Previews

Go after that van — Dying Light 2 E3 preview

In 2015, Dying Light became one of my favorite games of that year, despite the fact that it came from a developer I knew little about up until that point, and it was a part of the zombie craze that had been pretty played out in the video games industry by that point. The incredible first-person parkour elements, combined with brutal survival mechanics that made staying out after dark a death sentence were unlike anything I’d ever seen in an open-world game. So it’s an understatement to say that I was excited to see what developer Techland had been cooking up since the announcement of Dying Light 2 last year.

The demo began when an ally to the protagonist, Aiden, was injured. The player is given the option to stay behind and care for his dying friend, or chase after the people responsible, who had fled in a van. Someone in the audience for the demo piped up “Go after that van!” and so we did. Climbing buildings, jumping over and sliding under obstacles, the presenters showed off the greatly improved parkour system in Dying Light 2, which allows you to feel like the ultimate apocalyptic badass. The presenters made a point to show that each and every obstacle has a way forward: boarded up doorways can be rammed through, narrow holes can be dived through, and large gaps can be cleared by utilizing the “long jump” ability and other tools, such as the grapple hook. You can even grab a zombie and jump off a cliff, using the infected’s body to soften your fall. After many trials and tribulations, we caught up with the van and jumped onto the hood as it passed by.

The next section showed off the stealth and combat of the game, which improves upon the gritty melee-focused gameplay in the first game. Enemies run at you, swinging their weapons in a wild frenzy, which you must deflect, dodge, and ultimately answer in kind. At one point in the demo, Aiden takes out a guy who has a gun, and uses it to blast a few enemies across the room, before using the blunt end of the weapon for melee combat.

And finally, the demo focused on decisions and consequences. By choosing to chase after the van early on in the demo, our friend was sacrificed, and we learned via radio that he had died of his injuries. Now, we were left with the decision to side with one group or another by either turning on the water in the city or not. The presenter chose to turn on the water, making permanent enemies with one faction within the game world, and in doing so the city was affected in a few hugely consequential ways. For one, a part of the city which had been submerged underwater up until this point was now drained and made traversable. In addition, sea creature zombies surfaced from this area, introducing mobs that wouldn’t otherwise appear in the game. Decisions like this one have massive consequences, and Techland promised that no single playthrough would ever see more than fifty percent of the game due to their binary nature.

In short, Dying Light 2 looks to have improved upon the first game in every conceivable way, and I couldn’t be more excited to play it when it makes its debut in early 2020. For more news on Dying Light 2 as it develops, keep reading Gaming Trend.

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