Hands-on with Dying Light: The Following from Gamescom 2015
Techland woos all with this bloody love letter to Dying Light fans
I was extremely lucky to get a chance to play the new Dying Light expansion, The Following, at Gamescom 2015. But I count myself even more fortunate to get the chance to sit down and have a long talk with the producer of the game, Techland's Tymon Smektala. While the interview will be shared later this weekend, I'd like to first share my first impressions of the very awesome co-op gameplay I was able to enjoy while visiting the Techland's booth at Gamescom this year.
Upon arriving, we were escorted into an enclosed area full of beautiful computer hardware, including headsets to help us communicate as we played, gaming keyboards and mice, and Microsoft Xbox 360 gamepads. While my experience with Dying Light has been exclusively on the PS4, the controls were no less reactive or difficult using this controller. Given the amount of movement and precision, I felt more comfortable with a gamepad, though I'm fully aware aiming would be incredibly easier with a mouse to aid. Sitting down, we were told a bit about the game. There is, as ever, a lot of parkour action in this game, but with a lot more open area than in the main game. We also found out that this expansion will offer nearly as much area as the two maps in the entire main game combined. We also knew we would be seeing vehicles and firearms, but had no idea how they would work.
The game started off with us in a cave at the end of our civilization leading into this vast wilderness beyond the walls of Harran in a hazardous outback. We know there is a local cult that seems to be immune to the disease that has infected much of the world, and Kyle Crane must gain their trust by completing several missions they find worthy of their cause to find out more. Perhaps they aren't immune? Perhaps they have a cure? Perhaps something else is keeping it at bay? We immediately get to use our parkour skills to navigate the cavern as we wander further in and higher. Upon reaching the other side of the cave, we see exactly the world we are going to experience. F**king beautiful, open, bright. It's an absolutely gorgeous vista and one would completely feel free if we knew hundreds and thousands of infected didnt exist here. One hopes they support Oculus Rift or Project Morpheus. We exit the cave to a cliff top that views this beautiful, wide expanse. Using parkour skills this high up is definitely unnerving and a fear of heights definitely kicks in to some degree. Leaping wide gaps and praying for the best is all we could do as we progressed cliff side to spire. We shimmy across a cliff face to the other side, wishing to climb down, but seemingly only ever going up. After crossing a fallen tree and ending at an apparent dead end, I look down and see the most welcoming clear blue water I've ever seen. I dive. Hundreds of feet later I make splash down and swim to the edge of the water. Under the water is just as beautiful as above it. Blue and clear, full of amazing details from plant and fish life.
From there my co-op partner and I make our way further in to find a vehicle that should be waiting for us. Along the way we see colorful flags that lead us to drawings on stone of a goddess or some holy woman that the locals seem to worship. We believe this woman is the key to discovering their secrets, but we must work a good deal to gain their trust before we are able to do that. We are forced to tend to a couple of zombies by hacking them to pieces before moving further on. Further on into an open area, we see open farmland full of infected and discover our vehicle has been stolen. We are forced to explore further on foot. Considering the sheer size of the farm and the amount of infected, we choose to run to the farmhouses and not fight them off. Along the way we see more color flags and dead infected full of arrows. Exploring the farmhouse we find usual tools and crafting items, but upstairs we find what most Dying Light fans have asked for: The crossbow. We equip it and hop out on to a balcony. Here we experience one of the first really fun co-op challenges that we can expect from The Following. We race to see who can get three headshots on infected first. Having defeated the other journalist 3 to 1, I'm confident that the gaming controls in this game are great.
From the farmhouse we make our way across a field with many infected and get attacked. After wrestling my way loose, I climb anelevated pipe to keep above the crowd of infected. Running across and falling down due to panic, I stay on the ground and run like mad use my parkour skills to get out of danger and to a rail line. I enter an open train car and fine military equipment, most notably an SMG. We follow a path to a forest to where we believe some bandits are located that might have stolen our vehicles. We find two bandits huddling over another shrine and quickly take advantage of the element of surprise and our new SMGs. We loot them and move further to a large complex and ascend a watch tower that has a zipline at the top. I cross the walls of the complex using the zipline and end up in a large barn full of bandits and infected. Between the two my co-op partner ended up needing to save me before I died, but we got through it and cleared the area. We then got to the moment we'd been waiting for. Vehicles.
We spy a few small rally style buggies and hop in. What happens next is pure bliss. I fire off in my buggy and pain the roads and grass red as I zoom towards someone calling for help in the distance. There is no trouble whatsoever controlling the vehicles, and there are green markers along the way to help guide players to their destination. There was no shortage of infected to clear, nor beautiful landscape to cover. I covered farmland, broke through fences, jumped ramps over fire, and destroying everything along the way. I splashed through streams, dived under bridges, and flew over the land until I arrive to a village where hell broke loose. Fire and infected everywhere, I ran through them all until I reached an open area full of infected around a bus full of survivors. Here we see two very large infected attempting to crack the bus open along with the rest of the infected and get to those within. I take a final leap from a ramp into the crowd using my incredibly fast vehicle.
That's where they left us. On a massively cliffhanger that has me holding on for a solid release date. The only thing I can say is I didn't experience a dull moment in this playthrough and I look forward to getting more hands on with The Following. Players are guaranteedto experience what they love about the undead genre and more with new beautiful environments and expanded inventory of weapons and vehicles. I look forward to the co-op challenges and craftable items that will be available to us, not to mention getting to see what hell I can raise in vehicles that are a joy to use.
The expansion is free for season pass holders or $15.00 for those that don't have the season pass. While I can't confirm a release date, the producer of the game assured me that we wouldn't have to wait long. Look for Dying Light: The Following to expand on your Dying Light system of choice soon.
Please check back later this weekend to see my interview with Techland producer, Tymon Smektala, and get to know their driving force being this expansion, what players can expect from the game and more!