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Dying Light 2 Stay Human review

With the subtitle "Stay Human" appended to Dying Light 2, Techland signaled its intentions to explore the human essence at the heart of the story. Since its announcement in 2018, promises abounded about the narrative richness players would encounter. While the game does deliver a wealth of narrative branches, engaging with them can be as jarring as tumbling from a tree and colliding with each limb on the descent. Despite the first-person parkour—an essential feature of Dying Light 2—being notably enhanced in this sizable sequel, the rest of the game falls disappointingly short.

The sequel is set in the fictitious city of Villedor and presents a new rugged protagonist central to the plot. Playing as Aiden Caldwell, a 'pilgrim' and an alien deemed threatening to the remaining safe zones in the world, you are on a quest to find Mia, your sister last seen in your childhood. The story, delivered through foggy flashbacks, feels inadequately presented, assuming that the shared sibling connection alone is sufficient to stir player interests with little in-depth characterization. Mia is essentially reduced to a living Macguffin, ostensibly justifying Aiden as he embarks on his superhuman escapades in pursuit of side missions.

Aiden is surrounded by an extensive cast with occasional diversities of interest, but all fall victim to substandard voice-acting. High-caliber performances from Aiden's voice actor, Jonah Scott, and Rosario Dawson as his occasional ally, Lewan, are unfortunately overshadowed by the others. Many characters' attempts at emotional engagement fall flat due to unconvincing acting performances, and on completing lesser important quests, the acting quality further deteriorates. Often, the awkwardness of delivery overshadows the content itself, leaving room for glaring writing flaws.

The game also suffers frequent shifts in tone, leading to incongruities that prevent players from fully immersing themselves in the characters and their requests. The difficulty in accurately predicting how a dialogue will sound in the final version, considering the many narrative pathways, often leads to problems in line delivery. However, Dying Light 2 appears to bypass the advancements achieved in RPGs over the years, thus detrimenting each character. Aiden, almost the only character presented as relatable, is the only companion the player might choose to spend time with.

Despite its intriguing open-world aspect and player explorations, the narrative issues in Dying Light 2 Mar the gaming experience. Even though mastering first-person platforming is a formidable task, Techland delivers well, improved and then some from the previous game. The ability to evolve Aiden into a faster and more impressive adventurer than his predecessor, Kyle Crane, along with added gears like grappling hooks and gliders, enhance player mobility in the game.

In general, Dying Light 2 succeeds where other open-world games have faltered. Rather than focusing only on main missions and interesting side ventures while leaving the smaller, less significant missions untouched, here, the game's best aspects comprise these peripheral activities. Activities like parkour time trials or scaling the highest skyscrapers offer consistently enjoyable gameplay.

Skill tree upgrades offer no undesirable bonus, leading to thoughtful considerations on every upgrade. However, despite its impressive platforming, the combat system of Dying Light 2 falls short of expectations. Encountering hordes of infected, including the new special types like Howlers and Anomalies, combat is a thrilling experience. But stealth mechanics seem like an afterthought and lack good execution, often needing to dash across rooftops or instantly trigger run-for-your-life scenarios on touching the ground.

Despite its engaging soundtrack composed by Olivier Deriviere and the unique feature related to every step taken, the aura and consequences in Dying Light 2 are unfortunately poor.

Although plagued with certain bugs, Dying Light 2 still shines its best in the first-person parkour experience. Co-op mode does add an element of fun, but given that it doesn't impact the host world's missions and achievements, it seems more of a side attraction than something to explore completely.

Summing it up, Dying Light 2 is a mixed bag. While the narrative and character development leave much to be desired, the game shines in its first-person parkour and open-world experience. Players who can overlook the narrative flaws and enjoy the thrill of defying gravity might find Dying Light 2 meeting their expectations after all.

5 Great

It's the best game of 2013 and the best in the series. You will enjoy if you have played the previous games. I hope you like it as much as I do.