While I sadly haven’t played Dying Light before (shame on me, but time is hard to find for a family man/working joe/journalist-on-the-side) I did recall enjoying Dead Island a lot and DL is just that but with parcour. A LOT of parcour!
Dying Light Bad Blood
Developer Techland was so nice to let me playtest Dying Light Bad Blood first, together with about 23 other journalists. We were shown a brief video on the gameplay mechanics and were then left to fight for our survival in two LAN-battles of 12 people each.
In stark contrast to Dying Light 2, this is a multiplayer only title trying to feed on the Battle Royale hype that has been all the rage lately. They dubbed their version of it “Brutal Royale” in the presentation. You get dropped without weapons, scavenge for melee or ranged weapons (but mostly melee, as that’s what the title is known for) and whatever other items and weapon buffs you can find.
The goal is to be the first to collect enough hives to earn a spot on an evacuation chopper, they’re usually surrounded by AI controlled zombies and the bigger the hive, the bigger the surrounding crowd tends to be. Luckily you get rewarded in a health boost and a damage boost as well, so your main goal should always be collecting these. Avoid the big ones at first, level up or get better equipment first.
Of course, you’re not running around in this world alone; the other 11 players are doing the same and they will not miss the opportunity to come after you. Killing another player rewards you with their collected hives, so there is never a clear winner until the very end. Having collected enough hives isn’t a guaranteed victory either: you still have to make it to the chopper’s landing zone and remain there until it arrives, making you the biggest target on the map.
It’s a nice system and allows for a lot of different ways to win, if you’re the type to prefer to face the AI enemies and avoid the other humans when possible; that’s a perfectly acceptible playstyle and knowing how to use the parcour techniques in your advantage will go a long way.
I even got lucky and ended up placing 3rd in my first attempt:
Can’t wait to try it yourself? You won’t have to wait long as it’ll be out in early access in September!
Dying Light 2
While we didn’t get to play DL2 ourselves, we did see an off-hand gameplay demo to show us what we could expect when the title hits. Right off the (bloodied) bat, the developers promised us a world that is at least 4 times larger than the previous game.
Another promise that was made, and this was the highlight of the entire presentation for me, was how the player is given choices that affect the narrative, but also the gameplay and other important elements. Let me walk you through what was shown to me:
You come across an abandoned pool, three factions are each interested in it for different reasons: the Peacekeepers want to make it a training ground and if you side with them, they’ll even have arena fights there and winning in them will make you a mark as the “champion to beat” out in the streets. But you do get to earn a lot of cash through these battles.
Siding with the Scavengers on the other hand will lead to the pool being used to make fuel. In turn, this will lead to vehicles being out on the streets and because they want to drive these around, the Scavengers also rebuild bridges to previously locked areas. Just consider that those bridges may have been destroyed for a reason however, who knows what’s at the other end.
The last group would then prefer to use the pool for plantations. They’ll make drugs you can use to boost your abilities, but your enemies can benefit from the same bonuses.
We then got to the real gameplay demo where a water tower had been taken over by two shady characters. The Peacekeepers want you to go and take it back from “Jack & Joe” and if you do so, it alters the game significantly as weeks later, the entire area will be under Peacekeeper control and they will be handing out water to other humans and yourself. Certain regions will have benefited from this while others will have been taken over by other groups.
it also changes how you play the game: those water fountains are now back up and running and provide locations for you to recover health. Near the water tower they will have built scaffolding and other useful means of traversal that makes going up the building a breeze.
If you chose to strike a deal with Jack and Joe instead though, they will remain in control of that region’s water, making it a highly valued commodity and people will stand in line to get a sip. In return for your leniency, you’ll get a nice cut of the profits.
As a player, I’m always impressed by these branching narratives and it makes me curious just how different a second playthrough will be. As a completionist it makes me nervous as I know it’ll be impossible to see and do everything in a first run.
I’m pretty excited about Dying Light 2 AND Bad Blood after seeing it in action and getting some personal hands-on with the latter. I really can’t wait to get my hands on the final products!