Dying Light 2 Stay Human was probably one of the most-anticipated games in February. With Techland continuing on the franchise, especially after releasing the first Dying Light back in 2015, they have a lot to live up to due to Dying Light coming out of nowhere and becoming a massive hit with the combination of 2 popular elements: zombies and parkour. Despite many delays/pushbacks in launch dates and changes in game direction, Dying Light 2 Stay Human still lives up the hype ever since its reveal announcement back in 2018, well mostly.
Welcome to Villedor, a fictional version of a dystopian European city, setting 15 years after the first outbreak in Harran while there’s not a direct connection between the 2 games, besides the re-introduction of a few side characters and some easter eggs mentioning the protagonist from the first game, Kyle Crane. Besides that, in Dying Light 2 Stay Human, you are put into the shoes of a completely new protagonist, Aiden Caldwell, a Pilgrim (a group of outcast survivors who travel across the world, acting as couriers and being the only real form of long-distance communication left between human settlements), who is currently on a journey to find his missing sister, Mia.
After having played over 40 hours of the game, I can say for sure that Techland has listened to the community’s feedback of the first game and made lots of improvements such as the world, the story-telling, and general gameplay. Techland has used all the time they had to polish up the game and you definitely can see that throughout the game. Calling Villedor beautiful is a big understatement, not only has it been built to be more vibrant but also has a lot of verticalities. Most buildings have depths for the players to explore and run through them during a chase. The map is also filled with many side activities such as clearing bandit camps, activating windmills, killing side bosses, and much more to boost your character by rewarding you EXP and Inhibitors, which are used to upgrade your Parkour or Combat Stamina.
Discovering new parts of the map and looking at its beauty is nice and refreshing, but the best part while doing that is drop-kicking enemies off tall buildings.
Traversing through Villedor is made easy through the new, overhauled systems of Parkour and Combat.
Parkour now seems smooth and works way better. Especially in the second installment, getting a skill point for Parkour may be harder, but each upgrade you get as you move on is worthwhile. For example, there’s a skill called “Tic Tac” which lets you wall runs vertical surface and that alone unlocks more ways to traverse between buildings and during fights as well. Not only the parkour has been changed while traveling and exploring either the downtown or the highrise of Villedor, but you can also encounter lifts that pull you to rooftops fast. After progressing through a certain amount of main stories, you are given two new tools: the grappling hook and the paraglider, which make discovering hidden activities so much faster and easier.
The changes in Combat are also a good welcome. Not only is parry added in to help with fights, but also there’s a new status effect, Stagger, to help go hand in hand with some of the new combat skills added. Let’s take “Vault Kick” for example, after staggering an enemy, you can vault over the staggered enemy then follow up with a powerful kick onto another enemy nearby.
While the changes in the combat are great and all, the “biggest elephant in the room” is Dying Light 2 Stay Human‘s storytelling, for this installment, Techland decided to add in a lot of RPG elements to give the game more replayability and players aren’t grounded by one choice. The writing of everything is way better than the first game, the story is not only richer but also has a lot of different paths for players to shape their own stories. With adding in RPG elements, there also come multiple endings which depend on the “major choices” (you can tell when a choice is a major choice if there’s a timer counting down between the choices presented and you can hear the clock ticking in the background) made throughout the game. The story is also accompanied by a great cast of characters, all of them are more expressive and differ from one another such as Lawan, who’s one of the 2 main companions, she is way more serious and focused on the goal she sets out to do; in essence, she’s a very stern and untrusting person due to her past traumas. On the other hand, Hakon is a more outgoing and suave dude but loves to act tough in the worse situations ever.
Surprisingly enough, Dying Light 2 Stay Human was released in a very playable state for this year especially it having heavy competitors during the month of release. The game played almost perfectly beside some bugs here and there, then sometimes the enemy AI not working like intended.
With all that said, I love Dying Light 2 Stay Human. Not only it has a great story that’s about 30 hours long and amazing gameplay with quality of life changes already implemented in the game, it also offers a great amount of side activities and great character progression. I genuinely believe Dying Light 2 Stay Human can be a great contender for Game of The Year this year.
Score: 8 out of 10
Reviewed on PC