The short answer: Yes, Dying Light 2 is absolutely worth playing in 2023 for fans of zombie survival games. Despite its flaws at launch, Techland has put in the work to expand and improve the game. Read on for a deep dive analysis.
Expanding the Apocalyptic Playground
Let‘s start with the basics. Dying Light 2 is an open-world first-person zombie survival game developed by Techland and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. It released in February 2022 as a sequel to 2015‘s Dying Light.
The original Dying Light gained a loyal following for its thrilling mix of parkour movement and brutal melee combat set in a quarantined city. It set players loose in a sandbox to traverse, loot, and uncover secrets.
Techland took this formula and expanded it ambitiously for the sequel. Dying Light 2‘s map is over 4 times larger than the first game‘s, giving players a sprawling zombie-infested urban playground. The city has a verticality that lends itself perfectly to run-and-climb gameplay.
New parkour mechanics like paragliding and wall running enhance traversal freedom. The day/night cycle also now impacts the world itself, with players‘ choices altering faction control. Dying Light 2 doubles down on what made the original great.
Dying Light 2 vs Dying Light 1: Key Improvements
|Feature||Dying Light 1||Dying Light 2|
|Map Size||7 square km||Over 28 square km|
|Parkour Moves||Running, climbing, ziplines||Added paragliding, wall running etc.|
|Melee Combat||Satisfying and brutal||Expanded options and impact|
|NPC Factions||Bandits, zombies||Peacekeepers, Survivors, infected|
Post-Launch Support Improves the Experience
Dying Light 2 had a rocky launch in February 2022. Despite the exciting scale, reviewers and players reported lackluster writing, repetitive side quests, and significant technical issues.
The game was lambasted for bugs that broke quests, strange enemy AI behavior, and physics problems. The overall lack of polish was apparent.
However, Techland responded well with extensive post-launch patches and fixes. They continue rolling out new content drops like story events and enemy types for free. The developer support has removed the worst issues.
While the narrative and mission design still suffer, Dying Light 2 now plays much smoother. It runs well on PC and new-gen consoles, keeping the framerate solid during hectic undead battles. Matchmaking and connectivity have also improved.
Content Roadmap: What‘s Been Added
- Major patches fixing bugs, optimizing performance
- New story events and community challenges
- Outfits, weapons, and bounty missions
- Enemy mutations making zombies more dangerous
- New game mode with superpowered infected
- Photo mode to capture gameplay screenshots
While more content is still planned, Techland‘s support has demonstrated a commitment to expanding the experience over time.
Satisfying Survival Gameplay Loop
Where Dying Light 2 truly shines is its core survival gameplay. The loop of scavenging supplies, improving skills, slaying zombies never gets old. During the day, players can take their time exploring the sprawling open world.
Slow zombies roam the streets but are easily avoided. Traversing from rooftop to rooftop while unlocking new parkour skills gives a great sense of movement and discovery. You feel like Spiderman meets the flash.
Come nightfall, the tense cat-and-mouse gameplay begins. The undead become more dangerous. Volatiles emerge, able to kill you quickly. Eluding them while looting dark buildings creates palpable fear.
Co-op multiplayer enhances the experience, letting you survive and progress with friends. The chaotic battles and parkour become even more enjoyable. Solo play remains thrilling too though.
The core loop captures the appeal of survival games perfectly. Dying Light 2 incentivizes you to keep improving your skills and gear to overcome challenges.
- 500+ parkour moves to unlock
- Over 100 melee weapons to find and upgrade
- 500+ enemies to kill across factions
- 100+ hours of content and replayability
Terrifyingly Good Day/Night Cycle
The day/night cycle is integral to Dying Light 2‘s gameplay and atmosphere. During the sunny day, you can take your time to explore, loot, and complete objectives in relative safety. The streets are dotted with slow zombies that can be avoided easily.
But when night falls, the real terror begins. Volatiles emerge only in darkness. These extremely deadly undead will chase you rapidly, killing you within 2-3 hits. Outdoor nights become heart-pounding games of cat-and-mouse.
Navigating from rooftop to rooftop while avoiding Volatiles provides exhilarating action. Using safe houses to sleep through the night is key. The night brings increased danger but also greater rewards for those willing to evade vampiric infected.
While Dying Light 2‘s nights are less challenging than the first game‘s, they retain the tense spirit. The day/night cycle is integral to the ebb and flow of adrenaline versus downtime.
Day vs Night Gameplay
|Calm exploration||Tense chases|
|Scavenging supplies||Higher rewards|
|completing quests||Undead hunting you|
|Safe rooftop traversing||Use safe houses|
Visceral First-Person Combat
Dying Light 2 makes bashing in skulls and slicing limbs incredibly visceral and satisfying. Techland overhauled the melee combat to make every hit feel weighty and impactful. Hundreds of melee weapon variants all handle differently too.
Whether using blades, blunt instruments, or rusty pipes, the combat feedback shines. You can feel the force of caving in a head or severing a leg. Guns are rare, forcing intimate first-person melee.
Stealth and mobility work in tandem with combat as well. You can silently takedown enemies before engaging the rest in frenetic, kinesthetic battles. Jumping over a zombie while slamming it with a sledgehammer just feels right.
Combat has a rawness that many games fail to capture. Dying Light 2 nails the visceral feeling of hand-to-hand slaughter against decaying infected humans. Bashing skulls literally never gets old.
Melee Combat Highlight Reel
- Crunchy, intimate audio feedback on every hit
- Responsive controls making each swing feel impactful
- Hundreds of deadly melee weapons to find and upgrade
- Stealth, parkour and mobility work seamlessly with combat
- Dismembering zombies is gory fun
Strong Replay Value Through Choices
Dying Light 2 incentivizes replayability through its narrative branching choices and faction territories. During the story, players will align with either the authoritarian Peacekeepers or the anarchist Survivors.
Who you ally with determines which faction controls areas of the city. The choices actually change gameplay, with different faction benefits and districts evolving uniquely.
The vast open world already provides 50+ hours of content on an initial playthrough. But the choice-driven areas encourage you to play again and side with the other faction to see how the experience changes.
The morally ambiguous decisions have weight as well. Will you enable harsh Peacekeeper martial law to get electricity and supplies? Or support the Survivors‘ freedom at the cost of security? The story endings branch based on your path.
- Main story: 25-30 hours
- With side quests: 50-60 hours
- 100% completion: 90-100+ hours
Multiplayer Co-Op Adds Chaotic Fun
While solo play already shines, Dying Light 2‘s 4 player co-op takes the chaos and fun to another level. Exploring the sprawling open world map with friends doubles the enjoyment. You can take on story and side missions together.
The bloated undead battles become even more intense yet exhilarating. Having allies to watch your back reduces fear while increasing action. Journeys across the city feel like a party.
Multiplayer enables creative emergent gameplay as well. You can compete in parkour races or see who gets the most zombie kills. Reviving downed friends mid-horde adds camaraderie. The world comes alive with personality.
For those who loved the first game‘s Be the Zombie mode, that returns too. Playing as superpowered infected versus survivors delivers asymmetric fun.
- Complete story and side content together
- Fight massive hordes as a team
- Less fear, more humor and chaos
- Parkour races and competitions
- Unique emergent gameplay moments
Is Dying Light 2 Worth It? Final Verdict
Despite a disappointing launch, Dying Light 2 Stay Human has evolved into an excellent open-world zombie survival game that improves upon the original in nearly every way.
The expanded parkour, visceral combat, frightening day/night cycle and co-op chaos create an unforgettable experience. Techland‘s extensive post-release support has also enhanced the product significantly.
Some flaws still persist such as the weak narrative and repetitive side activities. But at its core, Dying Light 2 delivers a big, beautiful zombie playgound brimming with content. Exploring every nook and cranny while slaying thousands of undead is gory fun.
For fans of the first Dying Light or similar games like Dead Island, the answer is absolutely yes, Dying Light 2 is worth playing in 2023. While not perfect, it provides freedom and thrills on a grand scale. Pick up your weapon of choice and dive into the apocalyptic madness.