By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor)
A few weeks ago a long awaited patch has finally seen the light and the many hardcore zombie survivors can now finally try out the new hard mode in Dying Light. If you liked of Dying Light before, or just haven’t had the time to check the game out yet, then you will be in a treat this time. Because not only do the nights take longer this time, the once so scary zombies you faced, are now even stronger and more vicious. The volatiles you once saw on your map, now have been taken off, so you can make your mouse or gamepad fly across the room. So make sure you have some clean underwear in case you wet your pants.
The patch also brought a long a bunch of new clothing for your runner. More deadly weapons, and you will definitely want to try and get these as soon as possible, because the zombies are now tougher, and melee now requires greater precision for hitting the deadly killing blows. You will also regenerate your health slower, and med kits also regenerate your health slower than before. Perhaps the scariest change however is that the game doesn’t pause anymore when you head into your inventory. During the first couple of hours playing hard mode for the first time, I have died plenty of times thinking I was safe while changing my weaponry in the inventory. Since sound now also attracts zombies faster, you never know if you are completely safe. Overall not only did this update bring a new level of challenge, it added a layer of realism the core gameplay lacked.
It has been a while since I tested Dying Light out for my launch review. While the core concepts were awesome, my PC simply wasn’t up to snuff and like many others, lagged up at key life and death moments. Within a few moments back in-game, I immediately knew steps had been taken to make Dying Light playable on less than new machines. The game finally runs smooth, and no longer do I have to make the game look like a potato to be able to get recorded level fps. I also have to confess something; sometimes when a man plays certain video games, he gets a little scared in life. I unfortunately am one of the people that get scared at almost everything when horror is involved. A simple loud noise can make me fall off my chair and thus the nights in the normal game mode were always insanely scary for me. Yet I still enjoyed doing them because the rush of surviving a night from the scary monsters was an amazing feeling of success.
My return to the extended night can’t be looked on with such fondness. I apologize for not capturing shots of my misadventures in the cursed blackness, as I was literally too mentally frozen to think to snap shots of the chaos as it unfolded around me. The Volatile are back in force. The scary zombies that basically outran you, flew towards you from the end of the street and totally messed up your day? That’s right, you won’t be able to see them coming now as they constantly try to get the jump on you. And each tiny bit of sound you will make, will seemingly light the town on fire like sharks smelling blood. Boy have I won the chicken jackpot for getting assigned to describe this horrific mode. I’ll have to admit that the first ten nights didn’t fare so well for me, since I never fully completed the game, my equipment was lacking.
While I was well stocked on weapons and ammunition, my melee weapons had plenty of room for improvement. Of course my loud weaponry only attracted more unwanted attention, and before I knew it, my stockpile of guns were useless. Well I quickly was taught that most guns do more harm than good in the Hard night anyway. Even in daylight the zombies were a real threat. During my review I typically ignored roaming zombies or dispatched then in unique fun ways to show off. Now they do enough bonus damage that room for error is slim. Dying Light has changed into a completely new game, but if you thought winter is coming, then let me make this clear. The Night is definitely coming, and it is here to make you hide under your bed and snuggle with your cat until the sun comes up again.
While I was already enjoying enough liquid courage to handle a second romp through Harran, I figured I would give the now more balanced PvP a chance. The community overall seemed quite positive about it, but I had to see for myself. In the ‘Be the Zombie’ game mode you play as a zombie with superhuman powers. Just like our good friend Spiderman, you can grapple around the world trying to lure a player into either a deadly area or to trap him so you can bring all new meaning to ganking. As the zombie you can see the world in a special night vision type of view. The players you are hunting are also lit up in a special color, giving you the element of surprise to often pick the perfect time to strike. As the survivor being hunted, you will have to destroy Volatiles’ nests around the area in order to ensure the enemy player can no longer respawn. Killing the zombies is rather easy, unless you manage to misplace all your shots or hits. The AI is just enough of a threat to distract you from the real terror of the night. Luckily if you have the reaction and wherewithal, you can capitalize on the player’s weakness to light by unleashing an ultraviolet flashlight to burn the living daylights out of him. It is a fun addition to the game but I wish there were a few more game modes because it gets rather repetitive after a while. In the meantime at least the devs have been sponsoring various community competitions to keep things somewhat fresh.
If you haven’t bought Dying Light yet and were thinking of getting it when it dropped in its price, then let me recommend you to get it now. The game has had many problems squashed out on the PC at least, and the game feels like a much better experience than before. The hard mode brings the game a whole new challenge that completely changes the way you have to play to survived. I personally have enjoyed playing hard mode, and I am pretty sure I am going to replay the whole single player this time with the hard mode. I always thought it a bit too risk free to gather materials, items and weapons. And this time around, you can get the best out of your experience with a more realistic touch on surviving.