[REVIEW] Dying Light 2 – Big, boring, and pretty braindead

In case you’ve been put on life support until Dying Light 2 finally dropped, welcome back to the land of the living. It’s 2022 by now and after billions and billions of delays, it’s finally here. And you should be happy that it got delayed countless times #sarcasm. Because now they were able to release a wonderful product without any bugs or glitches whatsoever #more sarcasm. I was totally hyped for this one, and Patrick couldn’t even touch it because it’s fuckin’ mine! Luckily he’s a good sport and let me have it with a sinister smile. And what to do when some creepy dude smiles at you? Hit ’em with a stick! Your faithful friend Cas is here to give you the unasked opinion of the general public.. Yes, I consider myself the general public. And to stay in the style of the game, it got delayed (multiple times).

To be honest, I played Dying Light 2 on a PS5 and after the release day patch, I did not experience any of the reported misfires this game threw at many of the audience. Reports about PC gamers experiencing glitches are aplenty. From missing textures to falling through the roof of a building while parkouring. I am starting to believe the developer’s comment at the first delay, stating the game did not meet their expectations. If it was any worse than this, it must have been virtually unplayable.

So yes, I made a smarter move by playing it on the PS5 which seems to run more stable. And by smart move, I mean lucky guess. The draw distance and the details for trees and objects further away have been taken to current-gen specs and are absolutely mindblowing. And believe me, you want to look far away because textures up-close look wonky as shit! The grass textures look worse than most open-world games do on ps4. So how did you not upgrade that in the first delay, guys?

Get closer to the zombies and they are also lacking some 2022 textures. I guess next to parasitic brain disfunction and the decay of one’s flesh, this virus also causes square pixels. Overall, the NPC’s look good, and the animations were straight-up, complimented by great voice acting (this is a good thing).

The gameplay has also been overhauled since the last installment. It looks decent and feels even better. After you get used to the button layout, it plays really well. Me and my buddy played this game on release day holding a beer yelling “parkour!” at any given opportunity! All while splitting open some skulls, chopping off an arm and a leg, you know… good times, Yes… good times… during your straight-up awesomeness in parkouring you get to slay zombies in between free runs. They are virtually everywhere.

Do this enough and you will rank up XP in either Parkour skills or fighting skills. The two skill trees seem a tad on the low side so there’s not a whole lot of depth into character building. On the other hand, this will give you the chance to focus on two main things: killin’ and hoppin’. Add another chillin’ to the mix and that makes it a perfect Friday night in my playbook.

The killin’ of the undead is not really hard. They come in different shapes and sizes but lack.. a brain! For reals! It is uncanny how low the AI is when it comes to the zombies in Dying light 2. It is my personal belief that the zombies in the first game were smarter. Even the big ones – which should be harder to kill – are very easy to predict, dodge, and therefore kill.

Killing is done by hitting people and/or zombies with weapons. These weapons are found everywhere in the world, are lootable, and are rewarded for completing missions. Some are awesome, others are plain shovels. While crafting and modifying are a big part of survival in this game, I did not find an option to craft weapons or repair them. So don’t get to attached to your lil’ war ax or medieval sword, because they have a tendency to break.

The depth of the gameplay comes from the fact Aiden himself is infected with the virus that causes people to start rotting and smelling funky. All while not being able to resist the urges of the flesh, if you can call eating each other an urge of the flesh? In able to make sure the virus doesn’t take over his brain, and not rip the clothes of any other unspecified gender to do very un-sex-related things to said person, he needs to stay UV-rayed. At night a UV light does the trick. During daylight, that big glowing orb called the sun does. You can also find and eat some kind of shrooms, or craft asthma inhalers of these shrooms to prolong your time out of the sun. This gives all missions a more time-based character. Because of the timer, sneaking slowly is not always your best option anymore.

Honestly, I did not get to the part where you drive through the wasteland yet. This is due to the fact that in every mission, you have to walk from one end to the other and back. This becomes repetitive really fast, just like the lines the infected and the NPC’s yell out at you. Of course, making you run up and down the city is one way to fill the promised 500 hours. The city layout is good and the map is vast, so going up and down left and right is to be considered a massive pain in the b-hole. In the words of famous Dutch comedian Hans Teeuwen: “Ja, daar kom ik godverdomme net vandaan man!”(That’s where I just fucking came from!) is something I yelled in abundance.

One thing worth mentioning is the choices you make to influence the story: it does not add up all that much. You just play along with the story and if you get to one location or the other without giving any idea of consequences, they throw a split-second decision your way. Mostly these decisions are to either help out an NPC or not. Without spoiling anything, it does not affect the story that much. You either help one or the other faction and cause NPC’s to die or go homeless and you will reach your goal. And since the NPC’s are not all very likable, you get a good chance of hitting them where it hurts. And I don’t mean the beanbag Just be patient for a hundred hours or so.

Long story short, Dying Light 2 is a bit of a disappointment. Sure, it’s big and tall and chockful of undead dickweeds, but it just doesn’t live up to the created expectation. Zombies seem to lack any form of intelligence and foliage any form of detail. Therefore, combat is just meh. If you’re in it for the parkouring, there are 500 hours of fun waiting for you. But if you are in it for visceral zombie slaying and a hefty challenge while doing so, you might want to reconsider. The “shit, I’m becoming a zombie if I don’t hurry up” mechanism is a clever addition, but not one that kept me from going semi-braindead myself.

Semi-braindead on arrival
The Fresh
It looks great from a distance
NPCs well modeled and voiced
Decent gameplay, where daylight is a mechanic
Sex jokes write themselves, trust me
The Decayed
Can quickly become repetitive (500 hours of walking...)
Doesn't look that great up close (grass ain't square)
Zombies lack any intelligence (BRAAAAAAAINZ)
Hardly innovative (apart from the "I'm becoming a zombie" thing)