Dying Light: The Following (PS4) - ReviewChris Matulich , posted on 28 February 2016 / 5,252 Views
Dying Light was a surprise success last year, both critically and commercially. Developers Techland improved tremendously upon the Dead Island formula, tweaking combat, adding parkour, and creating a more serious narrative that proved to be a winning formula. Now, Techland brings us The Following, a full on expansion that began as simple DLC as part of the season pass, but quickly evolved into something “much more”. While this “much more” statement is up for debate, The Following is definitely worth your time and money.
The Following picks up directly after the events of the main game. Kyle Crane comes upon a man around the outskirts of the Harran, on the brink of death and rambling about a route out of the city and people who don’t turn after being infected. Intrigued and grasping at hopeful straws, Crane investigates only to discover that the stranger was telling the truth. With the stranger’s story being at least half true, Crane sets out searching for this seemingly immune group of people, but first must gain the trust of the common folk who are clearly keeping secrets.
While Dying Light definitely had some great plot points (even if it was very cliched at times), The Following creates a more compact and compelling narrative, offering a fulfilling experience fuelled by a great cast of memorable characters. I found it much more interesting than seeing how the double agent turned caring hero cliche played out, as searching for a tribe of people that slowly seem to be more of an immune cult is much more intriguing.
Dying Light’s expansion takes place on one very large map that is a good deal larger than Harran itself. However, most of these areas are empty-ish farmlands that are clearly designed with the buggy in mind. Though there are other changes, like enhancements to multiplayer, tweaking of gameplay, and rooting out of glitches, The Following’s focus is the inclusion of the personal vehicle.
There were of course ATV missions in the main campaign, but the expansion builds upon them, allowing you customize and upgrade your buggy. You will also have to make sure it doesn’t break down or run out of gas. The buggy is definitely a nice addition, as it gives you more options for zombie slaying and further opportunities to loot, with car parts and gasoline coming from other abandoned cars, vans or trucks. Yet, if you want your buggy to be a dependable beast in the field, you’ll have to grind out a good amount of hours.
Considering the game’s formula, which heavily relies upon looting for items, upgrades and blueprints, having to constantly hop in and out of the buggy many, many times can break the atmosphere. It also doesn’t help that it’s only slightly slower to just spam the grappling hook to get around, and when there’s plenty of loot to be discovered it sometimes doesn’t pay to use the buggy at all, although you will occasionally be forced to. Unless you plan on very minimal looting, the only real benefit of the buggy is to cover long distances of flat farmland, and the constant switching between the buggy and being on foot every few feet for looting purposes becomes overly frustrating.
The Following is meant to be played after the main campaign, so you'll most likely have all of your skill trees maxed out, besides the buggy branch. In order to continue to make killing zombies or putting those parkour skills to use worthwhile, Techland has included a Legendary Tree that has a whopping 250 levels to it. Each level continues to boost stats, but at every 25 levels you'll get a cache of some new and interesting weapons and costumes. Some of the weapons are very reminiscent of Techland’s first zombie outing, Dead Island, with interesting combinations of different weaponry and quirky names.
This feature has been added to all versions of Dying Light, not just the expansion, and it offers players a chance to enhance Kyle Crane. While it definitely injects even more replayability into the game, the rewards seem a bit lackluster since you'll most likely already be in possession of some of the most useful and powerful weapons that can be crafted or found.
One of the other big improvements comes to the Be the Zombie mode (Dying Light’s competitive multiplayer). Given how easy it was to take out a zombie player in the 3v1 mode previously, major balancing has been made in favor of the undead. Survivors can't simply win by just taking the zombie out anymore; they will have to destroy at least one Hive - where super zombies dwell - in order to win. Survivor equipment has also been nerfed a bit, with the grappling hook having a longer recharge time as well as other tweaks to give the zombie player more of a fighting chance.
The Following is the type of DLC/expansion that should be industry standard. Its additions to story and gameplay, as well as the tweaking of bugs and glitches from the main game, combine to form a truly entertaining expansion. While the buggy's inclusion and the Legendary skill tree may have needed a bit more forethought, The Following still provides well over 10 hours' worth of zombie slaying, “hardcore parkour” fun. If you were lucky enough to grab the season pass before the price hike, Dying Light: The Following is a steal at $20, but even at the current price of $30 it's still worth the price of admission if you're hankering for some zombie action.
This review is based on a digital copy of Dying Light: The Following for the PS4, provided by the publisher.