Dying Light 2 E3 2018 Impressions

Dying Light 2, Techland’s upcoming zombie survival game with a newfound story focus was announced at this year’s E3 by none other than Chris Avellone, and after that, a number of media outlets got a chance to see a hands-off demo of the game and chat with its lead designer Tymon Smektała during a press event. You can check out their highly positive impressions below, praising both the game’s action sequences and its branching narrative.

PC Gamer is impressed with the game’s stunning setting:

In order to get to the water tower to speak with the smugglers, the character had to navigate a series of tense and deadly jumps inside the tower itself. It’s something that was in Dying Light, but with the added pressure of a stamina meter slowly ticking down as you read the environment and plot your next jump. When the player barely made it to safety after a series of wall runs and rope swings with only a sliver of stamina left, I caught myself holding my breath.

It’s these big expansions of Dying Light’s core systems that, when coupled with its vivid new look, make Dying Light 2 one of the coolest games I saw at E3. Smektala tells me that when the concept artists showed the team their first ideas for what a Modern Dark Age would look like, it “blew their minds.” There was a moment during the demo as the sun was setting behind the expanse of gothic architecture that gave me an inkling of that sensation. It was a scene that felt timeless.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun mentions the game’s co-op elements:

It sounds ambitious, all these interlocking factions. But it also sounds like a good excuse to have those “what did you do?” conversations with friends. Of course, you could just drop into your friend’s game, to see how their city is coming along. Up to four player co-op is possible, say the devs. Each player will retain their own version of the world, and you can enter your friend’s bandit-dominated cesspit, or invite them into your Peace Keeper “paradise”. In other words, someone will always act as host.

So far they seem to be ticking off every “could be improved” box from the first game. Another of the flaws of the first Dying Light was its overlong introduction. I ask Smektała if this is something they’ve tried to avoid in the sequel. Yes, they want to get to the fun parts a little faster, he says, but he also defends the need for at least some scene-setting.

“I think it’s quicker this time around, for sure, but I think a world like ours needs some introduction. We can’t just drop you in there and expect you to be able to survive and understand what is happening there, so there is a short introductory sequence where you learn who are and why you need to do whatever it is you need to do… Of course we don’t throw everything at you at the start of the game, but I think it will be quicker than the first game.”

GameSpot praises the game’s expansive open world:

Dying Light 2 looks to advance upon many of the core pillars of the original, while also adding in a surprisingly dense, and varied approach to its core story. While you can expect to find many of the pulse-pounding action sequences, and fast-paced traversal mechanics, there’s definitely a more thoughtful approach to how it asks players to tackle the story. With the game being four-times larger than the original, Dying Light 2 could be a major upgrade from the original, and that in itself is a major accomplishment.

Gamereactor mentions the game’s “Modern Dark Ages” setting:

“When people think of medieval times they think of things like intrigue, betrayal, infidelity, all of the things you see in say Game of Thrones,” lead designer Tymon Smektała told Gamereactor. “That’s the inspiration for the narrative, so in this game, you can be the Machiavelli of this world who tries to play with those people trying to feel in control and be the master of it and create the outcome in the end that he wants.”

This naturally forces some adjustments to how co-op works, and basically, any additional players will join the game world of the host, and they won’t affect choices and decisions made by the host. Story progression won’t carry over (naturally), even if some character progression will. In some ways, this is a disappointment, but on the other hand, it will also mean that playing co-op you will allow players to experience how the decisions of others have changed the city differently to yours.

And PCWorld seems genuinely excited about this upcoming game:

Of all the games at E3 2018, Dying Light 2 was probably my biggest surprise. I already knew I wanted to play Metro: Exodus and Cyberpunk 2077, but not only was I unaware Dying Light 2 was so imminent, I never expected Techland to invest so heavily in its writers. It’s a zombie game, after all. Kick the undead, chop off their heads. I probably would’ve played a sequel even if that were all we got.

To come out swinging instead with Dying Light 2, this enormous game with an equally ambitious story behind it? Wow.

And I’m excited to see where it takes us. “Decide the fate of a decaying metropolis.” That’s what Techland said during our demo, and there were even hints The City might not exist at the end if you make certain choices. Not too surprising after the bleak ending of The Following (play it if you haven’t), but grim in comparison to most games of this scope. Luck might not be enough this time

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Val Hull
Val Hull

Resident role-playing RPG game expert. Knows where trolls and paladins come from. You must fight for your right to gather your party before venturing forth.

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