’ll probably see some plot twists a mile away. Though, there are some points in the story wherein your decision may affect the mission such as when you choose a faction to side with. It still seems to converge back into the same main story while still reflecting these decisions in some aspect.
There are some characters that you can either like or hate, which is good for making them believable. An example is Barney; I just want to kill the guy and I feel that he is written to be hated. There are times when you can tell the difference in the amount of care they put into a character’s facial animation. Even if they may be key NPCs you’ll be interacting with a lot, they can sometimes look stiff.
Gear and Crafting
Inventory management is simple and doesn’t get in the way too much. As you explore, you still find loot such as weapons, gear and crafting materials. You do have to be sure to sell items, as you wont be able to pick up weapons or gear if your inventory is full. Your weapons will mostly consist of one-hand or two-handed weapons. As you collect materials, you can use these to craft consumable items. These can range from healing items to explosives.
You can mod your weapons to give it an extra bit of power and flair. There are mods that allow you to light enemies on fire, electrify people, cause bleed and such. As for items and consumables, you can upgrade these at merchants to make them more potent or give additional benefits. These can range from increasing a healing item’s potency or a lockpick’s durability. Though honestly, I didn’t really upgrade anything till later in the game. If anything, upgrading the paraglider was the best thing.
All Players Required (Co-Op)
This is a phrase you will encounter consistently if you will try out the Co-Op aspect of the Dying Light 2. Many of the triggers for events or story missions will require all players to interact with an object/person. This can be a bit frustrating, as per experience, while 3 of us were waiting to start a story, the last player was 20 meters away fooling around. Although the host can force all players to teleport to their location, I feel it might have been better to just automatically start when majority or the host wishes to proceed.
Running around with your friends is a lot of fun though. Sometimes, even a simple race across the roof tops to see who can reach the target destination first is the most enjoyable thing to do.
Story progression is only saved for the host. Other players joining the session can only give suggestions in dialogue choices. This is how I was able to see the differences in story based on these decisions. Though the items you loot and inhibitors collected are kept. Looting is also not a problem since it is instance-based and each player has their own respective loot.
This is also where I encountered most of the game’s bugs, and it would usually affect the host player. It ranged from NPC character animations not playing during cutscenes, to enemy pop in and event triggers not starting. While most of these are small issues, the only time we had a hard crash was when triggering a remote car bomb. Even though someone else triggered it, this caused half the people in the co-op session to hard crash, while the other two disconnected.
Dying Light 2 Stay Human Final Verdict – 8.5/10
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Dying Light 2 Stay Human. The compelling gameplay loop of parkour and combat. The change in atmosphere from day and night. It is a game that can still be enjoyed even after the story, which is the weakest part, is finished. Though there are a few bugs that occur in Co-op, it doesn’t harm the overall experience too much.
This review was made using a game code for PC provided by the publisher.