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Dying Light E3 Impressions

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Before E3 was over and done with, I had time to catch one more demo: Dying Light. Published by Warner Brothers games and being developed by Techland, the developers behind Dead Island, Dying Light is a mash-up of Left 4 Dead, Dead Island, and Mirror's Edge. Though extremely similar to it, this game is not "Dead Island 2". It's a completely fresh IP, and I think that may have been the right idea. If there's anything Techland needed, it was a fresh start.

Dying Light Parkour

The demo started out with our character looking on as supplies are dropped in the distance. A woman calls out over the radio, and berates him to go out and get the freshly dropped medical supplies. Women, am I right, fellas? Anyway, here is where we saw the bread and butter of the game: parkour. I'll be perfectly honest; I didn't like Dead Island. One of the things I hated the most was how clunky it felt, and this seems to have been fixed. The player can freely run and jump similar to Faith or Ezio. This makes the decision to fight or flight feasible, since both are pretty fun to do. One little thing I really liked was how the player had the option to quickly look back a la Silent Hill: Shattered Memories only now it slows down time, which is a neat effect, and means less running into walls. Getting from place to place actually looks enjoyable in and of itself, especially since it's in such a beautiful environment. Though many will draw comparisons to Banoi, I was told by one of the developers that this isn't taking place on an island. The combat looked very similar to Dead Island, but again, less clunky. Using some hard-hitting melee weapons, the player character is able to chop up the undead with some pretty satisfying and extremely visceral dismemberment. In addition to slicing and smashing, the player can also use charge attacks, and in case you were wondering, kicking still looks pretty OP.

Just short of finding the first batch of supplies (two care packages were dropped), the main character stops when he hears a girl's scream. I was told that this was a sort of dynamic event, and things like this would occur all over the game world. Once inside, our hero is bitten in the leg by a zombie, whom he promptly introduces to his boot. Heading upstairs, he finds a frightened little girl, who tells him to go away, saying "daddy will hurt you". That harrowing detour aside, the demo got back on track, but sadly our character was too late. Scavengers had already gotten to the supplies, and they had guns. A scene played out where the player character was told to leave at gunpoint, which is surprisingly nice behaviour in a zombie apocalypse. Having failed to procure the first shipment, our hero rushes to the second one, where we meet another breed of undead.

Dying Light Horde

A zombie quickly made a beeline for our character, but was stopped short by a quick kick. The zombie reeled back in pain, screaming. This was the "Infected", a recently turned who is still hostile, but not quite feral. They carry human emotions, which makes for some truly unsettling experiences. Earlier in the demo, we saw a brute zombie, which is exactly what he sounded like. In addition to these, there are one other type of zombie we were shown, and they're the most deadly of all.

The game features a day and night cycle, and you don't want to be out during the day. After sundown (in-game, this was about 21:00), the player's watch started beping, causing him to shout "I'm too late!" This brings to mind I am Legend starring Will Smith, where the infected become a greater threat at night. Grabbing This wasn't just a slight AI adjustment, however. The other zombies suddenly started to mutate, gaining better awareness and more tenacity. Of course, it's not just these zombies you have to worry about.

At night, the Volatile come out. These powerful enemies can kill the player in one-hit, so if you're spotted, you're going to have to run, and run fast. They are what really make the day/night cycle important, as they make your life hell. To avoid them, the developer had to engage in some light stealth, using his special ability that helped him sense the undead. These enemies actually felt frightening, which isn't saying much from a scaredy-cat like me, but I digress. Grabbing the medicine, our character made a run for it.

Dying Light Held Hostage

I'm hoping that what we saw here was a completely dynamic event, as this will certainly make for some enticing gameplay. The medicine is actually pretty important, because the player character is infected. Being forced to get medicine on a regular basis would heighten the tension quite a bit. No word yet as to whether or not the main character is actually Frank West.

Dying Light will release sometime next year for current and next-generation consoles.

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The poll was created at 06:29 on June 15, 2013, and so far 17 people voted.

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