I’ve had Dying Light since release when I received a digital code to review the game. That was a few weeks ago. I am progressing extremely slowly, but at this point I’ve seen enough of the game to write the review. However it comes with the caveat that I will not be assigning a score to the game, for two reasons: I haven’t completed the campaign or tried the multiplayer, and my problem with the game that has slowed my progression probably isn’t an issue for most gamers.
I play a lot of video games, and play a lot of first person games. Destiny immediately springs to mind as the most recent first person game that I’ve spent a lot of time with (over 800 hours). Typically I have no problems, and can play for hours at a time. However, when I play Dying Light I get a headache after about 20 to 30 minutes. If I continue trying to play once it starts, it just gets progressively worse. This has made the game an absolute chore for me to progress through, as I have to play for just a handful of minutes and then take a lengthy break, and play a few more.
This isn’t the first game that has caused this issue for me. However, the only other game that has ever consistently given me headaches so quickly is Techland’s other first person zombie game, Dead Island.
I’m not sure exactly what it is about the Techland zombie games that does this to me. For me, Dying Light feels off the same way Dead Island did. There’s something about the motion that just does a number on me.
It’s a real shame too, because from my time playing the game I know that Dying Light is fun. I like the world, the gameplay, and the day and night cycle. The parkour is fun too, although that certainly doesn’t help my issue with the motions. It has all the trappings of a game that I know I could spend many hours playing.
The story doesn’t appear to be anything special and I stopped caring about the dialogue early on since it was poorly written. But story is the least important thing for me in a video game, so that’s not really an issue.
Dying Light seemingly hits the right notes of open world gameplay with RPG and survival influences. I have enjoyed it as much as I possibly can knowing that I only have about 15 or so minutes each session. Unfortunately, a lot of the story quests seem to be fetch quests. These involve having to run to one place, then run far away to get something, and then return. That pretty much takes up an entire session for me.
I did a Google search for “Dying Light headache,” and there are other people who experience this same thing. It’s not widespread, so fortunately you probably won’t have any issues. If that’s the case for you, I’m glad. You get to fully experience a game that is definitely fun and one that I’d love to be able fully dive into and be able to spend a lot of time with (and I’m not even a fan of zombies).
I would like to be able to recommend the game, but I just haven’t been able to progress to a far enough point where I can comfortably do that. Ideally, I’d like to beat the game, but who knows how long that will end up taking me? What I can say though is, despite my limited window of time to play per session, I have enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s certainly much better than Dead Island was, from a purely gameplay perspective at least.
Techland has created a really strong zombie apocalypse world with a good looking city and some nice verticality. Just running around the city exploring is fun, and the game gets more at night and becomes more survival based. In some ways, the night setting reminded me of playing Dragon’s Dogma at night and what that entailed.
If you are a fan of the genre (and I guess technically genres since it is a mash up) and you like zombies, you’ll probably really enjoy Dying Light. A lot of you have probably already seen it through the campaign’s end. Hopefully you’re able to play it issue free so that you can get the most enjoyment possible out of it.
I can’t give a score. Maybe one of our other staff members can end up writing an official review at some point, or perhaps I’ll eventually be able to finish the game and write one myself. By that point though, I don’t think anyone would care. To be honest, few probably care at this point since we’re way late to the review party on this one.
All I can say is that despite my headache issues (motion sickness?), I have enjoyed playing it. Granted I’m moving at a snails pace and a few times have decided starting a mission just wasn’t worth it and instead ventured out to play in the city. Still, fun is being had and I guess that’s the most important thing.
* A copy of this game was provided for review.