Title: Dying Light: The Following
Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Where To Buy: Steam, PSN, Xbox Store
Dying Light: The Following expands upon everything 2014’s Dying Light established. Do not confuse The Following as simply DLC because the size of the content here rivals the standalone game. If you appreciated Dying Light, you will love this. If however, you did not adore the free-running zombie survival game, there may just be enough new content to entice you, this time round.
Dying Light: The Following has ignored the conventional means by releasing the expansion an entire year after the initial launch of the game. We have seen a couple of add-ons such as The Bozak Horde during the past twelve months but nothing as revolutionary as The Following. This gap between the two helped to make my experience with the expansion feel refreshing. Once I had reacquainted myself with the unorthodox controls, I soon found myself slaying zombies once more, be it with the sole of my boot or my flaming katana.
As a note of caution, you access the expansion through the main menu, so do not waste 10 minutes like me trying to find the mission in the main game.
Dying Light: The Following begins in a dramatic fashion with a wounded runner being treated for life-threatening injuries. During his final moments, he describes an area outside of Harran where humans are immune to the virus. Upon further examination of a map the fading man possesses, you discover a potential route out of the city that leads into the surrounding countryside.
After investigating the passage and confirming that the doomed mans ramblings were true, you will soon become aware of the mysterious cult, the Children of The Sun. By joining their ranks, you uncover the truth about how these individuals have controlled the zombie outbreak. The core narrative consists of some riveting moments and a number of surprises along the way. The story continues from Dying Light, offering some insight and an optional conclusion to Kyle Crane’s tale.
Dying Light: The Following actively encourages you to partake in side quests by having them support the central narrative. As you complete side missions you rise among the ranks of the believers. These missions will have you completing an array of tasks. Locating downed planes, exploring underwater caves or saving children from peril are some examples and the mixture kept me both entertained and engaged.
Dying Light: The Following is a grueling yet satisfying experience. When I finished the standalone game, I felt overpowered and beheading zombies felt like a sport so when I began the expansion with my high level character and my potent weapons, I expected to maintain my godly presence… However, I was wrong. The zombies and bandits must have spent the last year training as I once again felt vulnerable. No longer would one swipe of my electrified scythe decapitate three zombies simultaneously.
Unfortunately, as was the case with Dying Light, the combat can feel inconsistent. Some zombies will take multiple hits whereas others will drop with one which in turn makes the weapon statistics void. That being said, it is still incredibly satisfying to cut a zombie clean in half.
The open countryside is a vast change from the towering cityscape of Harran. Instead of skyscrapers and shanties, expect to climb a hay baler or windmills. The area of Dying Light: The Following’s map is larger than the previous areas of Dying Light combined and as such, allows for a range of vistas from small villages to hair-raising cemeteries. Seeing a horde of zombies in a corn field is something new to the world and attempting to run away from the more ravenous zombies in these scenarios is not easily accomplished. Thankfully, The Following has something new to help you with that.
Vehicles are the big additions that comes with this expansion and they add even more traversal and combat options to an already packed arsenal of techniques. A whole new skill tree has been introduced which as you drive, jump or plough into walkers, you will level up and unlock unique abilities. There are general perks such as improving the stats of the buggy but some will allow you to drop mines or, my personal favorite, attach a flamethrower to the front. I do however wish that new abilities were added to the previous skill trees. Having leveled out my power attribute prior to the expansion, I lost the feeling of progression I once had.
You can collect cosmetic items for your buggy as you explore (I have a bobble-head on my dash) and also upgrade parts such as the engine, suspension or add nitro for a little boost. As you can imagine, a high-speed collision with a herd of the undead is an effective weapon but attempting to crush a stronger zombie with your buggy will bring you to an immediate halt. Virals and Volatiles are quick and as such will not only pursue with ease when you are driving but jump onto your buggy which will inflict substantial damage. These mechanics make the addition of vehicles to the game nicely balanced.
As the map is so large, you will be required to drive fairly often. There is no fast travel here which can be infuriating when the next objective is on the other side of the map, especially as navigating can be troublesome at times. Thankfully the driving is intuitive and responsive. You do need to maintain your buggy and you can do this by looting fuel and other mechanical parts from abandoned cars on the roads. Fuel will be consumed as you navigate and be aware of the gauge as I found myself on the receiving end of a vicious volatile attack when I had depleted my petrol tank.
The expansion adds an abundance of side missions. Bounties, missing persons, races and boss battles are dotted throughout the countryside. All of these quests you embark upon will showcase just how versatile Dying Light: The Following is. They all feel significantly different from one another and each will require you to adapt to the situation at hand. The boss battles include overpowered zombies which have weak points to exploit whereas hunting for missing people will require you to scout out derelict locations.
The most thrilling and terrifying side quests are the Volatile nests. These bases are where the most dangerous of the zombie clan spend their daytime. Trying to destroy these bases during this time is near impossible so instead you need to sneak into them during the night when the Volatiles are out slaughtering their victims. These infiltration missions are dangerous and the nests are still heavily occupied by Virals. By destroying these, you are rewarded with a large sum of experience and you reduce the volatile activity within the vicinity.
It should be noted just how terrifying Dying Light: The Following can be. When you are cowering in the dark with a blood thirsty zombie a few feet from you, there are few other games that capture that dreaded feeling. Even in the comfort of your car, glimpsing a red arrow on your radar will feel you with fear and when the dreaded music kicks in, I genuinely felt terrified.
Dying Light: The Following could have been released as a sequel to Dying Light. I’m glad that Techland have released this as an expansion though because it does exactly that. It expands upon the already great formula they concocted in the prior entry and added a huge amount of content. The similar gripes from the original installment such as inconsistent combat and unintentional deadly falls still occur, but what made Dying Light wonderful has been developed upon. I went into Dying Light: The Following asking myself “Do I want more?”. I finished the campaign and concluded that my previous question was preposterous. Craving more, I immediately set my sights on completing everything the expansion had to offer.
- Gameplay: Free Running and Fighting Zombies With Custom Made Weapons.
- Graphics: Gory with Beautiful Vistas.
- Sound: Terrifying Zombie Screams With Perfect Accompanying Music.
- Presentation: Huge Amount of Content.