Dying Light: First Impressions


Dying Light

By: Jason Siu


5 min read

Home » Features » Dying Light: First Impressions
dying light review full cleared

We prefer to run an ad-free site, so this post may contain affiliate links. If you wish to support us and use these links to buy something, we may earn a commission. Learn more here.

For the past few days, the staff at Full Cleared has been taking a look at Techland’s new Dying Light, published by WB Games. Techland is the same company behind Dead Island, so it’s no surprise that Dying Light is a zombie-centric, survival game but that’s not to say the company doesn’t have a few new tricks up its sleeves. While we’re not entirely ready to write a full review on Dying Light given that we’ve only had a few days to enjoy it, we’re aware that many are waiting to hear first impressions on the game to get a better idea of what to expect if they decide to pull the trigger.

It’s worth noting that we’ll be going through the Dying Light campaign cooperatively, so that we can get a sense of what it’s like to share the experience with a few friends. So read on below to see what our initial impressions are.

Considering Dying Light comes from the same creators of Dead Island, it’s natural that the games share similarities, namely the first-person combat and crafting system (as well as those zombies). What it does differently is add the element of parkour, allowing players to maneuver around the beautiful environment by climbing onto various ledges and scaling large towers. And what a beautiful environment it is, as sometimes we find ourselves just looking out at the scenery and admiring the attention to detail that Techland put into the game. We’re reviewing the PC version of Dying Light and it takes a real good rig in order to play the game smoothly. On an i5-2500 with a GTX 680 playing on a 30-inch monitor at 2560 x 1600 resolution, there are numerous times where the game’s frame rate significantly drops even with the graphics settings on low. It deters from the gameplay somewhat, especially when the slowdown occurs while zombies are swarming you, so it’s worth mentioning that if you plan on putting the game on max, you better have the computer to support it. All that aside, Dying Light is a gorgeous game from its characters to its lighting and really sets the tone as you find yourself adventuring in Harran.

dying light review full cleared

The lighting and environments in Dying Light ranges from majestic to creepy

For those that have played Dead Island, you’ll be comfortable with Dying Light’s stamina system that limits you from straight bashing up zombies in the head with no remorse. If you aren’t familiar with the system, Dying Light basically prohibits you from spamming your attack without thinking twice. With each swing, your stamina bar decreases and if you run out, your attacks become horrendously slow. You can however, kick as much as you’d like as a way of defending yourself while the stamina bar recharges. As for weapons, each weapon has a limited number of times it can be repaired before breaking permanently, but you are able to breakdown weapons for Metal Parts, which can be used to repair other weapons. It’s an interesting system, especially when you unlock the ability to add upgrades to weapons forcing you to think carefully on which weapons you’re willing to invest materials into, knowing that they can break permanently in the long run.

We’ll go more in depth about Dying Light’s combat system in our full review, but so far it feels solid and is deliberately designed so that it’s a challenge and you really have to decide whether you want to run or stay and fight it out. Your character himself can be upgraded as you level up each category: Survivor Rank, Agility Level and Power Level. Survivor Rank unlocks new skills that will help you survive while Agility unlocks new and better ways to navigate Harran. Lastly, Power helps improve your combat skills so you can put up more of a fight as the zombies get stronger through the story. Earning experience in each category is as easy as simply playing the game. Run across the environment and scaling walls will earn you experience towards improving your Agility Level while the more you fight, the more experience you get to improve your Power Level.

dying light review full cleared

You’ll be able to improve your character as you play and level up

Nighttime in Dying Light is when things get really interesting. Zombies swarm out in hordes and are much faster than they are during the daytime, but as an incentive for playing during the night, your character will get double the Agility and Power experience. And you’ll want to play at night if you truly want to enjoy what Dying Light has to offer, because it’s some of the most intense and stressful gaming you’ll experience in a zombie survival game, especially in multiplayer. Speaking of multiplayer, there are several features we are absolutely fond of that makes the game quite co-op friendly. While simply going through the campaign, you’ll run into situations where you can setup a competition against your friends ranging from looting the highest value of items to killing the most zombies or even racing to the quest destination. It really is a great system that adds an additional dimension to the game when playing online and nothing is better than setting off firecrackers by a friend’s feet to lure zombies over to them as you’re racing to scale a tower.

Each player gets their own individual loot, which means when you find a weapon you don’t need, you can give it to a friend. There’s also a very handy fast travelling system that allows companions to quick travel to the destination if one person makes it there before the others. It’s especially nice for those playing with people that might not be great at the parkour, allowing them to simply wait for someone else to make it to the destination instead of getting frustrated with the game. While we’re not deep into the campaign just yet, we’re confident in saying that if you’ve got a few friends that you enjoy adventuring with, Dying Light has a great co-op foundation and that’s not even including the “Be the Zombie” mode.

dying light review full cleared

Competitions in Dying Light are really fun if you’ve got the friends to do them with

There’s plenty more to explore in Dying Light and our initial impressions are extremely positive, especially for those able to experience the game cooperatively. Admittedly, if you’re looking for a gripping story with memorable characters like something you’d find from Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead or even The Last of Us, Dying Light lacks a bit in that department. The voice acting is fine, but the writing is average at best and tragically predictable, while none of the characters manage to escape from cliches typical to the genre. Dying Light follows the formula of dropping the player into the role of a character with a mysterious mission that is constantly reminded just how important their task is. It’ll do its best to tug at your heart and make you feel like you have to make some tough decisions, but so far, there’s no actual decision-making going on. Perhaps that’ll change as we get further into the story and you can look forward to our full review of Dying Light to come next week.

Dying Light is currently available on the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Like our content?

Subscribe to our newsletter and get video game news, features, and deals straight to your inbox.

This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links. Subscribing to the newsletter indicates your consent to our Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe from the newsletter at any time.

With over 20 years of online publishing experience, Jason Siu is currently the Content Director at VerticalScope and used to spend most of his time writing about cars. His work can be seen on websites such as AutoGuide, EV Pulse, FlatSixes, Tire Authority, and more. As the former co-founder of Tunerzine.com and West Coast Editor of Modified Magazine, he has also authored two books for CarTech Books. In his spare time, he founded FullCleared to indulge in his passion for writing about games. Although Jason is a variety gamer, he generally prefers RPGs.

Latest News