January was the perfect time for Dying Light to be released. Another open world, first person, zombie survival game would never sell millions of copies in a packed October or November. However, with January being a quiet month for games, and with Dying Light being surprisingly well-received, it became the first big game of 2015.
In many ways, Dying Light is similar to Techland’s other series, Dead Island. It features first person action, a large open world, and weapon crafting. However, Dying Light added something else to the mix: fast parkour. Clearly influenced by Mirror’s Edge, the free running makes exploration more enjoyable and fleeing from zombies even more frantic. Leaping between building and scrambling up walls adds tension to each escape attempt with the slow motion reverse camera showing how close you are to death. It makes survival even more satisfying.
The dynamic change of the game that comes when the sun sets ramps up the tension and fear. Enemies become fiercer and escaping becomes more difficult, but rewards are more valuable. The risk and reward system creates a real dilemma in the player’s mind. Dying Light is certainly the surprise open world hit of the year.