Dying Light 2 Gamescom 2019 Preview – The Most Exciting Upcoming Open World
Dying Light came at a time where gamers were desperate for new titles to play, and the blend of open-world parkour and zombie survival was a surprising smash hit, not to mention by the far the best game we had seen from Techland. Dying Light 2 has now been in development for several years, and the folks at Techland are pulling out all of the stops to truly outdo themselves with this sequel. I sat down at a behind-the-scenes gameplay showcase for Dying Light 2 at Gamescom 2019, and there's more reason to get excited than ever.
We've already spoken to the developers at Techland and writer Chris Avellone about the game extensively, and we know they're doing their best to make it the best open-world zombie game yet. The developers are working hard so the world feels more believable and authentic than ever before, with amazing visuals from the city rooftops during daylight, and intense atmosphere when the light poring through wooden boards illuminates a room full of zombies indoors.
Visually speaking the game looks incredible. Dense foliage spills out of the concrete in the streets, and a heavy smog clouds the sky, making the city feel wide yet oppressive. You'll meet factions that have created their owns bases and ways of living in Dying Light 2, and just the designs of these bases to hold off against zombies and hostile humans are impressive. Though, from the demo I witnessed at least, it does seem like people are far more dangerous enemies than zombies.
This isn't necessarily a complaint, more an observation. Zombies will most certainly act as a threat in Dying Light 2, but much of the combat we witnessed involved hostile human factions, using stealth to move around them and an improved combat system to take them down, either hand-to-hand or with firearms. It felt as if the team was putting zombies into the background with the demo we watched, and as a result, it felt like a generic post-apocalyptic setting, not specifically a zombie apocalypse.
That's not to say there were no new zombies in the footage we watched. We saw our protagonist leap onto a zombie's head and jump off him, in fact, giving zombies more utility as platforming options, not simply shambling distractions. When Techland inevitably releases some zombie rampage footage in some night time gameplay, I'm sure we'll see what the zombies can do properly in Dying Light 2.
So there are improvements across the board to mobility and combat. New guns will see you blasting away humans and zombies alike, a grappling hook will allow you to quickly ascend away from danger, and you can even shoot and use melee attacks in tandem with the grappling hook to give combat more variety. To test all of these moves out, you'll find tougher enemies than ever before too, ones which will pose much more of a challenge in combat. The best mobility option has to be the paraglider though, and I'm happy to see it. Ever since Breath of the Wild, no game has felt right without a paraglider.
At the end of the demo, we see the protagonist in a climactic battle against a Colonel. You've been informed he has access to water pumps required for the supply of all the people at your base, he informs you they do not have access to those pumps, and says you've been tricked. You can decide which way this plays out, but here the protagonist follows his original instructions, fights the Colonel and his goons, and activates water pumps. Excitingly, this drains the flooded city, uncovering much more land to explore, but isn't the water pumps you were looking for, and who knows what monsters lurk below now that the water level has been lowered. Your decisions having such a dramatic change in the landscape of the open world is incredibly exciting, but time will tell if the options change the outcome much, or if draining the water was an inevitable step.
Right now, Dying Light 2 looks like one of the most exciting upcoming open-world games, full stop. It uses zombies in fun ways, has varied and dynamic combat options, and traversing the world looks exhilarating. The only question is whether or not the game is as open and dynamic as it seems from demo reels. We'll find out when the full game launches early next year, but as of right now, you should be tentatively excited.