Dying Light 2: Stay Human PS5 Review – Since its announcement, Dying Light 2 had been rumoured to have endured plenty of trouble during its development cycle, but Techland has done such an amazing job that you wouldn’t have guessed otherwise.
After spending over a hundred and fifty hours with the original Dying Light, I was sceptical with the direction the sequel was taking when it was initially revealed. However, after playing through Dying Light 2, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it surpasses its predecessor in almost every way.
Dying Light 2: Stay Human Review (PS5)
A Good Story, With Plenty Of Twists And Impactful Decisions To Make
Stay Human tells the story of Aiden in his search for his missing sister. To achieve this, Aiden, a pilgrim, needs to head inside the quarantined city Villedor from the outside. However, the quarantine has since failed, and the infected now roam the streets, while Peacekeepers try their best to keep the remaining survivors safe.
I can’t speak too much of the story, but I have to mention that, early in the story, Aiden becomes infected, which is an important note as it directly influences the game and its mechanics. As we learn more about Aiden we come to discover that he along with his sister were used in experiments when they were younger by a man named Waltz.
Waltz’s influence can be seen throughout the game. Not only is he a prominent figure talked about in the main quest, but side quests also deliver valuable tidbits about him and the world and its current state.
As you arrive in Villedor the city is on the verge of a rebellion. The survivors are getting tired of being controlled and policed by the Peacekeepers tasked with keeping everyone safe. Their leader, Lucas, was found murdered in the Bazaar, a Survivor stronghold, and the Peacekeepers demand answers.
Choose Wisley Because It Could Mean Life Or Death
The majority of the game’s conflict is between the Survivors and the Peacekeepers, and Aiden must pick sides in various quests and missions. These missions have a massive impact on the game as it determines what characters survive and help you on your quest to find your sister, how the world sees you, and the upgrades provided.
As you liberate specific vital locations on the map, you’ll have the decision to either give control of said location to the Survivors or the Peacekeepers. Depending on your decision, you’ll gain benefits such as cars being rigged with explosives around the city that lure infected to them before detonating or having jump pads installed to reach rooftops of buildings with better ease.
Missions and quests are also affected by these decisions as you give territory to one group, the other loses territory, and in turn, quests become inaccessible for opposite factions, so to experience everything the game has to offer, you’ll have to go through multiple playthroughs.
Smooth Traversal And Plenty Of Exploration To Keep You Occupied
Parkour returns as your primary transversal method, and it’s just as smooth as you could’ve hoped. Jumping rooftop to rooftop is easy, and almost every surface with any crack or grove on a wall can be scaled. I never had a problem figuring out where I could go to reach my destination. For the most part, you can run straight into anything, and Aiden climbs it.
When you reach the massive metropolitan part of the city, huge skyscrapers aren’t as easily scaleable, but thankfully you unlock a paraglider that allows you to transverse the gigantic buildings.
Once you unlock some skills, transversal becomes even smoother, allowing you to use the infected as stepping stones to jump up and reach high ledges and have the ability to land from a great height and go into a roll to keep your momentum going.
Stamina Drains Way Too Fast Even When Fully Upgraded
One thing that slows the exploration is stamina. Early on, your stamina is so low that chances of you falling off buildings are higher than actually successfully climbing one. Even with upgrades, that stamina bar feels like it drains a little faster than it should. In addition, when paragliding, you use stamina so when you run out of stamina gliding across the city, you’ll fall to your death.
Exploration is a massive aspect of Dying Light 2 and, quite honestly, the most fun part of it for me. I loved running around the city, encountering random events and exploring buildings to find crafting materials and, more importantly, GRE Crates to increase my Heath and Stamina.
Dying Light 2 has so many activities to do you’ll find yourself completely overwhelmed, but not so much that you feel confused or lost in what you should be doing next. Some of these activities may seem too daunting early on, but the rewards are worth it.
These activities have you breaking into abandoned military vehicles to acquire high-end materials and searching medical facilities swarming with infected to find GRE crates for upgrades.
Night Time Exploration Provides Plentiful Rewards But At A Major Cost
Though Dying Light 2 is great fun in the daytime, it becomes almost an entirely different type of game when night falls. At night the infected come out of buildings that they usually hibernate in along with special infected. Special infected like the Howler, which you can deduce from its name, howls into the night summoning fast-running infected to come after you once it spots you.
This initiates a chase as more and more infected swarm to your location. If you don’t get to a safe place powered by Ultraviolet lights eventually, you’ll be overwhelmed and killed. There is a benefit to playing at night, however. Buildings become less populated with infected at night, allowing you to search them more accessibly, and your experience gains in combat and parkour also get a boost after sun down.
You gain separate EXP for both combat and parkour. The more enemies you defeat you’ll gain combat EXP, while performing parkour movies while being chased and fighting will net you EXP in traversal. The aforementioned night boost increase is saved until dawn breaks, at which point it’s distributed to you. If you happen to die at night, all that extra EXP you earned will be lost.
One aspect of nighttime expiration that’s discouraging is your infection. At night your infection starts to take hold, and you have a certain amount of time to explore before you need to find some UV light to reset the timer. You transform and get a game over screen if your timer reaches zero.
If, for some reason, you can’t reach a safe location, you can find UV mushrooms to crush, restoring some of the timer and booster inhalers you can craft. The materials for these items aren’t too difficult to acquire, but the timer discouraged me from exploring at night a lot.
Upgrading Weapons And Crafting Are Simple And Easy
Like the first title, Dying Light 2 has a full-on crafting system. Though you can’t craft weapons or armour, you can upgrade your weapons and customize them. Crafting mods to your weapons with a chance to set your enemies on fire – while also allowing them to create an explosion – is very satisfying, as you essentially have a chance of hitting an enemy and turning them into a flaming cannonball.
The most important part of crafting comes in the tools and supportive items you can craft as long as you have the blueprints. Crafting lockpicks to break into locked rooms and chests, healing items and Inhalers to give you a boost in strength and stamina as well as staving off the infection at night, are just some of the options at your disposal.
You can also upgrade blueprints that improve the items you craft. Upgrading the lockpicking blueprint allows you to craft lockpicks in a bundle rather than individually and, later on, enable you to automatically unlock doors without having to go through the lockpicking minigame.
Enemies Provide A Great Challange That Require Some Strategic Timing and Maneuvering
For the most part, combat remains the same as the previous Dying Light, in that it’s simple when it comes to offensive strikes. When facing off against the infected, swinging your weapon is the only thing that matters as it mainly kills everything, even the special infected. When it comes to the human enemies, though, things are a lot different.
Human foes are more intelligent and will do whatever it takes to take you down. Stay too far away from them, and they start to throw daggers at you from a distance; constantly attacking won’t help either as they begin to block your attacks and even stun you and counter-attack. As such, human enemies can be a pain to deal with and incredibly satisfying to defeat.
Finding the right strategy and skills to take down a group of enemies is extremely rewarding. There are even times when I would purposely lead a group of infected to help me in combat as it forces them to face off against each other.
The skills you unlock play a significant role in taking on the human enemies as most of the skills you can unlock focus on countering and manoeuvrability against them. I would have liked more skills to be helpful against the infected, but by the end of the day, the dropkick gets the job done against everyone.
A Visually Stunning Game With Great Sound Design
Visually, Dying Light 2 is a stunning looking game, especially in Quality mode. Seeing the vast world presented in 4K is pure eye candy, while the Infected are impressively detailed, with peeling flesh and exposed muscle tissue, and the character animations are all top-notch.
However, I would have liked more interactivity and involvement between characters during many of the cutscenes, as they tend to stand around staring at you when they talk for the most part.
The soundtrack, unfortunately, isn’t my favourite, and the tracks used throughout the game I felt didn’t match the situation that Aiden had found himself in. Thankfully the voice work and sound design more than make up for it.
Every hit from a blunt weapon emits a painful crunch, and every slash feels like it’s clawing through flesh to the bone. Meanwhile, hearing the infected grow and moan inside buildings as the sound echoes can be one of the most harrowing and debilitating things. I found myself stopping in place, hoping not to encounter whatever it was I just heard.
A Step Up From Its Predecessor In Every Way
Dying Light 2: Stay Human came from a troubled development cycle with numerous delays and shines in its final release. I loved my time in the town of Villedor and seamlessly traversing the world makes me wish every game allowed for such fluid movement. Though combat is pretty basic in its design, it is made more strategic when your enemy can use all the same tricks and skills as you.