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Mad Max Review

A truly open world Mad Max game has been talked about for ages. Finally, after all the talking, Avalanche Studios have gone ahead and created the Mad Max game fans have wanted. However, is it what we’ve all been waiting for? Let’s find out.

Mad Max follows the titular character Max Rockatansky as he journeys to the Plains of Silence. However, Max is attacked by a group of War Boys led by Scabrous Scrotus. The group strips of Max of most of his clothing, his suppliers and worst of all, his prized car, the Interceptor. Left for dead, Max sets off to gather supplies and find his vehicle. While traversing the wasteland he meets a hunchback by the name of Chumbucket, an incredibly gifted mechanic set on building the perfect vehicle, which he names the Magnum Opus. The two reluctantly decide to work together after Chumbucket gives Max hope of taking revenge on Scrotus. The two then set off together in the Magnum Opus in search of water, food, fuel and upgrades.

The story starts off rather nicely and is enough to keep players interested in progressing. This tends to disappear for most of the game, however, and picks up toward the end. Despite coming in rather late, the storytelling does quite well at the end. It’s just a little unfortunate that it wasn’t consistent throughout the game.

The characters are also quite diverse and each has their own quirks. This coupled with the wasteland and lore from the Mad Max universe makes it quite an experience.

In terms of gameplay, Mad Max shines most of the time. Its progression system is incredibly addictive as it sees you completing challenges in order to earn tokens, which can then be traded with Griffa to upgrade Max’s base attributes. It sounds like one giant chore but you never actually realise that you’re actively taking on challenges. Completion notifications pop up as you engage in various activities around the wasteland. Completing challenges and activities also raises Max’s rank, which in turn unlocks more upgrades for purchasing.

Scrap functions as the game’s currency and can be used for purchasing upgrades for both Max and the Magnum Opus. Scrap can be found almost anywhere throughout the wasteland. Camps are a good source for this and so is destroying enemy vehicles. Mad Max always feels as if you’re earning something more that improves your experience. It works well at keeping the player interested and is extremely rewarding.

Hand-to-hand combat is somewhat similar to the Freeflow Combat System from the Batman Arkham Series but is only significantly more brutal. Light attacks, heavy attacks, timed counters and brutal executions make for a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Throughout scraps, Max will enter a bloodlust type state called Fury Mode in which his attacks do so much more damage and also open up a slur of devastating attacks, making your jaw drop as you pull them off. The only real problem I have with the on foot mechanics was that the controls featured a jump button that doesn’t really aid the player in anyway. It’s an awkward jump at best that doesn’t really accomplish much in terms of traversal.

Vehicular combat is very Mad Max-esque and devilishly satisfying. The Magnum Opus starts off being rather basic in terms of offense and defense but as players progress, it becomes a vessel of destruction. The amount of ways to destroy enemy vehicles is abundant. Side swiping, shooting exposed fuel drums and taking cars apart using your harpoon is only a small taste of possible attacks. Learning and mastering these attacks are essential to Max’s survival as patrols are never too far away.

There’s so much to do throughout the wasteland and should keep players busy from start to finish. Aside from the story, players can decrease the influence of Warlords by pulling down sniper towers, destroying camps, killing Top Dogs and destroying Scarecrows. Additionally, there are Death Races to take part in and minefields to clear. While activities can be found at almost every turn, they do tend to become a bit repetitive due it featuring no real variance throughout the game.

Mad Max is visually appealing almost all the way through. Character models and animations have been done well and the wasteland is a desolate landscape but is yet so captivating to look at. However, while it does look rather pretty, Mad Max suffers from dips to the frame here and there and also some pop in textures.

The game’s audio is very much on par with its visuals. The voice acting is decently done and seems fitting that Max is voiced by an Australian voice actor. The Magnum Opus also sounds incredible. Its powerful engine roars to life when accelerating and its tyres crunch over gravel roads when hitting the brakes.

Mad Max is an enjoyable game. It has all the ingredients to create a recipe for a Mad Max game but unfortunately falls short in some places. Its setting, characters and story fit really well with the universe and just feels right. The storytelling, however, is somewhat inconsistent and only really only succeeds towards the very end.

Gameplay wise, it is a cocktail of brutal combat mixed with a decent progression system. It’s a blast to pick up and play but can take some time to master, especially when dealing with some of the larger crowds. Visually, the game is fun to look at when the framerate isn’t dipping and textures aren’t popping in. The audio department also excels at hitting all the right notes from the voice acting to the sound effects. While it may be a bit of flawed experience, Mad Max is still enjoyable and terribly addictive.

The Breakdown:
Story: 7.5/10
Gameplay: 8.5/10
Lasting appeal: 8/10
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 8/10

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Review

The Metal Gear series is one that has picked up quite a following since its inception. The series spanned a period of nearly 30 years and has just gone from strength to strength. After much anticipation, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has been released and looks to finish what Ground Zeroes started.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain takes place after the events of Ground Zeroes and once again, players will assume the role of Big Boss or as he is nicknamed in the events in this game, Punished “Venom” Snake. The Phantom Pain takes place approximately 9 years after the events from Ground Zeroes. Big Boss has just awoken from a 9 year coma and is not in the best shape. Weak and missing his left arm, Big Boss escapes certain death when the hospital he is lying in is suddenly attacked by a group that wants him dead.

During the escape, he meets up with Revolver Ocelot, who aids him in getting to safety and is working with a new mercenary group called Diamond Dogs. Diamond Dogs was created by Boss’s old partner from their previous group MSF. As the game progresses, Big Boss uncovers more clues about the group on which he and Diamond Dogs would like to exact revenge. He also discovers that the group, Cipher, has some secret plans that he will need to put an end to.

The story is crafted nicely and provides adequate motivation for players to undertake various missions for Diamond Dogs. However, unlike previous games in the series, The Phantom Pain’s storyline contains fewer scripted memorable moments. The prologue to the game was an excellent introduction and possibly even overshadows the story that follows. It’s a little unfortunate as the series has always been about telling a story with a few twists. The characters handle carry what story there is rather well, however, and there’s quite a fair share of them.

In terms of gameplay, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain can be a little overwhelming once the mechanics are explained to you and you are given this massive open world to explore. Once you get the hang of it, however, it makes the gameplay just so much more enjoyable.

The game will take players to various locations around the world, namely Afghanistan and Africa. Each location has a slur of missions and side ops that can be played through and these yield GMP, which is the game’s currency, and other materials used for development of new items and upgrades. The locations also have multiple areas littered with enemies, resources and ammo.

While it is primarily a game about being stealthy, The Phantom Pain lets you take the approach that you prefer to use. You may start a mission off stealthily but then decide to go loud halfway through; the best part being that it doesn’t punish you as much as other stealth games do. The game features a day and night cycle which can either aid or hamper your sneaking and guard shifts change regularly, leaving a gap for Big Boss to exploit. If someone spots you as you’re sneaking through an outpost, a brief slow motion sequence called “Reflex Mode” activates, giving you the opportunity to silently take out the enemy who spotted you in order to prevent a full combat alert. It’s a really nice touch and makes for some exciting moments. The choices made and tense moments of nearly getting caught make for some memorable instances that the campaign somewhat fails to deliver at times.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain offers incentive to not kill every enemy you come across, however, as every enemy you find can be added as staff to Mother Base, the HQ of Diamond Dogs. Players are able to play the main game without ever dabbling in the managing of Mother Base, but this can come at a serious disadvantage. Very early in the game, the Fulton Recovery System is introduced to Big Boss and this is where things become very interesting. Big Boss is able to recruit enemies to the Diamond Dogs cause by force; this is done by simply knocking them out or putting them to sleep with a tranquiliser dart. Once the enemy is out, Boss can attach the Fulton balloon to the target and it is collected by an aircraft which takes them back to Mother Base where Ocelot “convinces” them to join the cause.

Recruited individuals become a part of the Diamond Dogs ranks and are slotted into different teams based on their skills. Initially the only team available is the R&D Team, which allows Big Boss to develop upgrades for his equipment, new tools and items and of course, more guns. As progression is made throughout the game, more teams become available and additional functions are added such as deploying squads on missions to earn more GMP, resources and recruit more members. Teams are upgraded by recruiting skilled members with higher skills. The higher skilled potential recruits can be located in the world by interrogating the various soldiers littered around the map. The sheer amount of guns, gadgets and vehicles that can be unlocked via managing Mother Base is astounding. It also gives you new ways of approaching missions. It becomes quite enjoyable as the game goes on.

Visually, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain looks amazing. The various locations have been crafted well and are an absolute pleasure to explore. Character models and animations look great and the slow motion Reflex Mode adds the right amount of blur to show off the slowing down of time.

Audio wise, the game excels. Regular series composer Harry Gregson-Williams returns to provide a soundtrack that hits all of the right notes almost all of the time. The voice acting is quite superb, however, this is mostly for the supporting characters. Troy Baker does a fantastic job at voicing Revolver Ocelot. Kiefer Sutherland once again voices Big Boss, but unfortunately has very little to say throughout the campaign. There aren’t any real long conversations where we can hear him really giving life to Big Boss, which is a little sad.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a great game. While its story leaves quite a bit to be desired, the supporting characters are interesting and help move the narrative along. Additionally, the gameplay is excellent and is really a treat for the player as it gives them options for approaches to missions. Many of the memorable moments that can be experienced are likely to be unscripted events that take place in the field. While the typical Metal Gear narrative is not present and some longtime fans may be disappointed, the gameplay makes up for its shortcomings and will have players hooked on the various features within the game.

The Breakdown:
Story: 8.2/10
Gameplay: 9.7/10
Lasting appeal: 9.3/10
Graphics: 9.5/10
Sound: 9.3/10

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Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate Review

Victorian London and the Industrial Revolution has always been a rather interesting setting for me due to its culture and the technological advancements at the time. What better way to enjoy it than putting a twist on it involving the Assassins and Templars. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate takes place during this era and is pleasantly surprising.

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate takes place in Victorian London shortly after the Industrial Revolution. The story follows the twins Jacob and Evie Frye, young Assassins who decide to liberate London from the clutches of the Templar Crawford Starrick. Starrick has his hands in almost every part of London; from the gangs to the factories and even higher up, his influence seems to know no bounds. The twins decide to take London back by starting to infiltrate the seedy criminal underworld and working their way up.

The story is interesting in terms of the war between the Assassins and Templars and the setting is just great. One of the best parts of the game’s narrative is the relationship between Jacob and Evie. While both are Assassins and seem to have the same goal, the two differ when it comes to the manner in which they intend to get it done. Jacob’s more immediate goal is to start a gang called The Rooks in order to liberate London while Evie’s is to find the Pieces of Eden before the Templars do. This causes the twins to disagree and take shots at each other now and then when discussing plans. It’s entertaining to watch and makes the duo rather likeable. I felt like I identified more with Evie, however, since it always felt like she saw the bigger picture or made smarter choices. I did like Jacob though because of his charming and brash attitude; it reminded me very much of a young Ezio Auditore.

While the story moves along very well, it is somewhat ruined by a rather weak ending, which is disappointing for a campaign that does fairly well.

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate also features some real people from history. Notable figures include Alexander Graham Bell, Charles Dickens and Florence Nightingale, to name a few.

Gameplay is largely similar from Assassin’s Creed Unity in terms of traversal, not so much in terms of combat. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicated utilises Unity’s ability to free run up and free run down by holding the corresponding button. Climbing up and down buildings is still one of the best parts of the game, despite the controls being a tad iffy at times. To aid traversal, Syndicate introduces a rope launcher to climb buildings in a hurry to cross some of the wider streets and roads without having to drop down from a rooftop in order to do so. It’s not going to allow Jacob or Evie to zip around like Batman, which is good. It doesn’t feel too advanced for its era in that regard  and fits with the industrial revolution theme, which is a nice touch.

Additionally, there are many carriages that litter the streets. These play a big part in some missions and side activities and are also a nice way to cover ground much faster, especially given the size of the map. Another thing to mention is that they handle pretty well.

Jacob and Evie both have their own strengths. Evie is much better at being stealthy while Jacob is more proficient at close combat. Players are able to switch between the twins on the fly when doing side activities, however, this is not possible when playing missions from the campaign; it’s perfectly understandable since most of the time the two go separate ways.

Each character’s skill tree is pretty much the same, save for a few upgrades that are specific to a particular character. For example, one of Evie’s specific upgrades allows her to become invisible while she’s stationary.

Combat is a lot more fast paced than it’s been in the previous games. There’s less waiting around waiting to counter as attacking an enemy is much more enticing. Racking up a decent combo, breaking an enemy’s defense and finishing off two near-death enemies makes the combat much more exciting and variable. Countering is still a big part of combat but it’s mainly for saving health and keeping a combo going. One thing I would’ve liked is if there were more ways to dispatch enemies non-lethally but this is a small gripe that doesn’t really take away from the game.

The Assassin’s will meet a few allies along the way who function as associates. Doing side missions that pertain to a particular associate will increase loyalty with them, which ultimately unlocks additional weapons, outfits and gear. There’s never really a reason to spend money on an item as it is likely to be unlocked by means of gaining loyalty with allies. It’s a nice incentive to put some effort into the side missions.

As mentioned previously, the map in Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is rather large and is divided up into different areas. Completing some of the main activities increases the influence and control of the Assassins in that area. Once the control has gotten to about 90%, this will trigger a gang war with the leader in that area. Defeating a leader, gives you complete control in that area and will also increase the amount of income received at the base.

Aside from the upgrades of Jacob and Evie, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate also features gang upgrades. These range from upgrading the level of The Rooks to make them more useful in a fight to paying the police bribes in order for them to occasionally turn a blind eye. Theses upgrades ultimately make your life a little easier but come at a bit of a cost. Aside from just spending the in-game currency, resources will also need to be spent in order to purchase these upgrades and craft other items. These resources can be found in chests and looted from enemies but are mostly obtained from doing side missions for some associates; another incentive to focus on them now and then.

Visually, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate looks great. It’s a really good looking title and just seems to capture the era so well. This especially true at night when the wet cobblestone streets reflect the light from a nearby lamp post. Additionally, I didn’t encounter any real bugs or glitches that forced me to reload at any point. Audio is very much on par with the game’s visuals.The game features superb voice acting that really make the characters feel more likeable.

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is an awesome game. It captures the essence of Victorian London really well and the characters throughout the narrative are likeable. Gameplay is enjoyable despite the odd grabbing of the wrong ledge. The combat is satisfying as it is much faster paced and becomes quite addictive when you start racking up increasingly larger combos.

Controlling of London also feels great, from the gangwars to upgrading of the Rooks, it’s nice to see how the upgrades influence the proficiency of the gang members. Despite its weak ending, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is an enjoyable experience and feels like a worthy entry in the series.

The Breakdown:
Story: 8/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Lasting appeal: 8/10
Graphics: 9.3/10
Sound: 9.3/10

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Star Wars Battlefront Review

Developed by DICE and published by EA, Star Wars Battlefront feels like the Star Wars shooter everyone has been waiting for. While it does do quite a bit right in terms of gameplay, sometimes Battlefront loses its way.

The gameplay in Star Wars Battlefront is decent. It handles like your standard FPS game in that you are able to shoot, jump, crouch and use other items such as grenades, the only real exception being that you are able to switch to a third-person view if you so wish.

There isn’t any real single-player campaign in Battlefront. However, there is a Survival Mode, which is actually a lot of fun. The single-player or cooperative mode pits Rebel players against wave after wave of increasingly difficult Imperial soldiers. As the waves go on, soldiers gain upgrades such as increased armour, invisibility and jetpacks. It’s rather rewarding especially on some of the higher difficulties. The only problem with this mode is that there aren’t many reasons to play A survival mission once you’ve completed it, unless of course you just want something to tackle with a friend, which is never a bad thing.

Star Wars Battlefront has a plethora of modes; unfortunately only a few stand out and will most likely be the modes that you will frequent during your time with the game. The modes I found that stood out the most were Drop Zone, Supremacy and Walker Assault.

Drop Zone is an 8v8 mode in which players compete to capture drop pods. Successfully capturing a pod rewards the team with victory points, which adds to the score. This also initiates the next drop and one-use items such as turrets and mines.

Supremacy is essentially Conquest Mode from the Battlefield series. Supremacy features two teams of 20 players fighting for control of outposts over a large map. Like conquest, players are able to make use of vehicles to move around and with enough skill, can ultimately turn the tide in a match. Available vehicles include AT-ST’s and X-Wings. This can also affect the combat behaviour of the infantry as raining down fire forces a change in tactics. It’s dynamic the way it changes and is an enjoyable factor of the gameplay.

Walker Assault essentially combines the gameplay of both modes while giving the Imperials a bit of an advantage as AT-AT Walkers march on toward a rebel base in order to wipe it from the map. Rebels have to capture uplink stations in order to guide their Y-Wings in order to attack the walkers. They’re formidable foes, to say the least, so any damage done to them feels like a real accomplishment. Out of the many modes available, Walker Assault feels like the most authentic Star Wars experience.

What also makes the gameplay rather exciting is the different loadouts that players use when going into a match. One player’s loadout may not be the same as the next, which makes it a variable experience. As players earn XP from combat experience, credits are earned. These credits can be used to purchase different blasters and items to be equipped. The purchased items range from grenades, jetpack boosts and special guns. Three items can be equipped at once in the form of star cards. The left and right cards hold grenades or a sniper rifle with one round; these recharge after a few seconds after being used. The middle card holds expendable items such as a shield, however, more charges can be found around the map. It’s a interesting and good way to handle the progression as it doesn’t lock players to a certain class when playing.

Aside from items and weapons used in loadouts, players can find tokens on the map for various one-use items such as turrets and explosives. In addition, players can also find tokens for vehicles such as AT-ST’s, X-Wings and Tie Fighters, which can make a battle a little more interesting. Hero Tokens can also be found on the map and these allow players to turn into character such as Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker or Han Solo. These characters are a lot stronger than your average soldier and can be devastating once introduced to a conflict. Each character has their own strengths and tactical advantage. Usually once a Hero enters the fray, the opposing force tends to head in the other direction for fear of being annihilated. It’s a nice touch and somewhat funny to see your opposition running away from you.

Unfortunately not all of Star Wars Battlefront’s modes are great. Fighter Squadron is a decent mode for pilots who want to get the hang of the ships but it feels too simple due to it being aerial combat only and doesn’t involve infantry. Blast is your classic Team Deathmatch; it’s fun as a starting mode but it’s highly likely that you won’t be coming back to it after enjoying Drop Zone, Supremacy and Walker Assault.

Then there are modes that just feel like no one would play them. Hero Hunt and Heroes vs Villains don’t really offer anything new to players enjoying other modes. They also have the tendency of being a little tedious.

A lot of the modes in Star Wars Battlefront (and I mean a lot) come across as being filler content and not really something to be enjoyed. It’s almost as if DICE has gone in the direction of delivering as much fan service as possible, which is not a bad thing, but at times it feels as if the game loses its way, forgetting to focus on game modes that work and are enjoyable.

Star Wars Battlefront is a great looking game. When playing the game for the first time, players will see that the visuals in the game are just beautiful. Character models and animations have been well done. The explosions look great and the signature impact sparks of blaster fire has been recreated incredibly. What really stands out, however, is the different memorable locations from the Star Wars franchise and how maps have been created to feel suited for the locations. For example, Hoth is covered in snow and has various ice caverns which creates a feeling of claustrophobia, while Endor is a map covered with hiding places and sniping opportunities thanks to the dense vegetation.

In terms of audio, Battlefront shines most of the time. Blaster fire sounds great and explosions match the visual quality of how they look. At first, the voice work by characters such as Darth Vader and Han Solo seemed fitting but it soon became quite monotonous after a phrase was repeated for the fourth time. Additionally, the one liners spouted by the Heroes felt so cheesy and cringeworthy that you start to wish that they weren’t there. Famous themes such as the Imperial March make appearances here and there; sometimes the original score by DICE goes with it rather well, other times it feels strangely out of place, which is disappointing.

Star Wars Battlefront is a good game and feels like the authentic Star Wars shooter we’ve all been waiting for. However, the game isn’t great all of the time and loses its way occasionally; this is especially true when it comes to the different modes available with the majority not being very enjoyable. That said, the game handles really well and the different possible loadouts make combat interesting.

Visually, the game shines with its environments and maps. Even better yet, the attention to detail such as scorch marks found on X-Wings. Unfortunately the same can not be said about the sound due to the cheesy one liners and intermittently misplaced soundtrack. However, most of the sound effects such as blaster fire and resonating of a lightsaber are on point and give me a feeling nostalgia.

While it may not be the best Star Wars game ever and sometimes feels misguided, Battlefront still does quite a bit right in terms of being a decent Star Wars shooter and mostly feels rather authentic.

The Breakdown:
Gamplay: 9/10
Multiplayer: 7.5/10
Lasting appeal: 7/10
Graphics: 9/10
Sounds: 8/10

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Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition Review

Dying Light has been re-released in a more tempting package, which includes all previously released DLC including its new standalone expansion entitled The Following. Aptly titled Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced edition, I had loads of fun going back to Dying Light and then heading into The Following. Check out the original review below followed by the impressions of The Following.

Dying Light follows Kyle Crane, an undercover operative for the GRE (Global Relief Effort) who is dropped into the fictional city of Harran. His mission is to find a political figure who has gone rogue and is in possession of a file that could possibly destroy the reputation of his agency. This would be significantly easier if Harran has not been hit rather hard by a virus that has turned the majority of the population into aggressive zombie-like creatures. After being dropped into Harran, Crane is rescued by some survivors from a sanctuary known as the Tower. It isn’t long after he is rescued that Crane becomes a ray of hope for the survivors in the sanctuary.

Dying Light’s story isn’t particularly gripping and the characters suffer from not being fleshed out enough. Even the main villain is a little cliche. The plot progresses from start to end while being fairly straightforward. Additionally, there aren’t too many surprises either.

Side missions are great and provide a good distraction when not playing the main story. Helping survivors with their missions can be rather interesting as you discover what their requests may be; to either survive their daily lives or for something important or sentimental that they may have left behind somewhere. While some of these do result in a simple fetch-quest, there were often times when the first part of the quest may have seemed simple but then escalated into something a little more interesting. I quite liked how many of the side missions had multiple parts.

Gameplay takes place from a first-person perspective and initially feels like Techland’s previous zombie outing, Dead Island. Shortly after the start of the game, this is further enhanced by implementing a parkour system, which works really well once you get used to it. On consoles, the parkour might feel a little strange at first, due to the jump button being mapped to the shoulder buttons on the controller. Once players get used to this placement, however, they will be able to weave over obstacles and across rooftops with the greatest fluidity. It really adds a new strategy and verticality to the gameplay.

The early hours of Dying Light can be a bit of a challenge due to combat not feeling as accurate as it could be. Additionally, the common zombies found around Harran can take quite a bit of damage before dying…again. This is a temporary struggle as players will soon unlock new skills through the game’s progression system, which will allow them to effectively fight zombies or flee from a mob of them – dropkicking zombies is immensely satisfying and is highly recommended.

The game features a dynamic day-and-night system which will affect the type of enemy that players will encounter. A different, faster type of zombie prowls at night and can make your life an undead hell – see what I did there? Navigating Harran at night is usually a stealthy affair and can also be quite terrifying the first few times that you experience the night cycle outside of a safe zone. Being spotted by one of these quick-footed horrors usually means one thing; run for your life until you can find a safe zone. I remember running from a night zombie and managing to lose it after sliding into an open concrete construction pipe. I thought that I had evaded my pursuer until a second enemy started inspecting my position. This instantly started a second chase. It’s an exhilarating experience that really makes you feel vulnerable. While it may seem like suicide, venturing out during night time is great for levelling up as players gain an increased amount of XP.

Exploration is a very important part of Dying Light. Harran is open to explore from the very start, which is a good thing. Investigating abandoned houses or stores are imperative to a player’s survival. It’s very rare that a player will loot a house and not find something useful. Medkits are the first thing that can be crafted but more blueprints can be found at traders, or as a reward for completing a mission. Blueprints make things rather interesting as it allows you to make modifications to simple items to transform them into a weapon with some serious power. Personally, electrified weapons are my favourite.

There are a number of firearms available in Dying Light but they should only be reserved for desperate situations. This is mainly due to the fact that the sound of gunfire attracts Virals, an agile and dangerous zombie type that excels at close-quarters combat; they’re actually able to duck and sidestep your attacks. The same applies to Bandits; they’re rather formidable at close range and are also able to throw knives at you from a distance. Groups of them can become quite overwhelming in a hurry if their numbers aren’t whittled down fast enough.

In terms of multiplayer content, Dying Light has a “Be the Zombie” mode, in which a player can invade the game of another while playing as a quick zombie able to zipline across the map using its tendrils. It can be a lot of fun hunting as the zombie and is especially challenging when invading a lobby with 2 players in it.

Dying Light also features a drop in/drop out co-op mode. This mode is quite enjoyable and allows four players to be in the same lobby, whether it’s just hunting and taking out zombies or tackling the campaign missions. Matchmaking could be a little better in this regard but once you’re in a lobby, it works quite well.

Dying Light: The Following
Dying Light: The Following once again follows Kyle Crane as he ventures from Harran into the countryside to investigate reports of a group of people immune to the virus from the first game, which has turned Harran into a desolate city overrun with flesh-eating zombies.

There Crane discovers the “Children of the Sun”, a religious cult confirmed to be immune to the virus. Wanting answers, Crane goes in search of a woman revered by the villagers and mysteriously known only as “the Mother”. However, no one is really talkative with the stranger about their immunity and Crane is forced to help out where he can in order to gain their trust and ultimately, enter their inner circle.

While The Following’s story is bursting with ideas for possible plot twists, it does feel a little squandered. Most of the main missions involve investigating, fetching and killing things. This is all good and dandy, but it does feel a tad underwhelming. However, this is not to say that there are no plot twists. Some quests had some surprising endings and the arc with the Mother and her acolytes will enough to keep you going until the very end.

The gameplay is where The Following shines, Unlike the main game, there are less opportunities to use parkour as the map is mostly wide open areas. However, the lack of parkour opportunities is compensated for with the introduction of the buggy. The buggy makes its presence felt very early on and remains a viable method of transportation from start to finish. Without it, every trip outside of a safe area is an extremely long walk. Additionally, it functions as a decent ram when trying to get through a small group of infected. It isn’t invulnerable, however, as too much damage will require some repair work done to the various parts of the vehicle. The cage of the buggy can be upgraded and more upgraded parts can be installed but this does require having skill points to put into the Driver Skill Tree and the appropriate crafting materials, respectively. The buggy also needs to be refilled after quite a bit of driving. Luckily, there are abandoned cars all over the map and some of them do still have some leftover fuel inside. Of course, finding an abandoned gas station helps too.

With The Following comes new side quests and activities for players to enjoy, however, some of the quests or activities dotted around the map strongly recommends playing through it with a friend due to its difficulty. Unlike the rest of the game, these quests such as destroying Volatile nests or defeating boss-like infected see a significant spike in difficulty, which unfortunately can make playing through them a bit of a chore if you want to fly solo. I applaud Techland for wanting to really push the co-op, however, there should be an option to fly solo on these quests without it having to feel like a mountainous challenge. It IS possible, just be prepared to use a large amount of your resources to get it done.

Dying Light looks great. Looking over the city of Harran is a pleasure, especially during a sunset as it provides for some picturesque vistas. Animations are smooth too. Audio is very much on par with the visuals for the game. Thuds, thumps and slashing sounds can be heard when attack zombies with your melee weapons. Despite the cast of characters being uninteresting, the voice acting is superb. Most of it will be heard from Crane himself, who is voiced by Roger Craig Smith (Ezio from the Assassin’s Creed series, and Chris Redfield from Resident Evil 5 and 6). Smith does a fine job and makes Kyle Crane a believable character.

Dying Light is a fantastic game. Being re-released as a complete edition was not a bad idea and the inclusion of The Following is great. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience and is sure to please many fans of the zombie game genre. The parkour, combat, crafting and different zombie types is an interesting combo and one that works really well. In addition to this, the buggy that is introduced in The Following is a lot of fun. It’s definitely a great package for both newcomers and fans of the original game.

The Breakdown:
Story: 8/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Lasting appeal: 9/10
Graphics: 9.5/10
Sound: 9/10