Dying Light: Hands on PAX 2013

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Dying Light is the upcoming zombie survival action game published by Warner Brothers and developed by Techland, the studio that brought you Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide. At PAX Prime this last weekend I was able to get a hands on with both the day and night sections of Dying Light.

The day section was available to the public, but the night section was only playable behind closed doors (well not literally closed). For the most part both sections played the same with one big difference being that at night the zombies became more aggressive and agile. At night even the rooftops were not safe, with zombies having more speed and the ability to climb.

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Both sections had you running around a small section of the city which was walled up with laser fences keeping you from exploring the city at hand. What the demo is really designed to show off is the free running action that Techland is introducing to the genre. Running and sliding around the roof tops and streets is easily done with R1 for running-jumping-climbing and circle for sliding. L1 is used for kicking back zombies and to drop kick if you’re in the midst of a jump. R2 controls your primary attack of fists, an axe, and a sledge hammer for this demo. You can change weapons with the directional pad, while L2 is used for secondary weapons such as throwing knives or firecrackers (during the night demo that would distract the zombies). Don’t worry though you can swap the triggers to the proper PlayStation play style if you so choose.

While making your way around and completing tasks, it’s easy to climb and jump with the tap of a button. I found myself staying to the rooftops and only hitting the streets when no other option was available or to test out what the axe and sledge hammer had to offer. Tapping R2 would allow a quick attack while holding would create a bigger hit. I preferred kicking back the zombies and hitting with a quick attack and dismembering the head from the body as long as my aiming was just right.

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The highlight of the demo was while running back to base camp and blasting through a hallway, a zombie broke through the door way right in front of me. I instantly hit the kick button, but must have been slightly in the air since I was able to pull off a drop kick, and after staggering back to my feet was able to get back to base camp completing the mission.

Visually the game looked fantastic on the PlayStation 4 and with what looks to be a new take on the zombie genre allowing you more freedom of movement and tactics. Techland hopefully has more than enough time to fulfill its vision for the game. Dying Light has a 2014 release window for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

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  • Joey McPherson

    When i first seen the trailer i was SUPER excited, but when i seen the gameplay video i was disappointed. It’s nothing but Dead Island with somewhat free running. Seeing it’s the creators of Dead Island, they’re not doing anything different from what they already did. and that is counting their trailers, they always have AMAZING trailers for their games. but never live up to the trailers. which makes me think they should just make movies or something

    • Jahonius

      I know, right? I was excited about Dead Island, but then when I got to play it, i felt nauseated (not because of the gore, but the camera swaying) not to mention terrible scripting and one too many unnecessary cussing.