Dying Light: The Following (PS4)

Dying Light: The Following (PS4) - Review

by Chris 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.

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Chazore (on 28 February 2016)

DL is a good game and while I'm having some decent fun with The Following, I can't help but feel the same repetition that starts to creep as I go along the story with the map consisting of fetch quests, meet me here areas and the map in general feeling kinda empty with some houses scattered around the map that mostly feel like copies of each other (most have the same exact furniture and belongings for example). That said I love the driving aspect of the DLC and the buggy upgrades (though I do miss the parkour quite a bit), some of the new weapons are decent, the golden guns I've found in particular are pretty fun to use against some volatiles at night when things get tough. One main gripe I have with the game and it's DLC is that Techland still haven't thrown in an option to disable Chromatic Aberration, folks over on Steam are still asking for such an option as well as some areas of Reddit and even some sending them tickets on their site. The effect itself is actually causing harm for some players in terms of headaches and nausea which means they cannot play the game as much as others and tbh that's not really fair on them as paying customers, especially when other devs like Ubisoft include an option in their game to disable the effect and Nixxes patching in an extra option recently for TR on PC. Definitely my fave zombie RPG of this gen though.

Madword (on 28 February 2016)

Yeah totally agree... I think Eurogamers review hit the nail on the head when it said it seemed like repeating the same things in this game. The car is very unpowered to begin with an its a chore to upgrade. The addition of more guns and plentiful ammo is welcome though. I feel its missing some good buildings. I hope DL2 can mix it up a bit.

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Chazore (on 28 February 2016)

Yeah, the buggy for me feels a bit sluggish at times (even with the bumper bars upgrade), the fuel system feels forced and even then I reached a point where I have way too much fuel. Molotovs still felt useless against undead (super mols didn't make much difference either) and against humans it was 50/50.

I do like the game but it does feel quite hollow after some time, NPC's I'd save would thank me and then go back to being static hollow shell characters that just stand there the rest of the game staring into space, this is for the majority of the world's NPC's (Skyrim at least let you talk to any NPC's and they at least responded back, DL doesn't really give you much of an option).

I do hope they mix things up in DL2 as well, like more advanced AI, more different buildings (copy+pasting buildings with the same assets these days is real easy to spot out and can break immersion just as easily), focus on different weapons (most bladed weapons sliced in the same way as most and that eventually got repetitive).

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Shiken (on 28 February 2016)

Dying Light is a good game with a ton of content, even if it does get repetitive after a while (though it is better than many other games that suffer from the same effect) and the multiplayer does do a good job in breaking it up. This DLC is indeed worth the money. If you enjoyed the base game, you are almost sure to love this add on. I am bith happy and saddend to say, this DLC alone offers more content than many full release titles on the market for twice the money.