Techland, alongside CD Projekt Red, is one of the most ambitious developers in the industry today. Sure, they’ve made some mistakes here and there (ehm, Call of Juarez: The Cartel…), but when you look at the company’s willingness to make changes and improvements, there are few that have come close to what this small Polish team accomplished over the last few years. Last year’s Dying Light became a huge stepping stone for the devs. Not only was it their best work, it quickly became one of the most beloved open-world zombie games this generation, and one of my personal favorites of 2015. Nearly every month since the game released, Techland delivered patch after patch with both minor and major improvements to graphics and gameplay. And if that wasn’t enough, they just released an expansion that’s easily one of the largest, most content-packed DLCs ever.
There are enough mechanical tweaks to qualify The Following as a fully fleshed-out sequel. Its world is larger than the entire base game, and it costs a meager twenty bucks. That’s less than what some developers charge for useless DLC accessories.
"Its world is larger than the entire base game, and it costs a meager twenty bucks. That’s less than what some developers charge for useless DLC accessories."
Dying Light: The Following continues right where the main campaign left off. Kyle Crane now lives with Haran’s remaining inhabitants, and he learns of a cultist group living outside the infected-filled quarantine via a dying survivor. These cultists are apparently immune to the virus, and they worship a mysterious figure called Mother. Crane sets out to gain the cultists’ trust, and to meet Mother who can hopefully bring an end to Haran’s suffering.
The narrative carries the same tongue-in-cheek humor as the original. Absurd dialogue and silly characters combined with thrilling action sequences and moments of genuine terror and tension provide a satisfying balance and pacing. If you love Romero’s and Raimi’s over-the-top style, you’ll definitely enjoy Techland’s whimsical approach to storytelling and action.
"The buggy controls beautifully, and the thrill of mowing down dozens of zombies while zapping through open farm lands is incomparably satisfying."
Driving is the expansion’s biggest change, and it drastically alters the game’s pacing and tone. Where the original Dying Light focused on tight corridors and endless climbable obstacles, The Following encourages, or rather enforces, driving for traversing the vast vistas. This may seem like the driving takes away from the parkour that made Dying Light such a success, but surprisingly, it tweaks the gameplay just enough to feel fresh without sacrificing its core mechanics. Parkour still plays a big part, but escaping hordes of zombies by quickly climbing a nearby building is no longer the go-to option.
Your new buggy is as essential to survival as med packs and weapons. It requires constant maintenance and care. Like the customizable weapons, your buggy can be upgraded with various parts to improve performance, as well as weaponized grills a la Mad Max. The buggy controls beautifully, and the thrill of mowing down dozens of zombies while zapping through open farm lands is incomparably satisfying.
"Dying Light: The Following sets a new standard for post-launch DLC. An absolute masterpiece!"
In addition to the main story missions, The Following is jam packed with side activities, some of which are brand new to the game. Between newly introduced racing activities and the terrifying Volatile cave takeovers, there’s always something fun to do around each corner. There are also a ton of new weapons and upgrades scattered throughout The Following’s gargantuan map, and just like in the base game, they can drastically alter the game’s difficulty. While we’re on the subject of difficulty, The Following is a whole lot tougher than Dying Light. Not only are the zombies more aggressive and varied, there are more human enemies who usually come in heavily-armed groups. In fact, unless your character is “at least” Level 19 before embarking on the new adventure, you can forget getting past earlier missions.
The Following retains the original’s graphical fidelity, but the more open level-design gives the new scenery somewhat of a Far Cry feel (the warm tones in particular make the setting look like parts of Far Cry 2). Some assets like trees, building blocks and vehicles are reused from the base game, but most elements have been sculpted from scratch to give The Following a distinct look. The expansion looks gorgeous, and it runs buttery smooth regardless of how many zombies fill the screen.
Dying Light: The Following offers so much more than I can possibly cover in a single review, and discussing things any further would easily tip into spoiler territory. Here’s what you need to know...The Following is a must-buy for Dying Light fans! At a time when AAA publishers like Capcom are releasing semi-finished trash and calling it a full game, Techland comes along and puts everyone to shame. For only twenty bucks, you’re not only getting more value than what was offered by the main game, Dying Light: The Following sets a new standard for post-launch DLC. An absolute masterpiece!
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: PC