Review: Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition (PS4)

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Title: Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (21 GB)
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Developer: Techland
Original MSRP: $59.99 (US), €59.99 (EU), £54.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 18
Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition is also available on Xbox One and PC.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Due to a continually busy schedule and limited funds I missed out on Dying Light when it came out at the beginning of last year. I had briefly played the aging Dead Island and liked the concept but that got lost in the infamous backlog many of us gamers endure. So when PS Nation got the opportunity to review Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition I jumped at the chance. It seems like a perfect time to experience Techland’s zombie filled world.

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Gameplay:
My review took longer than expected as this is an Enhanced Edition of the full game and all its DLC. On top of all that is the brand new expansion called The Following. The game suggests to have a survival rank of twelve before starting the new expansion. This took me over half a day to achieve and could have been less if I had not been Josh-ing the game.

I will only skim through my thoughts on the main game as we already have an excellent review of that here. Just remember there have been many upgrades to the game since that review which I’ll discuss a little later.

The original big selling point of Dying Light is the day and night cycle. Not only is it a stunning visual effect but it changes the gameplay enormously. By day most zombies are slow and weak and you can easily run circles around them and move freely around the city environment using your upgradable parkour skills. When night arrives things change and you have to avoid and quite often, run from fierce and terrifying zombies.

… a lot more human characters than I was expecting …
A decent story and numerous side quests lead to a variety of missions that kept me entertained. Finding new and more powerful weapons that I could also upgrade made killing zombies a pleasure. Watching the game briefly go into slow motion as I expertly sliced the head or limb off a zombie or unlucky enemy never got old. Then finding a bow and crafting some arrows mixed up the already fun action. I would have never thought killing zombies could be so much fun.

There are several types of zombie and a few survivors that you will have to kill or run from while you scavenge supplies, parts, weapons, and even the airdrops that fall in random locations around the map. At times you’ll stumble upon a random encounter or an abandoned safe zone that needs clearing and securing before you can make use of it. There are also a variety of cleverly disguised challenges including speed runs and rampages. Rest assured, you’ll never get bored or run out of things to do.

Around the fifteen hour mark in the main game, I felt ready to check out The Following expansion (accessible from the main menu) and noticed that it took my character and all of his attributes, weapons, and items over, making a separate save in the process. Now I can jump back and forth whenever I wish and keep the things I find, apart from my buggy, which remains in the countryside.

I struggled in the first few missions in this new area, in part because I came up against a lot more human characters than I was expecting, many of which were armed and not happy to see me. I was so used to fighting zombies with melee weapons and rarely used anything that made too much noise. After a few deaths I scampered back to the main game and bolstered up my weaponry with a few rifles and plenty of molotov’s.

… a graphical boost, many bug fixes and tweaks …
The countryside is much bigger than the city so the large open areas allow me to make a bit more noise, plus I can jump in my buggy and high-tail it outta there if things get too crazy. While I’m on the subject I should mention the biggest new component to the world of Dying Light, the aforementioned and rather awesome buggy.

Like everything you use in the game, the buggy needs to be repaired and parts degrade until they eventually break so you’ll need to learn how to craft replacements. You can also upgrade and install parts and components to make it more durable when you’re mowing down zombie herds or even to cause a nice distraction for the undead with a remote-controlled car alarm.

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Fuel is also something that you’ll need to scavenge for and siphon from the abandoned vehicles that litter winding country roads. Thankfully there are also a few gas stations around the gigantic map that also serve as a safe haven. Speaking of safety, you can also equip the buggy with an assortment of zombie killing and repelling devices. That speedy little vehicle really does become a necessity and it’s so easy to control.

This is probably a good time to mention some of the enhancements. The entire game has received a graphical boost, many bug fixes and tweaks, and the biggest addition is the Legendary rank. Once you max out a skill tree you begin to earn points toward a maximum rank of 250, and at many milestones you unlock upgrades and outfits.

Dying Light was already a big and entertaining game, but The Following expansion and the content from the Season Pass make this edition a gargantuan beast of a game. Even after spending days with it I have yet to see and experience it all.

PRO TIP
If you want to sneak around assassinating enemies, aim for the Takedown ability in the POWER skill tree, not only is it excellent for dispatching the heavily armed enemy, it’s also silent.

Visuals:
Chrome Engine 6, the proprietary game engine Techland built is a wonderful achievement. It easily displays chaos stricken urban areas and massive open countryside landscapes. In The Following we are treated to lush green fields, dense woodlands and stunning landscapes that make you almost want to stop your buggy and hop out to soak it all in.

There is a tiny amount of very occasional pop-in and a few instances of floating objects. It’s hardly noticeable though and in a world this big and so detailed I questioned if I should even mention it.

Everything has been given a bump in the visual department thanks to the Enhanced Edition and it all looks fantastic now, not that it wasn’t nice to look at before. This game really shows off the beauty that the PlayStation 4 can achieve with hardly any graphical issues and so many great little touches making it an almost continuous joy to behold.

Audio:
The Following is generally more peaceful, distant moans of subdued zombies could almost fool you into thinking they were the sounds of harmless cattle grazing, until you get up close that is. You still have the screen shaking loud supply planes flying overhead, hurling out precious cargo in the countryside but on a rare occasion you can get a moment of peaceful calm.

The sound of the buggy is excellent, just like everything else in the audio department, unless you listen through headphones. The immersive voices and noises that usually come through the DualShock speaker are excessively loud, but you can adjust the settings to normal levels so it isn’t a big problem. Again, I suggest you refer to the original review and know that Techland also improved a few things here as well.

Online/Multiplayer:
You can play with up to three online players or even hook up a LAN network and play with other people in the same room. The entire game can be played in co-op and it can be very entertaining. I had a couple of people join my game and we raced around in two buggies, it was all going so well, two of us kept lookout while another picked the lock of a police van, we finished off two missions and then it went wrong.

I had allowed others to use my buggy and in a frantic zombie slaying frenzy, two players fled in my ride. I managed to make my way through a field to the other player’s feeble and very basic buggy. My health was low and a few Volatile Zombies were in pursuit. Two jumped onto the buggy as it sped through some tall grass. Slamming through a fence shook them free and I set off for home and my gutless online buddies.

I strongly suggest playing the game for around five hours or more and then joining up with friends in a private game. Any earlier and you will struggle too much getting to grips with with the parkour controls and weapon crafting. All that is best learnt at your own pace.

… a pure refreshing delight …
It can be so much fun when you have people who communicate and listen instead of stealing your buggy and shooting a red oil drum when you’re standing next to it. Slicing and dicing zombies with friends never gets old and racing around the countryside is a blast with buddies too.

The game runs surprisingly well with a few online players and while there was some ghosting and one or two oddities it never became unplayable in the slightest. You can easily adjust the settings for online play or just turn it off completely if you wish.

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Conclusion:
Seasoned Dying Light players can instantly jump into the stunning and large new expanse The Following offers, anybody else should hold off until they have become fully equipped to fight well-armed human A.I. or like a challenge.

With loads of new content, better graphics, sounds, weapons, enemy behaviour, and anything else Techland could think of this Enhanced Edition of Dying Light is worth the price tag alone. Now throw in the excellent new gameplay mechanic of driving and The Following expansion is a pure refreshing delight.

The difficulty, or at least the freedom to approach difficult situations too early in the game, can lead to a few frustrating deaths and some may acquire a fear of the virtual dark. I urge you to push past the minor barriers you may face as one of the best games of last year just got a whole lot better.

The developers at Techland have outdone themselves once again. Even if you have grown weary of zombies everywhere you turn in the media, I know the Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition will grab you and sink its rotting teeth into your succulent flesh, and you’ll love every moment of it.

Score:
9.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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