The low production values detract from an otherwise enjoyable game after such a long wait for the second installment in this popular franchise. We are introduced to a new main protagonist, Aiden Caldwell, a newcomer to Villedor and; a new city for this sequel set 22 years after the first game & searching for his long-lost sister Mia. Unfortunately, through a series of lackluster flashback cut-scenes, which fail to inspire any real connection to the characters, the player is informed their mission is to employ their parkour and other skills to locate Mia and reunite the siblings.
Amongst a diverse and exciting cast of characters, only Aiden Caldwell (portrayed by Jonah Scott) and Rosario Dawsons Lewan, Caldwell’s part-time ally, are the only other notable performances within the game. Unfortunately, mediocre voice performances from the rest of the cast interrupt gameplay. The combination of poorly written dialogue coupled with unbelievable voice performances interrupts the flow of the game and limits how emersed one can genuinely feel whilst playing.
There is a distinct lack of cohesion between the missions and cut-scenes, limiting the player’s ability to connect with any of the characters or story in a meaningful way, making it difficult to feel emotionally invested in the journey. Techland’s execution of an otherwise good premise leaves a lot to be desired, a lack of cohesion breaks the game’s spell in too many places, and poor dialogue remains a distraction.
No apocalyptic horror survival game is complete without the hordes of zombies that populate Villedor. In keeping with the parkour emphasis of the game, these zombies can move with speed. Dying Light 2 utilizes the same dynamic day-night cycle as the original, adding an extra layer of strategy as you plan your excursions to maximize the benefits of the zombies’ vulnerability to sunlight and UV lights. An exciting twist reveals that our protagonist has been infected by the undead (as hinted in the title), which opens some interesting game-play options.
The main redeeming feature of the game is the drop-in co-op mode. While there is no cross-platform play, a player can join with other players in teams of up to four to explore Villedor. In addition to being able to complete missions, mini-games, and boss fights together, any experience or loot gained will be transferred to your save file.
In summary, whilst the sub-par voice cast and poor publishing detract from the player’s overall immersion in the game, the co-operative play option coupled with exciting and varied missions make this an enjoyable sequel for fans of the original and newcomers to the franchise alike. In addition, it will be interesting to see what the recently teased third patch for the game brings, which will get with it a new Game+ mode to make replays more enjoyable, amongst other things.