The Following has finally been released for Dying Light after quite a wait. Last summer, Techland revealed its plans for a new expansion to their horrific game. Unlike the previous DLC, this new addition was going to transform the game completely. But then it got delayed.
It has now been a year since Dying Light was first released, and that would normally lead to a dead game. Yet The Following has not only returned the game to the spotlight, it has reinvigorated the title. It has breathed new life into this world of death in ways that most DLCs fail to do for other games.
But just how has it managed to do so? Games with zombies/infected as the main fodder are a dime-a-dozen, so what exactly did Techland do to make this one special? Well, a few things actually.
The Following isn’t the first DLC for Dying Light. There were several packs that added new challenges for players to test their hard-earned skills. But, other than interesting scenarios and a couple of new weapons (see: that sweet bow and arrow), you were still stuck in the confines of the base game’s story and world.
The Following breaks you out of that by not only giving you new things to do, but a grand reason to do it. Exactly what happened after Kyle Crane beat the horrible man terrorizing the city of Harran? This is something many fans were left wondering, and it provides a new adventure for the protagonist to embark on. New activities are enough to attract some, but new reasons are definitely stronger.
Dying Light’s city of Harran was an amazing setting for a zombie game. Weaving through back alleys, jumping between rooftops, running through buildings, it all felt both huge and congested at the same time. As if you could go anywhere, but you could also be cornered at any moment. Yet there was but so much that could be done with the world. Adding new challenges and even enemies would never really change how players played the game. After months and months, there was a rhythm to it and it wasn’t hard to feel as if you were just going through the motions.
The Countryside of The Following forces players to think outside of the box. You can’t just climb up a building and laugh at all of the infected below you. You can’t easily give a Volatile the slip in an alleyway, or hide in one of hundreds of available buildings. Those options are gone. You’ll often find yourself surrounded by hordes of infected with no hiding place in sight. You’ll have to run or fight, but hiding isn’t always a viable option.
The world recreates that sense of urgency players felt when they first stepped out in Harran. Like the base game, things can go wrong at any moment and you need to keep on your toes. That sense is a welcome friend revisiting once again.
It’s amazing how much a single vehicle can change the feel of a game. Far Cry 3 had cars, but the simple addition of the Buzzard in Far Cry 4 transformed the way players traveled and attacked in that game. In the Following, the Buggy has a very similar effect. Planning approaches, reaching locations, and even dealing with enemies can be altered by your vehicle and whatever upgrades you’ve decided to add to it.
Techland did more than than just add a car to the game, though. They made it a part of the world. You have to care for it in the same way you care for your weapons and tools. You’ll upgrade your buggy for more speed and power, repair it after dealing with too many enemies (and poor driving skills), and even keep it fueled. It can be a distraction to get you in and out of places, or a means to escape a touchy situation.
It adds a new dynamic to play in the same way that opening the world up did.
Humans Are Far Deadlier
Let’s be honest here, human enemies were basically a non-factor in Dying Light. Sure you came across them from time to time, but they were easy to deal with, and weren’t all that bright. You rarely had to worry about flanking (if at all), and there were always plenty of hiding spots and cover. Plus, these guys were pretty lousy shots.
The Following makes them a serious threat this time around. Not only will you deal with humans wielding different types of weapons, but they’re much more aggressive as well. They’ll flank you, get you out of cover, use cover intelligently, and even call for backup. What was an easy kill before is now a nightmare worthy of being played.
These elements helped to make Dying Light fresh and new again. The Following feels more like a new game than an expansion, and that’s how it manages to reinvigorate a game about zombies a whole year later.
Have you been enjoying The Following? Let us know in the comments below.