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Review

Dying Light: The Following Review

Off-road warrior.

Dying Light: The Following is nothing if not a bold and daring expansion to last year’s very well received zombie hack and slasher. The streets of Harran, whether in the Slums or in Old Town, were no place for trying to get around in a vehicle, with cars, vans and barricades blocking almost every road. Getting around on foot and having the freedom to take to the roofs as something of a parkour expert was a perfect fit for the situation.

Techland take a lot of that away from you in The Following, as Crane follows up another potential lead for a cure. It tears you out from the city and drops you into the middle of the countryside, an environment that your very specific set of skills is nowhere near as well suited to. The rolling hills, fields and meadows are rife with zombies, in a truly overwhelming fashion, and without the comfort of always having a nearby building to clamber up in order to escape, it’s no place to try and get around on foot.

And then there’s just the fact that the distances you need to cover in order to get from a village to a water pumping station, for example, would take an awful lot of time, even if there weren’t zombies to worry about. So it’s a damn good thing that you’re able to get behind the wheel of a buggy, shortly after getting started with the expansion.

This is where you’ll find most of your character progression going forward, as you level up a new Driver skill tree which adds new perks to your car, whether it’s the basic turbo, more metal plating or even flamethrowers. Additionally, you have to repair and replace brakes, suspension, the engine, and so on as they suffer from wear and tear, with steadily improving parts becoming available in quick succession. You’ll also find yourself scavenging for fuel, to keep the engine ticking over, but this is a concern that, as with scavenging in the main game, fades into the background as your resources balloon and only deplete slowly.

DyingLight-TheFollowing-RIL2

Techland are no strangers to having vehicles in their zombie games, and Dead Island did have a few open spaces where you could hammer the throttle and career around the streets, but it was nothing compared to the sheer fun and joy that can be found in this expansion. Again, there’s just so much more open space for you to drive around, and the buggy takes it all in its stride, with a handling model that is genuinely a pleasure to play with. It’s just so easy to be following the roads one second, then decide to head to your waypoint or objective as the crow flies, cutting across the thick grass, clattering through wooden fences and weaving through trees, or at least trying to.

The game engine handles this new found pace with relative ease, with fields full of tall grass that mask zombies causing no more problems on PC than the main game did. Admittedly, being able to see further did expose some minor weaknesses in how the game spawns in zombies, and for whatever reason, they could often suddenly pop in or out of view as you see the game populate the world. A fairly minor complaint when it’s an ordinary walker, but more worrying if it’s an exploding zombie.

As with so many games that are designed specifically with co-op in mind, it really comes together when you have someone else playing alongside you. You can play with up to four players, and each can have their own buggy – though you can give someone else a lift in a back seat – but even with two players, it adds the potential for so much more chaos and fun to the game. You’re far more likely to get yourself into a tricky situation when there’s someone who you can rely on to at least try and revive you if you’re downed, and that change in mentality is a big part of Dying Light and The Following. Then there’s just the pure madness that can occur when you find edge cases of what’s possible in the game, as in this video:

However, while driving around has superseded the parkour in many ways, the visceral combat remains. Zombies are more numerous and feel to be tougher outside of the city – the game advises you to have a level 18 character before picking The Following from the main menu – but when you land a hit, limbs come off, heads are brutally smashed and gore is spattered everywhere in an amusingly over the top fashion.

The Following adds to this with a handful of new upgrades to find, building upon the already wide range of blueprints and the same elemental weaponry found in the main game. However, Techland have also put a greater emphasis on ranged weapons, first with a bow and arrow – the explosive arrows are a hysterical cacophony of explosions and flying zombies – then with the more precise and deadly crossbow, but you also have uzis and shotguns, which will quickly bring at least half a dozen of the running Viral zombies right to you.

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Those also pose a threat when you’re in a buggy, and are surprisingly capable of keeping up with you or leaping and grabbing on. A swift pulse of the turbo boost will knock them off, but it helps you to not feel invulnerable when in the thin tubular frame. The Volatiles that come out at night are another kettle of fish entirely, with a full radius of hearing able to pick you up, compared to their cones of vision when on foot. Suddenly, as they appear at night, you’re crawling around the world at slow speed, doing your best to avoid detection, lest you have to spend the next few minutes frantically racing away into the darkness.

You can wrestle control of the night from them by venturing into the Volatile Hives to take out their spawning nests, something that’s best done during the hours of darkness when they’re on the prowl, with a countdown timer added to the side of the screen to add pressure. That doesn’t just help you, but also helps the Children of the Sun and gains you favour with the cult that you’re in the countryside to investigate.

A Second Opinion

Techland’s Dying Light was great fun and The Following DLC continues things in suitably over-the-top fashion. From the expansive new environment to the crisp visuals, new weaponry and hilarious fun that can be had with the buggy, Techland has created yet another virtual playground for us to enjoy.

The downsides are no more than you were already used to in the original Dying Light – a forgettable core story and facial animation occupying that perfunctory middle ground between the likes of The Last of Us and a well-animated ventriloquist dummy. Thankfully, it’s familiar in a raft of wonderful ways as well, with Techland providing us with a zombie-filled countryside, festooned with some of the daftest fun you can have on four wheels (or none, if you turn them over as much as I do).

From a cooperative perspective, I would implore you to “buddy up” and make sure to avoid playing this through on your lonesome, simply because of the absolute delight Teflon and I have had with the expansion so far.

– Bunimomike

The story of The Following is fairly straightforward and it’s easy to see some twists coming, as Crane has to get progressively closer to this cult. It’s a less linear path compared to the main game, as you must complete side quests to earn higher ranks and favour with the small commune that you first meet and then with the Faceless who represent the Mother.

It’s all in the name of finding out how they can successfully ward off the zombies and prevent infections, but it never really latches on and takes you for a ride. I never felt like I was doing anything special to help them, because I was simply playing the game, driving around, getting distracted from one objective by a closer icon on the map time and again. Without even realising, I had reached the maximum level and entered the final stages of the story.

That point came for me around the ten hour mark, but there’s still plenty more to do in the world, from races to side missions to dynamic events, and even people calling you over the radio and asking for help in a manner which lives up to Dying Light’s first gameplay reveal.

What’s Good:

  • Dune buggies that feel great to drive.
  • A big new map to explore.
  • Firearms are a better alternative to melee.
  • Ludicrous fun to be had in co-op.

What’s Bad:

  • A fairly un-engaging story.
  • Still has fairly poor facial animations.
  • Zombies can visibly pop-in when driving around the world.

Completely changing the environment that you play in and the way in which you get around that world was a bold move by Techland, but they’ve taken the challenge in their stride, and created something which is often just pure fun to play. If you’re a fan of Dying Light, then The Following is a near essential expansion.

Score: 9/10

Version tested: PC

13 Comments
  1. kjkg
    Member
    Since: Apr 2010

    I have this waiting for me but heed your warning of level 18 so might continue with the main game for now. Couple of questions for you though. Does the level cap for Survivor get raised? And I’m assuming you earn survivor points in The Following too?

    Also, on an unrelated note, one of your adverts (not sure which one yet) is slowing the site down for me to a crawl. So much so, I’ve actually had to put on adblock just to comment and read this.

    Finally, great review, ta. Got me excited for this. Was starting to get slight fatigue with the main game so this should get me over that hurdle.

    Comment posted on 09/02/2016 at 09:35.
    • Stefan L
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      Yeah, the zombies feel quite a bit tougher in the country. The level cap does get raised (with or without the DLC) by the Legend Levels, which let you put points in and get percentage increases on various stats, whether it’s damage, stamina, health pack efficiency. You have to max out one of your original three skill trees before that opens up to you though, but yes, even though The Following is a separate thing in the menus,

      Sorry about that advert. We need to know which one it is in order to report and get it removed, unfortunately, but no problem.

      Comment posted on 09/02/2016 at 10:33.
      • kjkg
        Member
        Since: Apr 2010

        No worries about the advert, will try work out what one it is and let you know.

        As for the answers, cheers, hadn’t realised that. I’m still quite a bit away from maxing out but thought I’d ask the question anyway.

        Comment posted on 09/02/2016 at 12:02.
      • JustTaylorNow
        Member
        Since: Oct 2011

        The Naruto new game advert

        Comment posted on 09/02/2016 at 12:15.
  2. MrYd
    Member
    Since: Mar 2011

    Sounds like lots of fun, but I think I’ll be waiting a bit in case it’s on sale after they increased the price of the season pass to £25. That’s never happened before, has it?

    How much is it anyway? On it’s own? Might go that route instead. Certainly not going to encourage greedy price increases.

    Or maybe get the season pass on Amazon, where it’s still £15.99.

    Comment posted on 09/02/2016 at 10:15.
    • Stefan L
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      They increased the price of the season pass because The Following got bigger and bigger during dev – they did give fair warning of the increase late last year, as well, saying that the increase was coming and giving people a week to get onboard.

      Bought separately, the expansion is £15.99, but you seem to have spotted the most prevalent workaround. :)

      Comment posted on 09/02/2016 at 10:38.
    • Ferrick
      Member
      Since: Jan 2009

      Judging by the comments on Amazon, for the season pass, it seems like they’re selling expired codes.
      I can’t see how they’d get away with that, personally. But still, I’d stay weary. Been eyeing it up myself.

      Let me know how it goes, if you decide to take the plunge…

      Comment posted on 09/02/2016 at 11:00.
      • MrYd
        Member
        Since: Mar 2011

        1 out of 7 reviews for the season pass claim they had a problem with a code that was “incorrect or no long valid”. Posted on January 30 last year.

        One single problem. I’m guessing if it was a real problem with the code supplied (which seems very unlikely), Amazon would have sorted it out very quickly, since Amazon’s customer service is generally incredibly good.

        Or possibly Sony hadn’t updated the store yet, someone got the code, it wasn’t recognised yet, and they jumped straight onto Amazon to leave a bad review. Because it’s just easier to do that. ;)

        Comment posted on 09/02/2016 at 11:16.
      • jackbauer293
        Member
        Since: Feb 2016

        If you’re in the UK, ‘GAME’ were still selling them online for £16 last week. Code gets emailed over straight away as you would expect.

        Comment posted on 10/02/2016 at 17:19.
  3. Pixel_nme
    Member
    Since: Mar 2014

    Is this actually out today then?,the game has updated but no sign of The Following as yet.

    Comment posted on 09/02/2016 at 10:49.
    • MrYd
      Member
      Since: Mar 2011

      They’ve removed the original version of the game from the store and not put the new version (with all the DLC) or the new DLC up yet.

      Looks like it’s only north/south America, Poland and Steam that gets it today. We get it on Friday.

      Comment posted on 09/02/2016 at 11:23.
      • Pixel_nme
        Member
        Since: Mar 2014

        Your right looks like they have removed it from the the store,looking around a couple of places say it’s released today,but you could well be right about it being friday aswell.

        Comment posted on 09/02/2016 at 11:54.
  4. bunimomike
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    Tef added our fail video. It’s not really a terrible fail but the laughter was worth it. Not heard you laugh like that for a while, Tef! Thought you were going to pass out at one point. :D

    Comment posted on 09/02/2016 at 12:02.

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Dying Light: The Following
  • Developer:Techland
  • Publisher:Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
  • Platforms:PS4, XB1, PC
  • Release Date:09/02/16

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