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Preview: Dying Light 2 - Rocking some fancy moves

Published: 18:46, 08 January 2020
Techland
Key art for Dying Light 2.
If only Michael Scott had played this game. PARKOUR!

Dying Light 2 is the sequel to one of the best zombie co-op adventures ever produced, and looks set to follow in the well-established footsteps of its predecessor by providing another relentless trek through an unforgiving post apocalyptic world.

As with the first game, melee combat, efficient traversal, and the consequences of moment to moment choices will represent key pillars of this upcoming RPG romp. But Dying Light 2 isn't simply trying to tick boxes and go down the route of "bigger equals better"; if anything, this is all about subverting your expectations. 

Developer Techland's approach here is to simultaneously double down on previous best bits (the always delightful parkour mechanics) whilst introducing mid mission branching choices that have a meaningful, permanent impact on your specific playthrough.

Environmental interaction has seen sweeping improvements. You can now squeeze through cracks in walls and discover alternative paths, rope hooks and winches combine for quick wall scaling, and the one, two punch of a grapple hook and glider opens up a smorgasbord of improvised options. 

The main thing to remember is every one of these new additions can be used in conjunction with your existing moveset. Chaining together death defying leaps with an expanded suite of gadgetry is designed to be as smooth as possible. 

Combat, of course, is a massively important element, and with a renewed emphasis on facing down human foes, there's a lot more depth across the board. Enemies can shoulder barge to knock you off balance, smash you with a headbutt, and pin you against a wall if you don't have your wits about you. The whole thing is being built to be as reactive as possible, while keeping seasoned players on their toes and forced to consider potential threats at every turn. 

Techland First person melee combat in Dying Light 2. Electrified weaponry makes you the life of the party.

The city itself offers seven distinct zones, access to which is restricted until you've made important decisions throughout the story. These choices aren't simply turn left or right; there's weight to these forks in the road, with primary characters surviving or perishing depending upon the outcome you select.  

The up to four player co-op retains your progression when you return to your single player world, but the big decision making is left in the hands of the individual host for that session. 

There are a number of additional fresh ideas that will add further nuance to proceedings. Underground, zombie infested dark zones provide a spike in difficulty, with players tasked with escaping before a particularly potent version of the infection takes hold. 

Physical repercussions of your approach to other factions will lead to some flourishing while others dwindle into obscurity. You can even chain together tools like the grapple hook with close combat manoeuvres to surprise enemies from above and steal their weaponry mid fight.

Dying Light 2 has so much going on that we feel like we've barely scratched the surface. With a release window rapidly approaching, it won't be long before we find out how it all comes together. 

Techland Three bodies hanging in Dying Light 2. This neighbourhood has really gone downhill.

Dying Light 2 launches in Spring 2020, for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

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