June 25, 2019 by Paul Curtin
As the spiritual successor to Dead Island, Techland’s 2015 open-world zombie game, Dying Light, was better in every way. To this day, Dying Light still ranks in Steam’s top 50 most played games on PC due to some of the best drop-in-drop-out co-op of any online game.
Now, with no major updates on Deep Silver’s Dead Island 2 since E3 2014, Techland is back with the official sequel to Dying Light that takes place several years after the events of the first game.
In our behind-closed-doors look at this year’s E3, the developers explained that things have only gotten worse for people in the city of Harran. Even Dying Light 2‘s new lead protagonist, Aiden Caldwell, is infected.
Featuring improved visuals, new zombies, more weapons, and twice as many parkour moves than the original game (you can now tackle zombies off buildings and use them to break your fall!), Dying Light 2 looks to be everything fans of the series have been wanting for years.
But what truly sets Dying Light 2 apart from 2015’s surprise hit are the new changes being made to the story and how choices made by the player will directly impact the game’s huge map.
In this year’s gameplay demo, we saw an exhilarating first-person chase sequence and impressive boss fight with a giant electric hammer-wielding foe. After that, Aiden was left with a moral dilemma which would have huge consequences for the player.
Aiden’s original main objective involved speaking with the leader of a rival faction, the Renegades, to try and negotiate a deal to supply water to his own camp who were a day away from going dry.
However, the choice wasn’t so easy once the persuasive Colonel (leader of the Renegades) explained that we were being played and how turning on the pumps at his plant wouldn’t actually supply fresh water to the people of Harran.
Techland’s preview ended with Aiden choosing to ignore the Colonel, who turned out to be telling the truth; and with the water now gone around his large fortress, the Colonel and his allies were left open to ground attacks by invading enemy factions and zombies.
But it wasn’t just one character and a single building that were impacted by the player’s choice. With the water now lowered, an entire new area of the map was revealed — something that wouldn’t be accessible to the player if Aiden were to have decided to listen to the Colonel and not release the water.
One very interesting thing we learned during a Q&A with the developers was how choices like this will also impact co-op when online with three other players. With thousands of choices, each player’s version of Harran will be different. And best of all, since new missions will be available in co-op, players will also able to acquire and bring back new weapons and items into their own game that they wouldn’t have been able to obtain in their own campaign.
As we mentioned in our original review, the seamless co-op in the original Dying Light felt ahead of its time. And now, Techland is once again bringing more revolutionary “next-gen” features to their highly anticipated sequel that we wish we saw more often in other triple-A open-world games. If that weren’t enough, Techland teased that they still have even more “game-changing” announcements for the online mode that they’re waiting to reveal as the game gets closer to release.
Dying Light 2 was one of the most impressive games we saw at E3 2019 and we can’t wait to jump back in online when the game launches on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in early 2020.