An open-world zombie game released in 2015, “Dying Light” is a fantastic game. The good aspects of the game highlight exactly what makes video games fun. However, despite this, “Dying Light” is not perfect. In fact, its flaws fall victim to a disappointing series of tropes plaguing modern gaming.
The Protagonist: The protagonist in “Dying Light” exemplifies one of the biggest problems facing modern games: their lack of diversity. “Dying Light” features white American Kyle Crane as its hero, joining the ranks of countless other video game protagonists. Making this even worse is the fact that the game appears to take place in a Middle Eastern setting, with an American hero swooping in to save the day.
The Story: In the same line as its protagonist, “Dying Light’s” story is generic at best. It has all the tropes of an action movie, from the evil bad guy to the shadowy government agency. I was rarely interested in the story, making it all the more infuriating when I was forced to slow down and pay attention. Although stories in games are improving, “Dying Light” shows why people often do not take stories in games seriously.
The Tutorial: It’s a small detail, but the tutorial for “Dying Light” highlights the problems in tutorials across gaming. It takes far too long to get the player into the game. Instead, it forces the player to go through a lengthy tutorial filled to the brim with uninteresting story.
The Bosses: Another problem is “Dying Light’s” boring boss encounters. While some games, like “Bloodborne” (2015), manage to have bosses that add to the experience, most others do not. “Dying Light” is one such game where the boss encounters detract from the experience. They are frustrating and break the game’s momentum.
The Gameplay: Part of the reason why “Dying Light’s” story is so grating is because of how amazing the gameplay is. Bounding across rooftops and sliding through crowds of zombies is an absolute blast. The moment-to-moment gameplay is engaging, and the parkour movement is almost always fluid. While combat can be boring at first, it only improves as the game goes on. Being forced to take a break from this brilliant gameplay to listen to a generic story conversation highlights both the good gameplay and flaws with the story. “Dying Light” shows how fun minute-to-minute gameplay can overcome significant flaws with a game.
The World: “Dying Light’s” Middle East-inspired fictional city of Harran is a fantastically realized world. Although its details may go unnoticed because of the frantic and fast-paced gameplay, the world is beautiful and never fails to instill a strong sense of place. Harran’s Old Town stands out as one of the most beautiful areas I have encountered in a game. Its architecture is stunning and truly feels like a once-beautiful city. “Dying Light’s” world exemplifies the power of games to create beautiful, immersive and fun worlds.