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Dying Light lives on with The Following
Mar 2, 2016
By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada
If you think 2015's vastly underrated Dying Light was some kind of fluke by developer Techland, think again. One year after that game's release, the company has come out with a massive expansion called Dying Light: The Following, and it's as utterly thrilling and wholly addicting as its predecessor.
The zombie-infested Dying Light seemed like a random mish-mash of grisly first-person melee combat and frantic parkour action, but there was clearly a lot of thought put into how the game worked, and it all came together wonderfully. The Following relies on a lot of those same mechanics, but changes things up just enough to make this well worth the purchase, regardless of whether or not you played the original game.
The Following takes place shortly after the events of Dying Light, with protagonist Kyle Crane investigating a mysterious cult that lives in the countryside outside of the populated areas of the fictional city of Harran. Members of this cult supposedly have the ability to somehow control the virus that was the focus of the original game. It's up to Crane, then, to find out what he can while allies back in Harran continue to work on a cure for the virus.
The first thing you're bound to notice about The Following is that it's huge - developers say its map is double the size of the original game's two main areas. While the environments are far from barren, there's still a lot more open space than the original game's Slums and Old Town, so what to do, then? Add a buggy of course.
That's right - a land vehicle has been added to the game, and while I would have never guessed that would fit into the Dying Light world, it actually works quite well - after a couple of hours, that is.
The buggy is almost a game unto itself. It can be repaired and upgraded, and has a skill tree all its own. It's also a bit jarring when you first start driving it and getting used to not leaping across buildings or flying from place to place with your zipline. I was also a little frustrated that there's no third-person view while inside the vehicle.
That said, once you understand how the vehicle handles and how best to traverse the landscape, it's a lot of fun as you plow through fields full of zombies and fly off massive cliffs. It's also frustrating - and all too easy sometimes - getting stuck on giant boulders or submerging it in a river, but luckily it can be respawned at any of the numerous safe zones found throughout the countryside.
While I enjoyed the story in The Following and learning more about the cult and what its "powers" actually were, it really won't eat up a lot of time finishing the main campaign. It's a good thing, then, that there are so many side missions to take on. You'll be taken all over the countryside as you finish these secondary quests, and the new bounties that have been added make for another layer of content that completionists will welcome.
I also really enjoyed The Following's nods to last year's Dying Light, especially with a few returning characters that will break up the game's seriousness.
Speaking of which, The Following is just as terrifying as its predecessor. The day/night cycle returns, and with so much open space in between safe zones, getting chased at night by the relentless Volatiles is even scarier.
Any deaths by the hands/mouths of those enemies (and there were a lot of them) I could always understand, but I did find the difficulty of The Following to be a tad punishing on normal. My nearly maxed-out character was getting beaten down by overpowered enemies too often it seemed, and it made it nearly impossible to reach the final few survivor levels.
For those who disagree, The Following includes a new Nightmare mode that is sure to test the mettle of even the most seasoned Dying Light veterans. In this mode, changes include nights that last longer and enemies that are even tougher.
There are numerous other additions in The Following that will have players dedicating dozens upon dozens of hours to their Dying Light play time. The new crossbow in particular is a ton of fun, and the Legendary skill tree helps even the score against the tougher enemies.
The Following isn't quite as good as the original Dying Light, but it comes darn close, which is a feat unto itself. This is without a doubt one of the most well-rounded and well-thought out DLC packages to come out in years, and could easily be its own game. I hesitate to even call it an expansion, to be honest.
If you're still holding out on the Dying Light experience, you shouldn't wait any longer - with the main game and the DLC, you have yourself hundreds of hours of zombie slaying fun. And with Techland going on record saying it plans on supporting the game even further in 2016, now is as good a time as any to pick up a machete and get hacking.
Dying Light: The Following
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