Impressions

Preview | Dying Light 2: Stay Human

PARKOUR

Dying Light 2 is the long-awaited and delayed sequel to 2015’s original. Thanks to Techland I’ve played nearly 10 hours of it so far and this will be a spoiler-free preview of my initial impressions. The first word that comes to mind for me with this game is “better”. Every single aspect of it is improved over the original, which I loved to play but it had some real rough spots. Let’s go over just what has me so impressed thus far.

A Step Above

The main takeaway for me early on is just how good the movement in this game feels. In the first game, you had to level your character up quite a bit before they felt nimble enough to dance around the city’s rooftops like a spider monkey. Dying Light 2 smartly changes this up by allowing you far better-feeling parkour movement right off the bat, and the initial upgrades I’ve unlocked have added on to a great system instead of having to build it piece by piece. Combat wise things are pretty similar though there as well you immediately feel more capable than you did early on in the first game.

There is a light leveling system that covers multiple aspects of your character, though getting into full detail would be spoiler territory. The 3 main ones are your overall level, which goes up very slowly and is tied to the gear and weapon systems, the remaining two are for your parkour skills and combat abilities which level at a decent pace. There are also ways to upgrade your health and stamina as well but that is consumable based instead of an experience system.

Solid Graphics & Almost Solid Audio

The game also offers up three graphical modes which should be familiar to most: Resolution, Quality, and Performance. The PC version does offer Ray-Tracing but that is seemingly unavailable on consoles *Correction, Ray-tracing is available using Quality mode though it’s not reflections* . The game looks quite pretty at times and a bit ugly at others. This is a very large game world, and I found myself marveling at the scope of it far more than any individual bit of graphical tech. Character models can look quite good though, especially for the main ones and the enemies are appropriately horrific for both humans and monsters alike. The gore system is still here, and you’ll be chopping off limbs left and right with heads flying all over the place if you have a strong enough weapon.

The music of the game is varied and well made. It can feel a bit out of place at times with how serious everything is but it’s never bad. I’ve found myself sitting around and listening to it quite a bit in fact, and it is of consistently high quality. Voice acting on the other hand is much spottier. The main character, Aiden, is extremely well done as are many of the game’s bigger characters. Almost every smaller/side character is really cheesy though. The game features what might be one of the worst Southern US accents I’ve ever heard, and it makes taking the well-written story as serious as I’d like to at times.

An Intriguing Tale

That story is pretty basic at the start. Aiden is a “pilgrim”, one of the few who travels the country for various reasons. I won’t get into spoiler territory, but I will say that the current day stuff is working a lot better for me than some of the more dream sequence like flashbacks. Overall I’m interested in where this story is going and the side content while a bit cookie-cutter in nature has been rewarding enough that I’ve done quite a bit of it.

This really is an enormous game. That 500 hours to 100% the map tweet feels legit after my time here, but don’t let that put you off as you can always mainline the story whenever you choose which should supposedly cut that down to 20 or so hours if you want. Individual lines of dialogue are skippable during the in-game cutscenes which is always a plus if you’re a quick reader. The game has already teased massive story changing decisions that the player will make on occasion and I’m just about to reach one of them. I look forward to seeing how my choices will stack up in comparison to others over the coming weeks and just how much it does or does not matter.

Wrapping Things Up

I am a huge fan of the first game, but it had serious issues with its writing and character work. This one is a big step up, though there are still some things that are holding it back from greatness at the start. We’ll have a review up on February 2nd at 10 am Eastern US where I’ll be able to give my final impressions though, so keep an eye on our site for that. As far as my overall first impression for Dying Light 2 goes, I am mighty impressed by its incredible parkour-based movement, solid action, and intriguing plot.

Jesse 'Doncabesa' Norris

Proud father of two, lucky to have a wife far too good for me. I write a ton of reviews, am a host on the You Had Me At Halo podcast, and help fill out anywhere I can for our site.

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