It’s safe to say that Techland’s Dying Light was both a critical and commercial success, and its natural that the anticipation for its DLC followup, The Following, was sky-high. Techland have once again produced the goods with this fun and tense expansion. The level of content is impressive and The Following can be truly considered a full expansion as opposed to the trifling pieces of disposable DLCs which are commonplace these days.
“Zombies, what a time to be alive!”
You continue the story of Kyle Crane as he investigates the rumour of a possible cure that lays outside the quarantine zone of Harran. With the help of a map from a crazy old man, you adventure out into the new massive open world in which you will find new zombies, survivors and a customisable dirt buggie to take you across the beautiful scenery. While attempting to find out more about this so-called cure, you’ll have to gain the trust of the locals and infiltrate a deadly fanatical cult; the more the people outside of Harran trust you, the more secrets and stories you will uncover.
That’s a long way down
The gameplay mechanics feel the same as ever but the movements are a lot smoother, which is a good thing as the parkour movements have always been a highlight in this game. The newly introduced legend levels give you more freedom and flexibility in the way you play as these extra levels give you stat bonuses like quicker health regeneration, more damage.
Creepy girl being creepy
Do you even lift bro?
In terms of new features, the addition of dirt buggies is a great idea, and a fun and stylish way of traversing the vast map. If you are like me and like to drive in third-person view you are out of luck though, as all you get is the claustrophobic first-person view. Make sure you concentrate on the road because trees are invincible apparently (I’ve tested this multiple times) and your buggy has various parts that take damage and need to be repaired. With the new buggy comes new skills (under the Driver skill tree) which help with the buggy’s general performance in terms of driving, defense and attack. In order to keep the buggy functional you will need to collect fuel and parts. A lot like the weapons which also deteriorate, the more you drive and damage your buggy the more parts will wear out. Also like the weapons, the parts of the car have a limited amount of repairs in them before they need to be discarded and replaced. I found that as long as you’re constantly on the lookout for loot, it’s not hard to find the required parts, and the placement of these resources makes sense (for instance fuel is found in abandoned vehicles fuel tanks). Additionally, there are custom paint jobs, bobble heads and other adornments for your ride that you can find strewn around the countryside. Even though these particular upgrades are purely cosmetic, it gives your buggy a bit of unique personality that you can show off to your friends online, or to your cat if you have no friends.
Be free, Freewilly, be free
Old mate bobblehead keeps me sane
The expansion also introduces a harder difficulty called Nightmare mode, which is as crazy as it sounds. A word of advice: avoid using loud weapons and attracting any attention. In fact, just don’t go out at night, don’t do it. Unless you don’t have any delicious brains to snack on you’ll heed my warning, the new difficulty is unforgivingly brutal. It does ratchet up the tension considerably though, and makes it a truly savage fight for survival against near insurmountable odds. I’d actually forgotten how intense Dying Light can be until I dipped into Nightmare mode. My heart raced and my palms got sweaty during the terrifying ordeal of getting chased by volatiles at night, knowing that if you don’t keep on moving (quickly) you’re likely to get eaten. The dirt buggy does alleviate the tension somewhat as I felt like I had a much better chance at escaping them on four wheels rather than two feet. Still, they will latch onto your buggy and mess up your day, so stick to the main roads when you’re fleeing and avoid getting stopped in your tracks by crashing into one of those invincible trees. Certain upgrades like the electric cage protects your buggy from hop-ons so definitely make use of that if you’re having trouble with hitchhikers. If you’re going fast enough you can actually fling the zombies off your car by slamming on the brakes, and I never tired of seeing this in action.
“Can you spare a durry bro?”
Other features are retained in the expansion and translate well to the new open environment. Co-op is one of the reasons why I love this game so much and the same level of ridiculous fun can be had in The Following when you’ve got a few friends to join in the carnage. You can team up with up to three of your friends online and complete missions as well as explore all of the fun little Easter eggs around the map. Harry Potter’s bedroom under the stairs makes an appearance, as does “WIIIILLLSOOOON” the volleyball from Castaway. Indiana Jones’ skeleton is also a must-see. The sheer number of these hilarious secrets makes exploring all the more fun and rewarding. Be The Zombie mode has been incorporated into The Following as well. With all the open space it makes it more challenging to be the zombie as there are less buildings to hide behind and it takes you longer to get to the non-infected. You also can’t pounce on the players while they’re in the buggy, you can only grab the buggy and try and claw them. This is basically pointless though and usually the player jumps out of the buggy to kill you relatively easily. While the scales seems to have been tipped in the non-infecteds’ favour, as the zombie you have the advantage of always being able to see the buggies on the mini map. Where there’s buggies there’s usually players nearby making it slightly easier to locate and get the drop on them. In general, the new open map makes the mode more enjoyable as it dials back the overpoweredness of the zombie, making the game more balanced for both sides.
The game does have some mildly annoying glitches that can occasionally mess with mission progress. The door to another door glitch (where you open a car door and it opens to another version of the same door except it’s unable to be opened) in particular is quite frustrating. While the comic value of this was initially enjoyable, my mirth quickly changed to rage when I realised I had to restart the mission to rectify the issue. Another common glitch is people walking through and standing through each other. Most of these glitches occurred in co-op games, and in general the online does tend to lag a little and lead to some odd moments.
This is going to take a while
The game’s content will take about 10-20 hours to complete depending on how keen you are on side quests and tuning and upgrading your personal dirt buggy death wagon. The story has a good pace to it and the characters are interesting and this drives the adventure along nicely. There is a lot of freedom and space to explore so you are free to explore every inch of the map or race through story if that’s the way you prefer to play. All things considered, the expansion could almost be a whole game on its own, so I thought it was a generous thing that they gave it in the Season Pass instead of releasing it as a whole new game with a bigger price tag. I’m not certain other companies would be so scrupulous… *cough* Destiny *cough*
Ya blew it
The Following gives Dying Light fans a whole new adventure and fresh new gameplay to experience in this stellar expansion. The engaging story set in a vast and beautiful countryside combine with the sheer fun of demolition dirt buggies and the thrilling tension of being surrounded by hungry zombies. For those who enjoyed the base game this is certainly one to pick up, and if you haven’t then there’s no better time to jump in than now.
Reviewed on PS4