Dying Light: The Following Review
Player(s): 1 (campaign), 2-4 (online co-op)
Extra Features: Online co-op play, Multiplayer, Leaderboards
Dying Light The Following Enhanced Edition includes an upgraded main game of Dying Light and all the extras that you can get from buying the season pass. The main game has several upgrades and fixes many of the negatives that I once had with the game. The repeated character models are gone and Crane seems to grab onto objects easier after using the grappling hook now. There are others upgrades here and there as well. You can use all your extra items and weapons that can be found in the DLC campaign while playing the main game. The game allows you to play the main game and DLC campaign with the same upgraded character, so you can pick up where you left off no matter which campaign you choose. As already mentioned, all the extras that were in the season pass, such as the extra mission, the bozak horde and everything else that is included with this version as well.
Enough about the main game, let's get to The Following campaign! The Following picks up very soon after the main game's storyline, so you want to be sure to play it after finishing the main game. You can't start The Following until your Kyle Crane has reached about level 9. As for the story, the people in the Tower are still nearly out of the Antizin drug that fights off the zombie virus. An injured man shows up at the Tower in Harran and mentions a cure for the zombie infection as well as a way out of Harran. He hands over a map that shows the way out of Harran and Kyle Crane goes off in search of the possible cure for the zombie virus. One really cool feature about the new campaign is that it seems to adjust its difficulty based on the level of the player, so if you come to the campaign with a drastically leveled-up character (like I did), the zombies will still provide a good challenge since their aggression levels will be high and it seems their defense is raised to make up for your character's level.
The Following changes the scenery greatly when compared to the main game. The main game was full of city landscapes with several buildings and back alleys along its two main maps. The Antenna map was the only map that changed up the backgrounds, making it look more like a map from Dead Island. The Following only has a few villages with buildings but the majority of the map is composed of wide open fields and roads. It's nearly like the Far Cry 4 map, only with zombies instead of wild animals. This new environment changes up the flow of the game quite a bit since you don't have buildings to hop along to keep away from the infected. Parkour is still needed to climb some structures, such as towers and tall buildings, but you can't just stay on rooftops and cars to avoid the majority of fights anymore. It's amazing how HUGE this new map is also - the area looks small while looking at the in-game map, but just try to zoom in and look at how far you can zoom compared to the maps in the main game. The new wide open map really makes nighttime battles much harder. Once Crane is seen by a volatile now, you don't have much of a way to get away from them without having a safe zone nearby.
While goings through the main story of The Following, players will eventually unlock access to a vehicle - a dirt buggy. Crane can use the dirt buggy to plow through zombie hordes and get to places faster on the world map. Players can upgrade the vehicle with extra equipment that can be composed from leveling up Crane's new Driver skill in the skills menu. While leveling up the driver skill, you'll unlock new blueprints for making upgraded parts to increase the attributes of the vehicle. The vehicle parts can actually break from driving off-road and from hitting several zombies. You can fix the vehicle with parts looted from environmental cars. Along with tending to the car, you'll have to find fuel for it from other cars as well. This new upgradeable vehicle is a nice break from constantly having to upgrade your character with new skills. The dirt buggy is very much needed for navigating the new map since there are no fast travel points. With a map that is so huge, I really felt like there should have been a fast travel from at least once village to another because the map takes several minutes to navigate and, later in the game, you'll run into missions that have Crane going from one side of the map to another just to meet up with a person and get information then have to go all the way back and report to the mission giver. The Following does seem overly extended because of all the extra traveling across the world map at times.
The vehicle that Crane unlocks is both a blessing and a curse. It sure does help out for getting from place to place faster, but you'll also alert zombies while driving. The virals (running zombies) in The Following are just as bad as they were in the main game about chasing after your character and they are a constant threat while in your dirt buggy. You'll alert them through your driving and if you happen to hit a bomber zombie or gas tank zombie. The virals will leap onto the buggy and hit your character while clinging on - it's a very cool-looking animation. You can try to get them off by slamming on the breaks or hitting an obstacle to shake them off. You can always speed up enough to get away from virals but when you can only travel at slow speeds, I would often have to get out of the car and kill them before continuing. Volatile zombies are the exact same way, only worse - it seems to be extremely hard to get away from a volatile through speeding up but it can be done.
The Following has story quests and many side quests that players can engage in. Just like the main game, the side quests seem just as good at the story missions since they help to flesh out the story. There comes a point in the story where you'll be forced into doing side quests. The game gives you the excuse that you are building your reputation to get the attention of the people in the main village so that you can engage in important missions with them. It's like the game does this just to make itself longer but at least the side missions are still fun. You'll have to build up your reputation through a ranking system that will continue to level up as you finish each side quests or help out random people.
The game has a few missions where you'll have to use the dirt buggy to complete them. There are a few timed quests that can only be completed with the help of a vehicle. If you're familiar with the main game then you'll know how Techland can really give you some strict timing and that still applies with the new campaign. The story starts off feeling kind of weird its religious type of zombie cure, but it all wraps up nicely once it comes down to the finale. I was surprised to see that the game offers multiple endings during the final section. You get to basically choose the outcome.
The Following is loaded down with extras just like the main game was. You'll unlock extra blueprints and there are tons of new collectables to find such as extra outfits and bobbleheads. Players also get access to a bow and a crossbow - these weapons are so very fun in a zombie game. Just like Darryl from The Walking Dead, you'll be able to shoot zombies with crossbow bolts then walk over to them and pull the bolts out to use again. As already mentioned, you can bring most of these new weapons into the main game of Dying Light. Safe Zones can still be unlocked on the new map just like in the main game, but Crane will also run across Hunting Towers that serves as checkpoints once they are labeled (with an icon) on Crane's map.
The game still has a 4-player co-op campaign that stretches over into The Following DLC. Each player will have their own dirt buggy while in groups and all of them will be playing as their own Kyle Crane. The soundtrack of Dying Light still continues to be just as fantastic as it was in the main game. The new area has some very nice tunes that add to the mysteriousness of the environment. There is also a new zombie type in the game. Among the hordes of zombies, you'll find zombies that are slightly bigger than the others. These zombies have slightly more health than other zombies and all of their attacks will instantly knock Crane to the ground. All zombies in the game now have the potential to instantly change into a viral now as well - they have a "viral out" animation for changing. The bigger zombie can change into a viral as well, so you'll have a fast-running, super aggressive zombie that can hit Crane like a truck at that point - this will be a new type of viral that should be killed INSTANTLY.
Despite the few complaints, I GREATLY enjoyed the new Following DLC and the overall enhanced edition was fun to go back to. If you're a fan of Dying Light or just greatly enjoyed the main game, it's definitely worth it to try out this new DLC. The Following clocks in at about 6-8 hours for the story missions and I still haven't completed all the extra side quests yet or found many of the extra blueprints or collectables hidden in the environment. The enhancements to the old game are very appreciated as well since they solve many of my complaints with the original game.
+ The Following is a rather long and detailed campaign for a DLC campaign
+ Still maintains that fantastic soundtrack and overall sound
+ The new dirt buggy vehicle is fun to use and upgrade
- The new map in The Following really needs at least one fast travel point
- Side quests become forced at a certain point of the new DLC story (I'm kind of neutral on this since they are good and help to flesh out the story, but I don't like being forced into them)
Final Rating: 91% - Even though the light is dying for the people of Harran, this zombie game's light couldn't be brighter with this new enhanced edition of Dying Light.
Note: A review code for this game was provided by the publisher.