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Dying Light Will Make You Afraid of the Dark

Dying Light will scare the [insert something catchy that proves the point here] out of you!

For me, the zombie game genre was dead.  Um, no pun intended. I was ready to go back to fighting Nazi’s, Ninjas, Spies or even unicorns if it would help make a more interesting game.

Then at PAX Prime I got to dabble with Dying Light.   I won’t bore you with details about intuitive controls, great visuals, and perfectly timed intense music. All that stuff is pretty much a gimmie at this point.

What I will tell you about is my experience – and how glad I was afterwards that the dev team wasn’t filming me as I was playing.

I sat in the chair, put on some headphones so that my guide, Pawel from Techland, could give me a game overview. After some of the basics like running, jumping, learning to climb (because I do love verticality in games), I got my first mission – head out of camp and setup some traps and restore power to our campsite.  Simple right?

Think again.

Zombies are swarming…like, everywhere. Sometimes you’ll catch a break and may find one or two that you can take down with some quick melee combat. But if you turn a corner and find a horde, run. Run like the wind.

After successfully setting up a few traps, I learn where I need to go to restore power to the camp. And of course it’s not going to be anywhere close.  So I scrambled rooftops, dodged more zombies than I could shake a stick at – then I noticed the sun was setting. This wasn’t going to end well.

You see, you have to be careful with zombies. Noise attracts them. So while I had a “sparkler” grenade that I can use as a distraction, I had to keep moving or the zombies would return to their random walking patterns.

After sticking, moving, ducking, dodging, running, jumping and a few well-placed hacks to the head with my wrench, I got to the area where I could restore power. It was dark, and I had to navigate this all with my flashlight. As I flipped switches, I noticed I was trying to catch my breath. And I mean me, not my character in the game.

So now I have to get back to camp.  And it’s dark. Really dark. I had a few close calls getting to this point where I almost became one of the undead, but through quick button taps, I was able to defend myself and get to a safe point. But the idea of running what felt like countless blocks through hordes and a horde of undead masses wasn’t something I was really looking forward to.

So I caught my breath, and began to run. This is where the verticality aspect of the game really comes into play, as I’m able to hop from roof-to-roof and keep my movements on the ground limited. If you catch a zip line in an area, it will help tremendously, but the music, the lighting, the background noise of the guttural sounds of dead people who want nothing more than to make you an evening snack really makes your pulse pound.

As I get closer to my compound and safety, I could hear myself (again, me, not my character) grunting, “oohing and aahing” trying to make sure that I live to die another day.

I made it. Barely. And the level ended.

I took my headset off and immediately realized I was the only one left in the room at that time and everyone was watching.  Once I regained my composure and all the “cool points” I knew were lost, I told the team that I needed either to call my mother…and that I needed fresh underwear.

Dying Light is an amazing game that I can’t wait to play. It sucks you in and captures you like the zombies you’re trying desperately to avoid. Techland did an amazing job for a game still early in development.  Look for it when it drops in 2K14 or just trust me and pre-order it now.

Want more? Check out this Gameplay Walkthrough below. But trust me, keep the lights on. Good night, good luck!

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