Few survival-horror games manage to blend adrenaline-pumping action with the eerie, creeping dread of a post-apocalyptic world as effectively as Dying Light 2.

Developed and published by Techland, this ambitious sequel elevates the open-world survival horror genre to new heights, building on the solid foundation laid by its predecessor, Dying Light.

Released in 2015, the original game was celebrated for its innovative parkour mechanics, visceral combat, and a day-night cycle that drastically changed gameplay dynamics, setting a high bar for its successor.

As the release date of Dying Light 2 drew near, the anticipation within the gaming community reached a fever pitch.

Fans were eager to see how Techland would expand upon the original’s gameplay mechanics and narrative, especially given the promise of a more complex world and deeper story engagement.

The sequel promised to retain the core elements that fans loved — high-flying parkour, brutal melee combat, and a relentless night where the infected roam freely — while introducing a new narrative dynamic where player choices have far-reaching consequences on the game world.

Set 15 years after the original, Dying Light 2″plunges players into the city of Villedor, a massive urban open-world set in Europe that’s teeming with danger, mystery, and opportunity.

With humanity on the brink of extinction, players must navigate the remnants of civilization, battling both the infected and human foes, to ucover the secrets that could shape the future of mankind.

The sequel’s development journey was marked by high expectations, driven by Techland’s ambitious vision and the desire to not only meet but surpass the achievements of the original game and it’s clear that this title not only aims to honor the legacy of its predecessor but also seeks to redefine what gamers expect from the survival-horror genre.

 

Dying Light 2 screenshot

Game Overview

Dying Light 2 transports players to Villedor, a vast, decaying metropolis that stands as one of the last bastions of humanity in a world ravaged by a deadly virus.

This setting, a blend of medieval and modern architectural elements, offers a visually striking backdrop for the game’s narrative and gameplay.

Fifteen years have passed since the events of the original “Dying Light,” and civilization has regressed to a new dark age where factions vie for control over resources, territories, and the fate of the city’s inhabitants.

At the heart of Dying Light 2’s story is Aiden Caldwell, an infected survivor endowed with exceptional agility and combat skills, thanks to the virus coursing through his veins.

Aiden’s quest for a long-lost sister leads him to Villedor, where his actions and decisions will shape the future of the city and its people. Unlike many action games where the protagonist’s role is predefined, Dying Light 2 places significant emphasis on player choice, allowing Aiden’s journey and the fate of Villedor to be uniquely molded by decisions made throughout the game.

The gameplay mechanics of Dying Light 2 are a refined evolution of its predecessor’s successful formula.

The game doubles down on the exhilarating parkour system, enabling players to navigate the city’s rooftops, alleyways, and interiors with fluidity and grace. This free-running mechanic is not just a mode of transportation but a critical survival tool, allowing players to escape the clutches of the infected and gain strategic advantages in combat.

Combat in Dying Light 2 remains as brutal and satisfying as ever, with a focus on melee encounters.

The game expands the arsenal available to players, offering a wide range of weapons, each with its unique properties and modifications.

Combat is visceral and requires strategic thinking, especially during night when the infected are at their most dangerous.

The game introduces a dynamic day-night cycle that significantly impacts gameplay.

During the day, the streets are occupied by human factions and the occasional infected hiding in the shadows.

Night transforms Villedor into a nightmare landscape where the infected roam freely, forcing players to weigh the risks and rewards of venturing into the darkness.

Dying Light 2 also incorporates a complex narrative ecosystem where the player’s choices directly influence the world around them.

Decisions impact the balance of power among factions, the accessibility of resources, and the safety of the city’s districts. This choice-driven narrative extends the game’s replayability, encouraging multiple playthroughs to explore different outcomes.

Overall, Dying Light 2 offers a comprehensive and immersive experience that combines fast-paced parkour, tactical combat, a dynamic world affected by player choices, and a deep narrative set in a post-apocalyptic world.

This blend of mechanics and storytelling aims to engage players in a way few games in the survival-horror genre have managed before.

 

Dying Light 2 screenshot

Graphics and Audio

The visual and auditory landscapes of Dying Light 2 are meticulously crafted to immerse players in the hauntingly beautiful, yet perilous world of Villedor.

Techland’s commitment to delivering a high-fidelity experience is evident in every aspect of the game’s presentation, pushing the boundaries of what’s expected in the survival-horror genre.

Visual Presentation and Environment Design

Dying Light 2 is a visual feast, with its expansive urban environment showcasing a stunning level of detail and artistry.

The city of Villedor, the game’s primary setting, is a character in its own right, with decaying skyscrapers, overgrown parks, and dilapidated districts each telling a story of the apocalypse.

The game’s day-night cycle plays a significant role in the visual experience, dramatically altering the appearance and atmosphere of the city. Sunlight bathes the city in a harsh, realistic light, highlighting the desolation of the post-apocalyptic world.

At night, the environment transforms, with darkness and shadows creating a tense, foreboding atmosphere that enhances the survival-horror experience.

The graphical quality of Dying Light 2 is remarkable, with advanced lighting effects, detailed textures, and fluid animations contributing to a highly immersive game world.

Character models, environmental textures, and dynamic weather effects are rendered with precision, creating a believable, lived-in world. The attention to detail in the environment not only enriches the visual experience but also plays a crucial role in gameplay, with visual cues often guiding players through the parkour and combat mechanics.

Audio Design, Soundtrack, and Voice Acting

The audio design of Dying Light 2 complements its visual prowess, creating an auditory landscape that enhances the tension and immersion.

The soundscape is rich and varied, from the unsettling silence of abandoned buildings to the cacophony of the infected chasing you through the streets. Environmental sounds are finely tuned, with each area of the city featuring its unique acoustic signature, adding depth to the exploration.

The game’s soundtrack is a masterful blend of haunting melodies and adrenaline-pumping compositions that perfectly match the game’s mood and pace. You’ll definitely want to invest in a good pair of speakers when playing this game.

Music ebbs and flows with the gameplay, heightening the sense of danger during night-time escapades and providing a somber backdrop to the game’s more reflective moments.

The voice acting deserves special mention for its contribution to storytelling and character development. The cast delivers powerful performances, bringing depth and emotion to the game’s narrative.

Aiden Caldwell, voiced by Jonah Scott, stands out with a portrayal that captures the complexity and internal conflicts of the protagonist.

The supporting cast also delivers memorable performances, enriching the narrative and making the characters’ struggles and triumphs resonate with the player.

Together, the graphics and audio of Dying Light 2 form a cohesive and immersive experience that draws players into its world.

The visual splendor of Villedor, combined with the game’s sound design and musical score, sets a new standard for environmental storytelling and atmospheric design in the survival-horror genre.

 

Dying Light 2 screenshot

Gameplay and Mechanics

At the core of Dying Light 2’s appeal are its refined gameplay mechanics, which seamlessly blend high-octane parkour, strategic combat, and a living open world that reacts dynamically to player choices.

Parkour System

Parkour is the heartbeat of Dying Light 2, offering an unparalleled sense of freedom and fluidity in movement.

The game builds upon the robust foundation laid by its predecessor, enhancing the parkour mechanics to offer more variety, precision, and excitement. P

layers can leap from rooftop to rooftop, scale sheer walls, and navigate the urban jungle with a level of agility that makes exploration thrilling.

The environment is meticulously designed with parkour in mind, presenting players with a playground where almost every surface offers an opportunity for acrobatic feats.

This system is not just about movement; it’s integrated into combat, puzzles, and exploration, making it a fundamental aspect of the game’s identity.

Combat System

Combat in Dying Light 2 is visceral and demands strategic thinking.

The game emphasizes melee combat, with a wide array of weapons and tools at the player’s disposal.

Each weapon has its unique properties and can be upgraded and customized to suit different play styles. The combat system is deep and nuanced, with a focus on timing, dodging, and using the environment to gain an advantage over foes.

Nighttime brings a more significant challenge, as the infected become more aggressive and numerous, pushing players to leverage every skill and tool in their arsenal.

The integration of parkour into combat allows for dynamic encounters.

Players can use their agility to evade attacks, create distance, or launch aerial assaults, adding a layer of strategy and excitement to each fight.

The game rewards creativity and adaptability, encouraging players to experiment with different tactics and combinations to overcome challenges.

Open-World Exploration

Dying Light 2’s open world is vast, dense, and teeming with secrets, challenges, and stories.

The city of Villedor is divided into several districts, each with its unique identity, ecosystem, and factions.

Exploration is deeply rewarding, with the game world packed with quests, collectibles, and environmental puzzles that reveal more about the story and setting.

The open-world design encourages exploration by making the environment an integral part of the gameplay, with every location offering potential resources, encounters, or narrative insights.

The world of Dying Light 2 is dynamic, changing based on player decisions.

Choices made in quests and interactions with factions can alter the balance of power, open or close areas, and affect the availability of resources.

This dynamic world ensures that each player’s experience is unique, with the game world reflecting the consequences of their actions.

Day-Night Cycle

The day-night cycle is a defining feature of Dying Light 2, drastically affecting the gameplay and strategy. During the day, the streets are relatively safer, with human factions and the occasional lone infected posing threats.

At night, the infected emerge en masse, transforming the city into a dangerous, high-stakes environment.

The transition from day to night alters the player’s approach to exploration and combat, with nighttime offering greater rewards at a higher risk. This cycle adds a layer of depth to the gameplay, forcing players to weigh the benefits of venturing out after dark against the potential dangers.

 

Dying Light 2 screenshot

Story and Character Development

Dying Light 2 embarks on a narrative journey that is both expansive and intimate, weaving a complex tale of survival, power, and choice in the post-apocalyptic city of Villedor.

The game’s approach to storytelling, quest design, and character development sets it apart, offering players a deeply engaging experience that resonates long after the credits roll.

Main Narrative

At the heart of Dying Light 2 is Aiden Caldwell, an infected survivor whose exceptional agility and combat skills stem from the very virus that has decimated humanity.

Aiden’s search for his sister, lost in the chaos of the outbreak, brings him to Villedor, a city teetering on the brink of collapse. Here, Aiden becomes entangled in a web of factional conflict, with the fate of the city and its people hanging in the balance.

The narrative is driven by choice, with players’ decisions significantly influencing the story’s direction and outcome.

This choice-driven storytelling extends beyond binary moral decisions, affecting the world in tangible ways, such as which factions gain power and how accessible certain areas of the city become.

This dynamic narrative structure ensures that each player’s story feels unique, personalized by their decisions and actions throughout the game.

Quest Design

Quest design in Dying Light 2 is a highlight, offering a variety of missions that range from high-stakes main story quests to side missions rich in character and lore.

Each quest is carefully crafted to immerse players in the world and its narratives, with many featuring multiple outcomes based on player choices. Side quests often delve into the lives and struggles of Villedor’s inhabitants, adding depth to the game world and offering rewards that go beyond mere loot, including insights into the city’s history and the virus’s impact.

The game excels in integrating quests with the exploration and parkour mechanics, turning missions into exhilarating adventures across the cityscape.

This design philosophy ensures that quests feel like an integral part of the game’s fabric, blending seamlessly with the gameplay and narrative.

Character Development and Interaction

Character development is a strong suit of Dying Light 2, with a cast of well-realized characters who bring the story to life. Aiden, as the protagonist, is a complex figure, haunted by his past and the virus coursing through his veins.

His interactions with the world and its inhabitants reveal layers of his personality, shaped by the player’s choices.

The supporting cast is equally compelling, from leaders of the various factions to ordinary citizens fighting to survive.

These characters are not mere quest givers; they have their own stories, ambitions, and fears, making Villedor feel like a living, breathing community. The game encourages players to engage with these characters, offering dialogues and decisions that influence their relationships and the city’s future.

Interaction with the game world is another aspect where Dying Light 2 shines.

The environment tells its own story, with graffiti, audio logs, and environmental storytelling adding layers to the narrative.

Exploring Villedor is not just about traversal and combat; it’s an opportunity to uncover the city’s secrets and understand the scale of the tragedy that has befallen it.

Dying Light 2 offers a rich narrative experience, marked by a compelling main story, intricate quest design, and deep character development.

The game’s emphasis on choice and consequence ensures that the story remains engaging throughout, with a world that reacts and changes based on player actions. This narrative depth, combined with the game’s immersive world, sets Dying Light 2 apart as a storytelling achievement in the survival-horror genre.

 

Dying Light 2 screenshot

Multiplayer and Co-op Gameplay

Dying Light 2 expands its horizons beyond the single-player experience by incorporating multiplayer features that allow players to dive into the chaos of Villedor together.

The inclusion of co-op gameplay not only enhances the fun and excitement but also deepens the overall game experience by introducing new dynamics and strategies.

Multiplayer Features

The co-op mode in Dying Light 2 enables up to four players to join forces and tackle the game’s challenges as a team.

This feature is seamlessly integrated, allowing friends to drop in and out of games without disrupting the flow of the narrative or gameplay.

Once in a co-op session, players can explore the city, complete quests, and participate in events together, making the vast, dangerous world of Villedor a bit less daunting.

One of the standout aspects of co-op play is how it retains the game’s focus on choice and consequence.

Decisions made in critical moments are voted on by all players, ensuring that everyone has a say in the story’s direction. This collaborative decision-making adds an extra layer of depth to the narrative, as players must weigh their choices not only based on personal preference but also considering the group’s dynamics.

Impact on Overall Game Experience

The integration of multiplayer and co-op gameplay significantly affects the overall experience of Dying Light 2, offering a different perspective on the game’s world and mechanics.

Playing with others brings a new level of strategy to combat and exploration. Players can coordinate attacks, devise complex strategies against tough enemies, or simply enjoy the thrill of parkouring through the city with friends.

Multiplayer gameplay also introduces an element of unpredictability and fun that can’t always be replicated in single-player mode.

Whether it’s helping each other overcome difficult obstacles, competing in friendly challenges, or experiencing the narrative together, the co-op mode enriches the game, making each session unique and memorable.

Moreover, the shared experiences in co-op play can lead to a deeper emotional connection to the story and its characters.

Witnessing the outcomes of collective decisions and facing the consequences together adds a layer of immersion and engagement, making the narrative moments more impactful.

 

Dying Light 2 screenshot

Comparison with Dying Light

Dying Light 2 not only continues the legacy of its predecessor but elevates the franchise to new heights through significant gameplay enhancements, a deeper narrative, and technical improvements.

A comparative look at both games illustrates how Techland has built upon the foundation of the original Dying Light to deliver a sequel that is both familiar and groundbreaking.

Gameplay Enhancements

The original Dying Light was celebrated for introducing parkour to the survival-horror genre, offering players an unprecedented level of mobility.

Dying Light 2 takes this concept further, refining the parkour mechanics to offer smoother, more varied movements that make traversing the city of Villedor an exhilarating experience.

The sequel also expands the combat system, introducing new weapons, crafting mechanics, and more strategic combat encounters.

While the original game laid the groundwork for combining parkour with combat, Dying Light 2 perfects this fusion, providing a more seamless and dynamic gameplay experience.

Another significant gameplay enhancement in Dying Light 2 is the introduction of a choice and consequence system that impacts the game world.

Unlike its predecessor, where the story followed a more linear path, the sequel allows players to make decisions that affect the city’s factions, areas, and even the narrative’s direction.

This dynamic approach to storytelling and world-building ensures that each player’s experience can be unique, adding depth and replayability to the game.

Story and Narrative Depth

While Dying Light was primarily focused on survival and the immediate threat of the infected, Dying Light 2 delves deeper into its narrative, exploring themes of humanity, power, and choice in the aftermath of the apocalypse.

The sequel presents a more complex and engaging story, with well-developed characters and a world that feels alive and responsive to player actions.

The narrative ambition of Dying Light 2 represents a significant evolution from its predecessor, offering a more immersive and emotionally resonant experience.

Technical Improvements

On the technical front, Dying Light 2 showcases significant advancements over the original.

Leveraging newer gaming hardware, the sequel boasts improved graphics, with more detailed environments, advanced lighting effects, and more realistic character models.

The game’s performance has also been optimized, offering smoother frame rates and faster loading times, enhancing the overall gameplay experience.

The day-night cycle, a hallmark of the original game, has been further refined in Dying Light 2.”

The transition between day and night is more pronounced, with nightfall bringing a palpable shift in atmosphere and gameplay dynamics. The infected are more formidable after dark, and the increased risk is balanced with greater rewards, adding an extra layer of strategy to the game.

 

Dying Light 2 screenshot

Strengths and Weaknesses

Dying Light 2 is a monumental achievement in the survival-horror genre, offering an expansive, immersive world brimming with danger and opportunity. However, like any ambitious endeavor, it exhibits both remarkable strengths and areas that could benefit from improvement.

Strengths

Parkour System: The game’s parkour mechanics are unparalleled, providing fluid and exhilarating movement that makes exploring the vast city of Villedor a delight. This system is not only fun but integrates seamlessly with combat and exploration, enhancing the overall gameplay experience.

Dynamic Open World: Dying Light 2 features a richly detailed open world that responds to player actions. The choice and consequence system adds depth to the game, allowing players to shape the fate of Villedor and its inhabitants. This dynamic approach to world-building is a significant strength, offering a personalized experience and high replay value.

Visual and Audio Design: The game shines in its visual and auditory presentation. The detailed environments, advanced lighting effects, and atmospheric audio design work together to create a post-apocalyptic world that is both beautiful and haunting. The day-night cycle further enhances this, transforming the game world and how players interact with it.

Engaging Story and Characters: With a narrative that explores complex themes and characters with depth and nuance, “Dying Light 2” offers a compelling story that goes beyond typical survival-horror fare. The emphasis on choice ensures that players are invested in the outcome, making for a more engaging experience.

Areas for Improvement

Technical Glitches: Despite the technical improvements over its predecessor, Dying Light 2 is not without its glitches. Some players have reported bugs that, while not game-breaking, can momentarily disrupt the immersion Techland has worked so hard to build.

A.I. Behavior: The behavior of both human enemies and the infected can sometimes lack variety, making some combat encounters feel repetitive. Enhancing A.I. complexity could provide a more challenging and varied combat experience.

Narrative Pacing: While the story is engaging, the pacing can be uneven at times, with certain sections of the game feeling rushed or others dragging. A more consistent pacing could enhance the narrative flow and maintain player engagement throughout the entire experience.

Multiplayer Integration: The co-op mode adds a fun dimension to the game, allowing players to tackle the challenges of Villedor together. However, the integration of multiplayer aspects could be smoother, with some players experiencing issues with connectivity and matchmaking. Refining these systems would make co-op play more accessible and enjoyable.

 

Dying Light 2 screenshot

Final Thoughts and Verdict

Dying Light 2 is not merely a sequel but a bold leap forward for the survival-horror genre, blending high-flying parkour, strategic combat, and a dynamic world into an engrossing experience. T

echland has crafted a game that honors the legacy of its predecessor while pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in open-world design and narrative depth.

The game impresses with its meticulous attention to detail, from the fluidity of parkour to the atmospheric tension of the day-night cycle.

Its strengths lie in its ability to immerse players in a post-apocalyptic world that feels alive, reactive, and endlessly fascinating. The narrative depth, enhanced by a choice-driven storyline, offers a compelling reason to explore every corner of Villedor and interact with its diverse inhabitants.

Dying Light 2 is highly recommended for a wide array of gamers. F

ans of the original will appreciate how it expands upon the first game’s foundations, offering a richer, more nuanced experience.

Newcomers will find it an accessible entry point into the series, thanks to its engaging gameplay and immersive world.

Action-adventure enthusiasts and those who favor narrative-driven games will also find much to love, with the game’s blend of exhilarating parkour, strategic combat, and deep storytelling.

For Different Types of Gamers:

Action-Adventure Fans: The combination of fluid parkour and combat mechanics makes “Dying Light 2” a thrilling experience.

Story Enthusiasts: Players who appreciate a well-told narrative will find the game’s choice-driven story engaging.

Explorers and Completionists: The vast, dynamic world offers countless hours of exploration and side quests.

Co-op Aficionados: Despite some areas needing refinement, the co-op mode provides a fun way to experience the game with friends.

In Conclusion

Dying Light 2 is a testament to Techland’s vision and dedication.

The game not only stands out in the survival-horror genre but also raises the bar for open-world action games. Its blend of mechanics, storytelling, and immersive world-building crafts an experience that is both deeply personal and universally appealing.

As a milestone in the genre, Dying Light 2 demonstrates the potential of video games to combine thrilling gameplay with meaningful narratives.

Its place in the survival-horror genre and the broader gaming landscape is secured not only by what it achieves but also by its ambition to innovate and engage players in unprecedented ways.

Dying Light 2offers something for nearly every type of gamer. It’s a rich, expansive game that rewards exploration, strategy, and engagement, setting a new standard for what the future of survival-horror and action-adventure games can be.

Images are from the Dying Light 2 page on Steam used under Fair Use.