Fifteen years since the outbreak in Harran, Dying Light 2 plunges players back into a gritty, post-apocalyptic world in turmoil. This time with a new setting, new protagonist, and more ways to play.
Make no mistake about it, Dying Light 2 isn’t just a cash-grab sequel hoping to go off of the success of the original game. Techland has taken everything fans loved about Dying Light, enhanced it, and built a vast new open-world for players to explore as they master their parkour and combat skills.
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I followed the story of Aiden, a pilgrim who has embarked on a mission to find his long lost sister, Mia, who is suspected to be somewhere in Villedor. A massive city that has become one of mankind’s final strongholds in the battle against the virus.
Although the state of the world is far worse than it was in the original Dying Light, Villedor is filled with people not just surviving, but actually living. The rooftops are home to various safe spaces as people make any attempt they can to have a normal life, whilst the streets below are ridden with infected.
But before I even made my way into the city, it quickly becomes apparent that the movement and parkour mechanics are identical to the original Dying Light. Players will have the option to upgrade their skills as they progress through the game, with the odd new mechanic thrown in here and there. But, ultimately, you’re going to feel right at home when you jump into Dying Light 2.
With that being said, the movement may feel similar, but the game’s combat mechanics have evolved to feel far superior to its predecessor. Players can now block and parry incoming attacks, as well as learn new skills, such as jumping over one enemy and dropkicking another in one fluid movement.
Techland has also made the choice to completely remove guns from Dying Light 2, which I personally feel is a good decision, but some fans may be disappointed by their absence. Not only does it add more of a challenge to the game, but also feels more realistic for a post-apocalyptic world set in 2036.
Techland has meticulously designed a detailed world filled with verticality for players to parkour from one destination to the next.
The world presented in Dying Light 2 is one of the many ways in which this sequel shines, every part of the map feels alive, whether that’s with survivors or the undead, you’ll always find something to do whilst exploring.
Not only is the map much larger in scale than Harran, but none of the buildings or structures felt as though they were a simple copy and paste. Techland has meticulously designed a detailed world filled with verticality for players to parkour from one destination to the next.
There were a few occasions in which I found myself having to climb down to the streets below to then climb up the side of another building, simply because there just wasn’t an easy route to the other side. But this only occurred a minimal number of times and was reduced as I progressed through the game, as you will eventually unlock ziplines and other forms of travel, such as the paraglider.
Not only is the world of Dying Light 2 far greater than its predecessor, but the writing is also certainly a step up too. Characters feel as if they have their own personalities and quirks, but are introduced to you far too frequently. Before you’ve had the opportunity to remember the name of a certain character, you’ve moved on to helping someone else, which often made the plot feel a little convoluted.
Although I enjoyed the clear intent to create a large open world filled with content and reasons to explore, the story failed to really grip me like it did in the original Dying Light. With so many characters being introduced, I simply couldn’t connect with any of them enough to care about their destiny.
At face value, Dying Light 2 may simply follow a pilgrim trying to find his sister, but at its core is a story about factions, war, and death. Along your journey, you’ll be tasked with deciding which faction to align more with, the survivors or the peacekeepers. Both of which promise to aid you in your mission to locate your sister, for a few favours in return, of course.
The two factions are polar opposites, with the peacekeepers wanting to take complete control over the city and enforce a government like authority to what was left of the world. Whilst the survivors are more focused on creating a sustainable environment for everyone to live in harmony.
Aligning with one faction more than the other comes in two different forms. The first comes via the game’s new dialogue options, which affect the choices and consequences throughout Aiden’s story.
Many of the dialogue options are ‘lore’ focused, giving you a better understanding of your objective and the characters you’ve met along the way, but some options are vital to the outcome of Aiden’s story and will completely alter the path you take. You’ll know which decisions are game-changing because a timer will appear with certain dialogue options, giving you the choice to direct the story one way or the other.
Alongside the dialogue options you choose, capturing water and electrical towers around the city also has an effect on the two groups. Climb to the top of a water tower and activate the main valve to restore running water to either the peacekeepers or the survivors. Once captured, you can adjust the city alignment system and gain different perks depending on your choice. This didn’t appear to affect the story progression, so if you just like the benefits of one group more than the other, it’s not worth overthinking your choice.
Dying Light 2: Stay Human is a sequel of epic proportions.
Capturing water and electrical towers are just some of the many side activities available in Dying Light 2. With such a vastly populated world to explore, it’s easy to get lost in side-quests and general exploration.
The real fun of Dying Light 2‘s exploration comes with the new day and night cycle features. Players now have much more of a reason to explore the city at night, instead of simply avoiding it like many were reportedly doing in the original game.
Players will now find ‘dark zones’ around the city, which are often inside buildings and act as a nest for the infected. During the day, the undead will take shelter inside these zones, meaning you probably want to avoid venturing inside until the sun goes down.
Once the night cycle begins, the infected will leave their nests and give players an opportunity to explore these areas. This doesn’t mean these buildings will be completely free of the undead, as some will still be lingering around inside.
It’s up to you how you approach the situation, either sneak past quietly without alerting the herd, or go in swinging and scoop up the best loot in the game inside. But, regardless of how you decide to tackle the dark zones, there’s an important new feature you need to be aware of when night arrives.
Your ‘immunity’ level plays a huge factor throughout the story of Dying Light 2, as Aiden finds himself constantly on the verge of turning into a monster after being bitten by an infected. This means you can’t stay in the darkness for too long, or you could risk turning.
Thankfully, there are multiple ways to combat this, such as standing under a UV light or consuming UV berries, both of which will increase the time you can be in the dark.
Although this might seem like more of an annoyance than anything else, it does feel as though it has been implemented just enough for you to have to strategise around it, whilst also not feeling like a constant factor to take into account at the same time.
The world of Dying Light 2 far greater than its predecessor.
There’s no doubt about it, Dying Light 2: Stay Human is a sequel of epic proportions. Everything fans loved about the original title is still very much present, but now with a bigger story, new features, and a vast open-world filled with areas to explore and loot.
If you enjoyed the original Dying Light, purchasing Dying Light 2: Stay Human should be a no brainer.