Zombies once again rear their rotten skulls, and Dying Light is just one of many action titles featuring the shuffling undead. It's a first person open-world game where you're free to roam around a ruined shantytown, rescuing survivors and completing various objectives, or simply running around slicing and dicing the brain-hungry monsters.
Let’s face it, this kind of thing has been done to death by the likes of Dead Island, Dead Rising and a bunch of other games with Dead in the title, but Dying Light tries to shake things up a bit by introducing a parkour-style bit of running and scrambling up buildings.
It’s a tricky thing to get right in a first-person adventure, but we found the simple controls were easy to learn and after just a few minutes we were bounding across rooftops, Mirrors Edge-style. Basically, as long as you’re running, you can tap another button to jump and grab onto any available ledges and pull yourself up, and you can tap another button to slide underneath objects.
This ability to zip around the world means zombies have no chance of catching you unless you run right into their clutches. It’s a shame that these are the slow, shuffling variety of brain munchers - it’d be truly terrifying racing away from 28 Days Later-style monsters, who are swift enough to keep right on your heels. As it is, our running and jumping hi-jinks were completely unnecessary. We found we could amble up to the zombies, put a boot in their face and then hack their heads right off with our machete with no trouble at all.
The crumbling shantyville of the demo reminded us a little of Resident Evil 5’s African setting, filled with dusty streets and tightly-packed houses that you can explore by either leaping in through a window or smashing down the door. One house we came across had a survivor trapped inside, trembling in his cupboard as a zombie rammed itself against the doors. We took care of the hungry blighter with a swipe of our blade, and the grateful man was saved. In the finished game you’ll have plenty of people to rescue, and there’ll also be a focus on survival, with you hunting the desolate world for supplies.
We spent the rest of our Dying Light demo time exploring, and hacking down swathes of enemies. Our favourite moment was when we came across a zombie conveniently positioned next to a random wall of spikes. We couldn’t resist creeping up, tapping him on the shoulder and kicking him straight into the spikes, complete with satisfying slushy ‘thunk’ sound effects. We only had a machete to wield, but we’re expecting a variety of weapons in the finished game.
Not once did any of the zombies get their rotten mitts on us, and we came away thinking that the difficulty level might be a tad on the easy side, but apparently things get very different at night. The zombies get more aggressive, and you’ll see all new enemies that are much more threatening. It’s a shame we didn’t have a chance to check out night time mode, but we’ll bring you a full review soon.
Dying Light system requirements
Dying Light was running on an Alienware PC, with specs comparable to the next-gen consoles. We were assured that Dying Light should also comfortably run on your average gaming PCs. For instance, Intel Core i3/i5/i7 PCs from a couple of years ago shouldn’t have any problem at all. The graphics were nice and crisp, with the zombies looking suitably rotten, but nothing to blow your mind.