Dying Light 2: Stay Human Review – Well Worth the Wait

It’s been seven years since developer Techland released Dying Light, and even though they have fully supported that game with a ton of added content since, they have been working on its sequel all along. Does Dying Light 2: Stay Human live up to the hype train its riding in on, or should you leave this game in the dark?

Read on to find out

 

Polish developer and publisher Techland entered the zombie genre in 2011 with their smash hit Dead Island. They showed us, that with time, everything can get better and content would continue to come out as DLC and in-game events. Fast forward to 2015 and the Dying Light series was introduced. They took everything they learned from the Dead Island series and created a much more advanced system of progression and weapon building that still stands as one of the top RPGs around, and the premier zombie killing game.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human Review – From Harran to Villedor

The original  Dying Light started out with you air dropping into the infected and quarantined city of Harran, somewhere in the middle east, in an effort to assist the Global Relief Effort (the GRE) in stopping the disease entirely. Fast forward twenty years later and Dying Light 2 opens up to reveal that all of the previous efforts to stop the virus failed as the world lie in ruins, with only small enclaves of survivors spread out around the globe. Everyone is infected with the virus now and if you stay out of the sun too long, or stray too far away from UV lights at night, the infection will consume you.

You’ll play as Aiden, a young man with an unknown past who is what’s known as a Pilgrim. Pilgrims travel between the survivor enclaves around the world and seem to be faster, stronger, and better at adapting to this apocalyptic environment. Aiden is searching for his lost sister, and the last place he can remember being with her is in this city of Villedor. It is here where our journey begins and Aiden’s story unfolds over many hours of gameplay. Villedor was a city much like Harran, in that it was originally quarantined when the infection began in an effort to contain the virus, but that quarantine ended up helping them to somewhat survive as a city in the long run as the world outside collapsed into chaos and death. The story is well written, and has several different story arcs that will be determined by your in-game choices.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human Review – In the Beginning

While Aiden is somewhat stronger and more adept at surviving and maneuvering through the world of Dying Light 2, in the beginning he is still on the weaker side. His parkour and combat skills are in dire need of upgrades, and through a deep RPG system, you’ll be able to earn XP and upgrade these skills. You’ll earn XP by running around the city, jumping from car to car, climbing things, bashing zombies, completing side quests, finding safe zones, and a bunch more activities. The parkour movements are super smooth, and once you have a bunch of them unlocked, you can chain them together for some serious XP. If you do these things at night, there’s a really nice XP bonus, but your journey is exponentially difficult, and time between UV light sources must be monitored closely.

Level 1

Level 7

In order to be able to stay out of sunlight longer, and this includes exploring inside buildings during the day as well as being out of safe zones after dark, you’ll need to find inhibitors in order to upgrade your health and stamina, which in turn adds to your overall immunity clock. This clock is crucial to your survival as if it hits zero, you turn into a zombie and will need to respawn at the nearest safe zone.

Inhibitors are found in different places like GRE Quarantined buildings, and sometimes guarded in GRE Anomalies. GRE Anomalies can only be completed at night as there is a zombie called a Revenant that must be defeated in order to access the small building in which the inhibitor container awaits you. GRE Quarantine buildings on the other hand can be entered during the day, but are pretty much impossible to complete until after dark. We found that if the Night to Day cycle switches while you are inside one of these zones, RUN! Find the nearest exit as fast as humanly possible or you will die. Watch that clock closely if you are inside one of these zones, and plan accordingly. The clock runs fast at around a minute a second, so know that 8 AM means daytime and 7:30 PM (19:30 in the 24 hour clock that is used) starts the night time mode. Inhibitors are found in other places, and there are 126 in all. Later in the game a tool is unlocked that will help you in locating them.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human Review – Friends Indeed

You are able to play Dying Light 2 with up to three friends after completing the Prologue. Survivors can vote on narrative choices, take their acquired items and player progression back to their own save files, and play through virtually the entire game together, including the ending and Epilogue. Joining someone that is behind you in the story will have yo replaying some of the missions you’ve already completed, and you’ll still earn XP for combat and parkour actions, just not the mission related bonuses. Anything you unlock on the map in co-op mode, will be carried back with you when you leave the session and return to solo mode. You can also drop weapons and gear for your buddies if you have extra stuff lying around that’s better than what they have already.

 

Dying Light 2: Stay Human Review – Getting around the Map

The map for Dying Light 2 is four times bigger than the original game, and getting around this huge map can be time consuming. Fast travel points can bu unlocked by clearing out Metro stations, some of which should only be cleared at night, as they are just as dangerous as the GRE Quarantine zones. Some Metro stations are being held by renegades, which are a group of human bad guys that can be a total pain in the butt. You’ll have to clear these guys out in order to power the metro station back up, but once you do you’ll have a fast travel point and a safe zone ready to go, and an inhibitor as well. These fast travel spots and safe zones can be life savers when running for your life at night.

There are eleven fast travel points spread out across all of the fifteen regions, and they can save you quite a bit of time when you are needing to get from one side of the map to the other. You’ll eventually unlock a paraglider that will help you glide across a long distance, and be able to fall from tall buildings, but be careful as stamina is required and used as you glide along, and running out of stamina means you’ll be falling to the ground. This glider can be upgraded with special items found in military air drops scattered around the map, so keep an eye out for those. The map itself is full of old buildings ranging from areas of small one story shops, to a downtown packed full of skyscrapers. The view from the top of one those is breathtaking, as long as the weather allows it. The weather is always changing, and rain can cause limited visibility and some slippery surfaces.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human Review – Know Your Factions

In Dying Light 2, there are two main factions you’ll be dealing with. As you progress through a region, you’ll unlock either a water tower or an electrical station and have to decide which group to align with. There are eight of these alignment choices in all and as you assign them to a specific faction, certain items are unlocked for their controlled regions.

Peacekeeper alignments will reward you with more combat related rewards like razor cannons placed around the region, a nifty crossbow and blueprints for ammo, car traps, and UV traps to name a few. Aligning with the Survivors will reward you with more parkour related items that will aid you in getting around the map like zip lines, air bags for falling off of buildings, and two way zip lines to name a few. Your playstyle should determine which route you take, and there’s an achievement for maxing one of them out. If you’re a trophy hunter, you’ll want to stick with one or the other in order to unlock that achievement.

Dying Light 2: Stay Human Review – Know Your Gear

In Dying Light 2 you’ll need decent weapons and decent clothes in order to survive and eliminate your enemies. Weapons range from simple machetes or blunt weapons made with pipe, to much more effective blades like shovels, swords, or axes. Some are one handed and give you the ability to attack fast, while others may be two handed and deal more damage, but require more time to swing. The best ones are labeled Artifact and have three upgrade slots. These allow for upgrades to the Tip, the Shaft, and the Grip. Blueprints for these upgrades can be purchased from your local Craftmaster, and are upgradeable. Sadly, don’t get too attached to any of the weapons as they will wear out and you can’t repair them. There is a Reinforcement mod that will make them almost indestructible, once its fully upgraded, so keep an eye out for that. The Craftmaster also has purchasable blueprint upgrades for throwable items like hand grenades, bait, and even a throwable UV light.

They say clothes makes the man, and in Dying Light 2, clothes will keep you running longer, faster, and tougher, and each piece of attire can fall into one of four main classes, each class with its own focus. There’s the Brawler class that specializes in dealing one handed weapon damage. The Ranger class, which specializes in stealth and ranged weapons. There’s the Tank class that specializes in two handed weapon damage and withstands a lot of damage. Lastly there’s the Medic class that specializes in healing and parkour. There is no bonus for having all of one class, so we found that mixing and matching the best Artifact gear we could find was the best way for us to go.

 

After everything developer Techland did to support the original Dying Light, we found out that they were  also spending a bunch of time developing the sequel to that awesome game: Dying Light 2: Stay Human. Techland plans to continue to support Dying Light 2 for more than five years post-launch but all of that only matters if the game is good. After spending over eighty hours in the open world that is Dying Light 2: Stay Human, we can honestly say it far exceeded our expectations and we can easily see spending hundreds of hours trying to do all there is to do.

Well done Techland. Well done.

10


Dying Light 2: Stay Human review code provided by publisher and reviewed on a PS5. For more information on scoring, please read What our review scores really mean.