How 'Dying Light 2' parkour stumbles into mediocrity

How ‘Dying Light 2’ parkour stumbles into mediocrity

System Shack is NME’s newest column exploring the mechanics behind the industry’s most successful games. This week, Rick Lane goes down in Dying Light 2.

Thome away in system cabin, I’ve only explored the mechanics that help make their respective games great. But since we tend to learn more from our mistakes than our successes, it’s worth occasionally delving into a game where the core ideas don’t quite work. By far the most high-profile disappointment this year is dying light 2the free-roaming, zombie-bashing sequel to Techland that just doesn’t quite live up to the fun of the original.

there is so much wrong with that dying light 2. The story is bombastic and overwrought. The evolving cityscape that Techland hyped ahead of launch is far less complicated than the studio promised. Even the day/night juxtaposition, pivotal to the point alluded to in the game’s title, is rendered insignificant by the game’s peculiar structure.

But the game’s most notable flaws lie in its parkour, the acrobatic movement system that allows players to jump, roll, and climb across Villedor’s rooftops to evade the city’s zombie hordes. dying lightThe combination of freerunning and zombie survival put the game on the map, and having an entirely new city to parkour in was key to the sequel’s appeal.

Dying Light 2. Credit: Techland

On paper, dying light 2 does a lot to improve the parkour of the first game. It adds a bunch of extra skills to the player’s skill set, like wall running, dashing, and even a double jump (which doesn’t make much sense, but then again, it’s a game with zombies). The environment is also designed to better suit freerunning, with the player able to use objects such as rope swings, zip lines, and pipes that they can slide down to reach the ground. Most important of all, there are fewer seams in the parkour moveset, with animations designed to elegantly link together for a more seamless experience.

Logically, all this should facilitate a more immersive free-running. But the way Techland implements these ideas makes parkour a lot less enjoyable. For starters, Techland’s attempt to smooth out parkour serves to remove much of the weight and momentum behind it, because it increases the gap between the player’s input and what’s happening on screen. Look closely at any parkour video to dying light 2, and you can see the game compensating for what it considers to be player error, artificially stretching jumps and redirecting Aiden to land on specific obstacles. The result may look more elegant, but it feels devoid of impact and physicality, less like you’re inhabiting a character and more like a puppet on a wire.

This is by far the biggest flaw of dying light 2parkour, but the problem is compounded by a couple of other factors. First, a lot of the game’s platforming potential is locked behind a skill upgrade tree. Such upgrade trees are pretty typical in modern open world games, but dying light 2The system completely limps parkour for the first ten hours of the game. It not only blocks advanced moves like wall running and the ability to jump from enemies. It prevents you from doing basic things like jumping to higher ledges and keeping your grip on a handhold for more than a few seconds. While dying lightParkour was liberating, your main defense against zombies, dying light 2Parkour is restricted and unsatisfying.

Dying Light 2 Stay Human key art
Dying Light 2 is still human. Credit: Techland

This problem eventually goes away. By the time you get to the second act of the game, you’ll have unlocked most of the basic parkour skills and can enjoy the system for what it is. But this problem is almost immediately replaced by another, and that is that dying light 2The second act of overrides and overrides the game’s parkour system. Act 2 takes place in the center of Villedor, all the shiny skyscrapers too tall to scale by hand and too far apart to jump between them. Instead, this movement through the center of the city largely revolves around a parachute, which allows him to glide between skyscrapers and access them from the ground with the use of updrafts.

The parachute can be fun to play with, but it also allows you to go pretty much anywhere in the center of Villedor. This means that after spending hours slowly unraveling the potential of dying light 2parkour, the game suddenly introduces a system that drastically reduces the need for your freerunning skills. Right at the point where parkour gets interesting, the game pretty much replaces it with a movement system that’s a lot less interactive.

The mistakes Techland makes with dying light 2Parkour becomes a lens through which to view the game’s biggest problems. Techland clearly wants dying light 2 to be a more luxurious and culturally significant experience than the first game, which is why it devotes so many of its resources to storytelling. But it loses sight of what made the original game fun in the process, and the results are a less satisfying experience overall.

If you enjoyed this column, check out last week’s system cabin – where Rick explores what he does elden ringThe guard counters ‘s so unique.

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