Never has a video game tagline captured the spirit more accurately than Techland have with Dying Light 2. Rather than flying through an in-depth preview breaking down every individual detail, I’m going to make a choice to create a narrative. The purpose will be to use developer examples to illustrate how you, the player, will use your choice to create your world.
An abandoned swimming pool. A large, enclosed and totally vacated space. In 2018 we might look at this and think it’s desolate, useless and should be torn down. In Dying Light 2 there is an abundance of options for a space like this. Those options are personified by the three factions who are battling it out for control of the area. Of course, it’s your world though, meaning you have to decide which faction to support. Let’s look at the three factions and their intentions.
The Untainted are up first. Almost reminiscent of hippie sects in modern life, they lean towards protection of the Earth and natural resources. That doesn’t mean they act naturally though. Quite the contrary. The drug plantation that they’ll build here isn’t purely recreational, instead, it’ll lead to the production and distribution of psychoactive plants. By helping them you’ll be able to purchase the drugs, these come with enhancements which could boost your speed or strength etc. The downside here is that your enemies in this area will also have access to the products and have certain enhancements.
Second, we have the Scavengers. They clearly aren’t quite as green, entirely the opposite. They want the space to build a Fuel production plant. This will lead to benefits for transport and vehicles. It also opens fast travel options. The scavengers will reconnect transport networks, such as a broken bridge in the nearby area. This unlocks a totally new section of the world to explore, more loot to find and new quests. However, there may be a reason this bridge was destroyed. Perhaps it was keeping something in rather than out?
Finally, we have the Peacekeepers. As you can imagine, they are a lot more iron fist than the other two factions. First they’ll build a training arena, secondly, they’ll clear out the whole area. Say goodbye to all of the nearby zombie hordes, the PKs will deal with them for you. In the actual arena, you’ll be able to compete in fights for cash. If you become the local champion you’ll be challenged to street brawls. The biggest downside to driving the infected populace away is that the surrounding areas will become much more dangerous as they become overrun.
Secondly, we were shown a full mission in action. Again we have seen how choices affected and changed the world as the player took on a water tower. The parkour is back and better than ever. Over 100 new moves have been added and the stamina bar has been reworked to make certain sections more intense. You’ll have to quickly and accurately maneuver your way through certain sections. The best thing about this is how fluid it looks in action. It was really impressive watching the traversal. There’s no awkward, Assassin’s Creed style, crawl-jumping up the side of a wall.
The next enhanced mechanic is combat. It’s much less hack and slash, much more tactical and about waiting for an opportunity to strike and take advantage of your opponent. It’s impressive how much depth has been added to certain aspects of the game. Even the conversation options, which all play into your narrative decisions, have added detail. It’s always clear exactly what you’re saying and what choice the words will connect to.
However what’s most impressive is that this isn’t a binary system. There’s no good or bad, no right or wrong. There’s only your decision and every option will come with a variety of consequences that you have to consider. The second example we saw in action regarded the aforementioned water tower. If you side with the Peacekeepers and remove the two men who occupy the tower, they’ll move in and make the water in the area free. This provides you with free healing at any time. They’ll also redevelop the area which makes it easier to traverse. Siding with the two men will see them utilize the water, forcing people to pay for access. Your benefit? A cut. Right away you can see the immediate consequences but the developers also promised that this will evolve as you play.
Over the years a lot of games have promised this. A lot of games have told players that they’re important and their experience would be unique and shaped to them. Dying Light 2 is stepping into place to be one of the first games to do this properly, especially on such a minuscule and grand scale. I really can’t wait to see more.