Developed by:Techland Published by:Warner Bros. Interactive Genre(s):
  • FPS
  • Hack and Slash
  • Platform:
  • Microsoft
  • PC
  • Sony
  • Cost:$59.99 ESRB Rating:MATURE Players:1 (2-4 Online) Release date:January 27, 2015 Reviewed on:PC Expansion Release Date:February 9, 2016

    Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition

    It’s an odd thing reviewing an enhanced version of a game. Beyond certain examples (notably GTA V), most just offer better graphics, bug fixes, and previously released DLC. Nothing that would greatly change how I felt about the core game itself; the story and mechanics are the same as they were the first time around. That’s not the case with Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition though. Well…not exactly anyways.

    For those that aren’t aware, Dying Light: The Following isn’t just a better version of Dying Light. This is because Techland released it with The Following, a story-based expansion that brought significant changes to the core gameplay. The “Enhanced” part speaks to the multitude of updates and fixes that were implemented (which can be downloaded regardless of what version you have) and the extra DLC. What this means is that it’s actually worth discussing the ins and outs of what this new Dying Light is like for new and returning players alike.

    When discussing the game’s main campaign, everything is pretty much the same – most of my opinions from the previous review still stand. This includes Kyle Crane’s exploits around Harran, the excellent free running mechanics, an overly sensitive weapon damage system, and the entertaining cooperative play. Certain issues have been addressed here and there via patches. That said, the framerate problems still persist. The game handles large groups of zombies well but cutscenes still stutter about and getting grabbed slows the game to a crawl for a few seconds. This happens on high and low visual settings. Also, despite being rebalanced, the “Be The Zombie” mode still feels lopsided when playing as the zombie. Bottom line, the base game is still fun and the small improvements help to make it the better version. What’s really interesting though is The Following expansion.

    Picking up sometime after the events of the main campaign, our group of survivors rescuses an injured man from a pack of zombies. Upon bringing him to their camp, he reveals that there might be a cure to the plague. Apparently, a group of people living right outside of Harran have found a way to keep from turning even if bitten. The man also warns about someone called “the Mother” and that Kyle Crane should be careful. With things looking dire and the zombie virus taking its toll within the group, Crane has no choice but to find this so called cure or at least the people claiming to have it. I won’t go too deep into what happens next. Just know that overall mood changes from before. There is a bit of mystery this time around that allows for better storytelling.

    Crane’s journey takes him deep into the countryside. The tall buildings and city streets lined with corpses are gone. In their place are small villages and open fields lined bales of hay. The corpses are still there, walking and otherwise, but the landscape has obviously changed in a unique way. Visually, the countryside stands out; whether I was running through the tall grass or jumping off a cliff to escape the infected, it was hard not to notice how great everything looked. I’m not sure if the attention to detail was to offset the sear vastness of the open spaces, but it’s clear that Techland wanted to give gamers something worth gawking at. From a gameplay perspective, this new environment throws a monkey wrench into the normal mechanics. Fleeing from zombies can be rather difficult now. Because there aren’t many places/things to climb on (when outside of small towns) you’re forced to face the relentless infected if spotted. Even the shambling zombies are tough to get past from time to time as they tend to travel in large packs. Standing on top of an abandoned car and laying into a zombie while getting attacked from behind was a frequent occurrence. To be frank, I’ve never felt more vulnerable playing a game like this.

    Even though all of my unlocked skills carried over from the main campaign, getting from point A to point B is no free run in the park. This is where the new buggy comes in. An extension of Crane in all of the right ways – it even comes with its own skill tree – this vehicle turns the game on its head. Traveling around the countryside is great thanks to how well the buggy handles the curves and assorted bumps. And who doesn’t like to plow through a group of zombies at high speeds before heading to the next objective? Drive around enough and you’ll unlock armor upgrades and new skills, like being able to use UV lights at night to scare away the super strong Volatiles.

    Like your weapons, finding blueprints will allow you to craft new parts for the buggy. Also like your weapons, these parts will degrade over time requiring you to repair them. Forgoing frequent repairs will eventually decrease your vehicle’s velocity. I’d liken the impact of this speed impediment to stalling on train tracks just as the crossing gate’s arms are lowered. You know…if the train was a flesh eating train that kills its victims slowly. What’s worse is stopping completely because you’ve run out of gas. Keeping your buggy in working order with enough gas to make it back to a safe house takes precedence over rampant joy riding is what I’m getting at.

    Aside from the buggy and story elements, there are also new weapons with the most notable addition being the crossbow. Silently taking down zombies with headshots is as cool as a certain disheveled hero makes it look on TV. New activities have been peppered in as well. Pulling a concept from the Be a Zombie Mode, one activity has you destroying nests that spawn Volatiles. Doing so will reduce their population in that part of the map. Of course, this is easier said than done. In the day time, the nests are packed with Volatiles hiding from the sun’s rays. At night they are guarded by a large number of infected. Regardless of when you choose to approach this task, just know that going it alone is out of the question. Let my frequent deaths stand as a testament to that fact.

    So far so good right? We got new gameplay elements that breathe life back into the game. Cool additions in the form of buggies, blueprints, and crossbows. And a mysterious story that’s better than the previous campaign. While all that’s true, The Following does suffer from some nagging issues. One thing that bugged me was how the game loaded me back into the world after I’d die or started a new session. I would always respawn in the guard tower like structures that were placed all over the map. Often times, this wasn’t an issue as I’d be relatively near my current objective. To deal with this, I tried saving my game in safe houses. Still, when I loaded back up, I’d find myself in another guard tower. My buggy would be parked at the safe house though, forcing me to hike my way across the plains. Techland did add a recall option (summoning the vehicle to your location) in each safe house in an effort to make car retrieval painless. But if I’m miles away from the nearest safe house, that feature doesn’t help me.

    If it seems like I am nitpicking, consider the size of  the map. Walking to places just isn’t a viable option when the play area is the same size as all the previous maps combined. Actually, even when you do have your buggy, long drives aren’t always fun. Collapsed bridges, mountains and other obstacles impede traveling so much that driving back and forth across large sections can be a pain. I can understand the lack of a fast travel option in order to promote the use of the buggy as a prime new feature, but the expanded environment and frequent backtracking over long distances isn’t a good trade off.

    Dying Light: The Following isn’t stuck between being a great game and a mediocre one anymore. Though it still has lingering issues, the new elements provide a better experience than the previous version. The plot seems to be complete now that we know what happens after the main campaign, bug fixes are always welcomed, and the buggy is great. The map may be a little too big at times and the tower respawn system needs some tweaking though. While it isn’t a completely new game, it’s different enough to warrant a second purchase*. That goes double for newcomers!

    *You can purchase The Following expansion separate of the game if you already own Dying Light or got the season pass. All of the updates and balances are free; the only thing you’d miss is the previously released DLC (again, unless you got the pass). 



    All of the great gameplay elements from before, plus vehicular manslaughter…er, zombislaughter!



    The game looks better than before but the frame rate issues are ever present.



    Roger Craid Smith continues to voice Crane in convincing ways.

    Replay Value:


    There is a lot to do here, especially if this is your first time playing Dying Light.

    Final Score:


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