Stay Human Preview – But why Tho?
2015 Dying light, developed by Techland and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, showed players a perspective of a zombie apocalypse filled with melee combat, parkour, and a punishing day-night cycle that prompted players to prepare when venturing out after dark. night. After a favorable reception, it received a generous plethora of updates and DLC from the developers. The real sequel to the game Dying Light 2: stay human was announced in 2018, this time developed and published by Techland. The success and post-launch support of the original put the sequel in a tough spot. The sheer volume of zombie games in the gaming industry can make it hard for zombies to feel fresh while the massively expanded reach of the first title also makes it harder for the sequel to feel like it’s a dignified follow-up that innovates and develops. the ideas and the world of the original. The industry was waiting to see what happened next, and I was fortunate enough to be invited to a preview Dying Light 2: stay human for myself in San Francisco.
My practice time with the game began with a brief introduction from the game’s new protagonist Aiden Caldwell, a pilgrim – the term for the people who roam the apocalyptic wasteland to help the settlements stay in touch with each other. However, Aiden has lost his memory and has no idea why he is as capable in combat as he is, and the player is introduced to him as he travels to the last human town, simply called the City, in search of of his loss. sister.
The demo I played was split into two parts, the first of which took place in an area of the city known as the Bazaar which is home to two warring factions: the Survivors and the Peacekeepers. The Survivors are a cult-like group who must fight tooth and nail for all they have and follow an enigmatic leader. The Peacekeepers are a more authoritarian group fully equipped with military equipment and resources who struggle to keep the various groups of survivors under control in order to restore peace and order to the city.
Tensions between the two groups peak when a high-ranking peacekeeper is assassinated, with Aiden forced to investigate the survivors to determine if they know anything about who did it. This is where my glimpse of Dying Light 2: stay human begins, with Aiden making his way through the hearts of the survivors while secretly reporting to the Peacekeepers whenever he has a moment of peace.
It quickly became apparent that Techland put more emphasis on the narrative this time around. This not only comes in the form of more polished cutscenes and a greater variety of characters, but also in the form of effort put into player choice. Almost every dialogue I’ve seen had a choice of options, each leading to different pieces of information or guiding Aiden’s activities.
These choices had a range of impacts, including learning the location of materials and resources on the map, determining the life or death of certain characters, and even aligning with one of the two. factions at war with each other and the determination of which one ultimately took control wanted.
Introducing choice into almost every interaction players have had throughout the game has proven to be a massive boon for Dying Light 2. A good number of conversation options were primarily just ways to tailor the amount of information players want to hear about the world, characters, and factions, but there are also cases where that comes at stake. very high.
One example I encountered was a side quest that ultimately resulted in one of the characters deciding to kill themselves. I found myself on top of a church steeple with him as he threatened to jump, and had the opportunity to speak to him from the window sill. And I failed.
Honestly, I was shocked. I expected to have multiple dialogue options or other options, but I screwed up and it was too late. It was a surprisingly sober moment that followed me shooting a fireball with an ax made from a traffic sign recovered a few minutes before, and it was incredibly effective.
In reality, Dying Light 2: stay humanThe ability to effectively switch from one tonal space to another has been exemplified repeatedly throughout my time with the game. Narratively, the main story quests are very grounded and navigate a tightly woven exploration of trauma. and how people struggle to hold onto their humanity in the face of great adversity. This is offset by what the developers call micro-quests which can be found scattered all over town.
These little side stories help break the rhythm of the game and often seemed to take on a more comical tone, like a third-person speaking opera singer asking Aiden to chase his mink scarf into town while she is blown away. Micro-quests either focus on humorous stories like this, or as a way for developers to highlight a certain mechanic or characteristic of Dying Light 2, and from what I’ve seen of them, they’re more than worth checking out.
The tonal changes in the storyline are also evident in the mechanics of the game. Players spend a lot of time navigating the world in style by running over walls, climbing buildings, paragliding, and sliding. Parkour controls seem more floating than in the original game, but the system has been significantly expanded and gives players plenty of opportunities to change their plan on the go while roaming the city or the solid platforming puzzles of the game.
The parkour sections then easily switch to the game’s greatly improved combat. Dying Light 2: stay human focuses on hand-to-hand combat as it unfolds in what the developers dubbed the Modern Dark Ages after most guns were confiscated or lack ammo to be of use. This has led most to using improvised melee weapons and allowed the developers to fine tune the combat experience to deliver hard-hitting engagements that feel as brutally visceral as they are fun and open.
Parkour and combat give players a number of options for how they want to approach them, both having a dedicated skill tree that expands with a number of options. I didn’t get to see much of what was on offer, but what I got to try out was a lot of fun and seemed to allow players to customize a playstyle without getting stuck on the content. they didn’t have any particular upgrades.
Player customization has also spread to the world itself through the factions players have decided to align with. Each region has a number of resources such as water towers, power generators, and windmills that players can claim and then assign to one of the two factions, each promising different types of bonuses for the to do. Survivors focus on facilitating parkour on the map with trampolines, winches and ziplines while Peace Keepers cover the map with UV lights that deter the infected and a variety of different traps to help players survive. through the bloodshed.
These options allow players to further customize their gaming experience, although I have found my decisions to be primarily driven by the characters on either side of the conflict and whether or not I wanted to support them. As it was just a glimpse of Dying Light 2: stay human I also haven’t been able to see how much of a big impact the changes really have, but there is a lot of potential for each region to end up looking and playing very different in the end.
A new equipment system has also been introduced that allows players to equip various rarities of hats, jackets, gloves, pants and shoes in addition to crafting and customizing their own weapons with upgrades that can deal electrical damage, poison. or fire. Weapons have a wide variety and each plays with nuanced but notable differences, but the other gear, at least at the start of the game, wasn’t interesting enough to deserve much attention. The system could certainly be expanded at launch or in later sections of the game, but as I previewed the gear in Dying Light 2 looked rather dull with nothing but little incremental increases in barely noticeable stats.
Dying Light 2 also made changes to her day / night cycle. Where the first game saw more difficult and intimidating versions of Infected come out at night, the sequel instead sees players having to make sure they don’t stay in the dark for too long or start to suffer. damage. The activities spread across the map are also only available during the day or night, which helps players get started in the city at different times and causes them to adapt different playstyles accordingly. While the absence of the fiercest Infected overnight is a tad disappointing, the cycle’s new use is a fun way to mix things up and allow players to revisit areas of the map organically.
Overall my preview time with Dying Light 2: stay human was a slice of play that ticks all the boxes. The world is larger and more interesting than its predecessor, as it innovates on the core identity of Dying light in a meaningful way. Some of the changes may not be for all fans of the original, but overall they seem to open up the choices available to players while providing a well-written, detailed story for fans to explore to see its multiple branching paths.
Dying Light 2: stay human releases on February 4, 2022 for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X / S.
Arron is a longtime player and critic. He has a bachelor’s degree in media arts and video game design and will play just about anything that isn’t racing or sports because he’s bad at it.