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Dying Light PreviewE3 2014 Coverage » Dying Light Preview

So how excited was I to learn that this big baby was going to have two hands-on demos for horror games in the same day? The things I do for video games. In a selfish way, I’m quite glad that The Evil Within was not scary for me because the hands-on demo I played with Dying Light had me on edge.

On the surface, Dying Light seems to be yet another zombie game in the horror genre, but this zombie game has a few twists that makes it unique and rise above the traditional zombie game, and it’s not just because Techland calls them “Infected” instead of zombies. For example, Dying Light isn’t about mowing down every Infected you see; it’s about surviving by any means necessary, and often that means escaping instead of fighting.

For starters, the Infected are attracted to any sound, so by running around on the streets killing every disgusting former human, all you’re going to do is attract more Infected. Parkouring across rooftops and fences is pretty much the only way to travel in this game if you want to live longer than five minutes. At first, the protagonist is not that great at climbing, jumping, and running quickly. The more the player climbs and parkours across the Quarantine Zone, the more agility experience the hero will acquire, allowing the player to unlock skills to make himself far speedier when it comes to traversing the rooftops.

The same leveling up system also applies to strength. All of the combat is melee, so the more you put down Infected, the stronger you will become and you will be able to put them down faster as well as wield heavier weapons.

Two factors determine what types of enemies are out on patrol: the weather and the time of day. During the day, there are typically only the regular Infected and the virals, Infected who can climb, run, and jump after you. The daytime also brings out any human enemies, as we just can’t expect the world to get along just because we’re in the middle of an apocalypse. If it starts to rain, different Infected appear, and many human enemies will take shelter from the rain.

When the sun goes down, it’s an entirely different ballgame. There are no human enemies, because only you are crazy enough to brave outside of safehouses at night. The Infected are out in swarms, including the most powerful Infected that you will not see during the day. Most of these are too difficult to kill, so the best course of action is to distract them (you happen to have an arsenal of firecrackers to do just that) and run, run, RUN. To say I died here a couple of times would be a vast understatement. I’m surprised my Techland supervisor didn’t take away my controller out of pity.

Despite how terrified I was to play, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and I was pleasantly surprised with how it stands apart from most zombie-apocalypse games out there. Sadly, it won’t be out until 2015, so horror fans will have a bit longer to wait.

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