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Dying Light 2 Hands-on Round-up: What Do the Critics Think?

Dying Light 2

Dying Light 2 Stay Human may not release until February, but several media outlets were able to get their hands on the game for an extensive preview this week.

The sequel to the 2015 post-apocalyptic survival horror game is set 20 years after the original with an improved combat system and even more of a parkour feel in an open-world map that is four times larger than that of the original.

GamesRadar’s Josh West complimented the upcoming game on its action-based exploration. “While I was supposed to be pushing through the story, settling boundary disputes between three warring factions – the Peacekeepers, Survivors, and Renegades – I could quite happily have spent that time (and more) exploring. And by that, I mean clambering up ledges and bounding across rooftops; shifting effortlessly from a sprint into a wall run, using slides to maintain breakneck momentum with little disruption. A mistimed leap may lead to a dizzying plummet, though the infected that amble throughout the streets are always there to break your fall. The destination be damned, The City is a world you’ll want to spend time moving around in.”

That type of attention to the game’s unique movement through the map is no after-thought, either. Developer Techland has confirmed that there are over 3,000 parkour animations to help your character traverse the larger map while avoiding the undead.

But even with these additions, some has cited the game’s similarity to the original game. NME notes that there are “iterative improvements” but the game is still worthy of a sequel. “The sequel takes a swing at beefing up the narrative of their post-apocalyptic world too, which is sometimes successful, sometimes not. Dying Light 2 is a difficult game to write about largely because it’s a perfectly serviceable game that – despite its bold claims – is largely just an iterative improvement to the original game that fans will snaffle up and average players will probably have a decent time with, too.”

Pocket-Lint agrees, yet gives a little more credit to the improvements. “Making the first sequel to a successful new intellectual property is always a balancing act as a developer: you don’t want to deviate from the blueprint that brought success, but you also don’t want to make the same game again. Our hands-on with Dying Light 2 suggests that Techland has struck a happy balance in that regard.”

Dying Light 2

So what about those combat improvements? MP1st had some interesting words in that regard. “We were told that this time they wanted [the combat] to feel even more brutal than it did in the last one. To this effect the reaction animations are more violent and the sound effects are more detailed and really stood out. I really got a kick out of bashing and cutting at infected and humans alike. As always we at MP1st save our judgments for the final release but, I can say that the combat encounters I played were very satisfying and it does appear that the people at Techland have not lost their Dead Island pedigree for making this hack and slash combat fun.”

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Dying Light 2 will hit PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch on February 4, 2022.

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Shawn has been infatuated with the post-apocalyptic genre since he wore out his horribly American-dubbed VHS of the original Mad Max as a child. Shawn is the former Editor-in-Chief at Joystiq's Massively.com, creator of the Aftermath post-apocalyptic immersion event, and host of the Through the Aftermath podcast for over 11 years. He currently resides on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere with his wife and four children.

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