When Dying Light launched early last year it marked the first time where developer Techland really got the zombie genre right. While Dead Island was a promising start, Dying Light was a lot more ambitious in what it set out to do. It’s overall plot may not have been groundbreaking, but the execution of it was tense and thrilling with characters you cared about and pacing that was relentless. Where the game truly shined, however, was in its gameplay. A first-person action adventure game set in a zombie-infested town with a fantastic parkour system at your fingertips was a great concept, and for the most part Techland pulled it off excellently.
Well, now here we are a little over a year later with an Enhanced Edition of the game. This new version of the game offers tons of improvements over the original, such as improved enemy AI, new parkour moves, a new Bounty system, a higher Nightmare difficulty and a whole lot more. There’s even a new Legendary skill tree that you can’t even access until you’ve maxed out one of your regular skill trees, which allows you to become an incredibly powerful dude as you make your way through it. Techland has really taken the time to listen to fan feedback and has improved upon the original game so much that it is absolutely worth playing even if you already did before.
However, an improved version of the base game isn’t the only thing this package offers, as you’re also getting all of the game’s previously-released DLC and the brand new expansion called The Following. This review will focus mostly on the expansion, though you can check out our full thoughts on the base game by clicking right here. Keep in mind that your progress from the base game is carried over to the expansion, with the game suggesting that you be at level 12 before starting The Following. I reached level 12 right around the time that I completed the base game for this review, so it’s suggested that you do that before diving into the expansion.
The Following offers an experience that is very unique compared to the base game, as it has protagonist Kyle Crane finding out that there is a way out of the zombie-infested Harran. Where his journey leads to is another zombie-infested countryside, though there is a lot more going on beneath the surface than what first meets the eye. After learning that there are people there that are immune to the typical consequences of zombie bites Crane discovers that there is a mysterious cult known as the Faceless, who are protecting the locals with help from the even more mysterious one they worship known as “The Mother”.
Of course, being a stranger that just came wandering into their town the locals don’t trust Crane at first and require him to prove himself before he can get information about this cult. Thus, The Following essentially boils down to you traversing this massive countryside that is even bigger than the base game to help out the locals and slowly uncover the details about the Faceless and the Mother. The plot is actually very interesting and I found it even better than the plot of the base game. The way the game unfolds is also more natural, as you’re encouraged to do side missions as a means to progress the main plot. As a result, I ended up doing far more side missions in The Following than I did in the base game, whether I needed to in order to advance the plot or not.
What really makes this expansion stand apart from the base game is the gameplay, as it is so unique in comparison. Where Harran is a dense city with constant obstacles and buildings to scale and run around in, the countryside is full of wide open areas with structures that are much more scattered in their locations. While this may sound boring on paper, what makes this a genius move is the addition of a customizable buggy that you can zoom around the terrain in and bulldoze hoards of zombies over with incredibly bloody results
The incorporation of this new buggy also brings with it a new Driver skill tree, which functions very much in the same way that the Survivor, Agility and Power skill trees do. Utilizing the buggy regularly by running over zombies, going at full speed and jumping off of ramps will gain you experience points to level up the buggy, which lets you do things like add a Nitro boost to it, a ramming bar to take zombies out easier, and even make it sturdier and more fuel efficient.
Speaking of sturdiness and fuel efficiency, the buggy adds a new and expansive facet to the game’s scavenge and crafting systems. As you ride around in the buggy you will have to regularly upgrade and repair its suspension, brakes, traction, engine and more, as well as keeping it fueled up. You’ll do this by scavenging the many abandoned vehicles that are littered throughout the countryside, as you open them up to take their available parts and siphon out the gas. You’ll also meet someone who will allow you to soup up your buggy even more if you have the cash.
The core gameplay of taking on hoards of zombies or bandits remains intact, though the Enhanced Edition adds in new weapons like the bow/crossbow that really offers a new way to play both the base game and The Following. You now have a much more reliable ranged weapon that can be used to take out zombies without attracting more of them as you would with guns. Landing headshots with these weapons is extremely satisfying and has become my new favorite way to play this game, which is made even better by the fact that you can go over to your fallen enemy’s corpse and retrieve the bolts/arrows you plugged into them.
One of the biggest reasons why The Following is so different compared to the base game is the fact that parkour takes more of a back seat to the buggy. This may be seen as a negative to some, but for me it was a great change of pace and kept me from burning out on the same kind of gameplay when moving from the base game to the expansion. There are still instances where parkour will be needed and comes in handy, but it’s obvious that Techland put their focus somewhere else this time and the expansion is all the better for it. It isn’t often that you get an expansion that feels so different (in a good way) compared to the base game from both a story and gameplay perspective, but Techland hit the ball out of the park in that regard.
Dying Light was already a solid game in its own right, but what Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition offers is so much more. The base game is improved upon in a variety of ways, you have access to loads of DLC content and The Following expansion packed in with it all is expansive and fantastic. If you haven’t experienced the world of Techland’s Dying Light yet then this is absolutely the definitive way to do so, though it’s even good enough for those who have already played it to take a double dip.
Dying Light: The Following Enhanced Edition
- Available On: Xbox One, PS4, PC
- Published By: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
- Developed By: Techland
- Genre: Survival Horror
- US Release Date: February 9th, 2016
- Reviewed On: Xbox One
- Quote: "Dying Light: The Following – Enhanced Edition offers so much more than what the base game did, while also improving upon the already solid base game at the same time. This is easily the definitive way to play Dying Light."