Dying Light 2 hands-on: Parkour in a post-pandemic wasteland

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In Dying Light 2, zombies aren’t the only thing you need to worry about, there are even evil survivors who will fight to get what you have.

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The original Dying Light made waves for its clever mix of parkour-style action and survival gameplay in a city surrounded by zombies. It was a huge hit upon its release in 2015, becoming one of the defining zombie games of 2010. The sequel, Dying Light 2: Stay Human, not only builds on the foundation of a fast-paced survival action game, but also takes things up a notch by allowing you to decide the fate of one of humanity’s last remaining cities. She goes.


It’s been a while since I’ve seen such a good look at Dying Light 2. Techland, like many game developers, hit a COVID-19-related snag in the production of the sequel, which itself is set during a global pandemic. That irony is not lost on the game’s creators.

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Dying Light 2 has less focus on guns and more on close combat with zombies and bandits.

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I got to talk to lead game designer Tymon Smectala about the challenges of making the game and releasing it in a time where the game’s tone is a little different than expected.

“I don’t think the Techland story is anything special when you look at the state of the industry, but I would say we all went through tough times,” Smectla said. “It has been unrealistic to work on this game in the time of COVID, not only for the real-life issues that affected us, but also because our game is about a massive infection spreading across the globe. But I Looks like we’ve managed to get through the development in good shape.”

The popularity of the first Dying Light cannot be overestimated. It was a game that managed to come out at just the right time, riding the wave of various trends within pop culture. In 2015, the popularity of open-world games was on the rise, The Walking Dead was TV’s most-watched show, and a massive storm of parkour videos took over the Internet. Dying Light fits well into all three of those categories, and it hit at the right time. However, its sequel, while still leaning heavily in the spirit of the original, has more work to do. The Plan: Make you a more active participant in a developed world.

Like the previous game, Dying Light 2 puts you in the role of an outsider in a city full of infected humans, essentially zombies. The sequel is set 20 years after the first game, with the world falling into a dangerous new era known as the “Modern Dark Ages”. Isolated communities are now in trouble as they scour for supplies, electricity is hard to find, and guns and bullets are now scarce tools almost mythical in status.


Lawn, played by Rosario Dawson, is one of several characters protagonist Aiden Caldwell will meet throughout the game.

One of the more interesting points of interest for Dying Light 2 was the setting itself. I got to explore one of the early game settings, meeting various side characters—including one voiced by Rosario Dawson—and it was interesting to see just how terrifying a ruined European city could be. With the state of the world and the lack of resources, Dying Light 2 feels like a post-apocalyptic thriller, but maintains the fast-paced parkour and melee-focused fighting from the original. This is an effective mixture.

There is a constant feeling that you have to find resources and build equipment to fight effectively against hordes of undead, and this is far more evident in this game. There’s more of a focus on collecting armor and loot to take out your character, which sometimes seemed like a busybody, but I appreciated the flexibility.

At critical moments, you’ll be asked to make major decisions about which faction to ally with, which changes the look of the city. In one instance, favoring military peacekeepers brought more troops to an area as well as new gadgets and equipment to use. Taking the side of another faction can sometimes have the opposite effect. It was hard to see the difference from our short session, but these key choices potentially make for a dramatic change in the game environment, which is what attracted me.


Dying Light 2 perfectly embodies the genre of a post-apocalyptic thriller.

Dying Light 2 is on its way to being a solid sequel, and managed to hit the right beats by locating the rooftops and fighting zombies with weapons simultaneously.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human will release on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Nintendo Switch via Cloud Release on February 4, 2022.

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