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E3 2019: Dying Light 2 Preview: Decisions, Decisions

E3 2019: Dying Light 2 Preview: Decisions, Decisions
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During E3 2019, we had the opportunity to see a roughly 30-minute behind-closed-doors demonstration of  Dying Light 2, the upcoming sequel to the 2015 open-world survival-horror action adventure game, Dying Light. Dying Light 2 takes place fifteen years after the first game and is set in what is described as a “modern dark age” that includes grim, primal buildings that are reminiscent of castles and includes many medieval and old-style weapons. One of the biggest additions to this game is the ability to make decisions that permanently impact the story in a multitude of ways, and change your gameplay.

The full game will feature seven distinct regions, with our demo taking place in an area called District 2. We also got our first look at the new protagonist, Aiden Caldwell. He is a survivor in a city where everyone is infected, including himself. The city is on the brink of collapse, and drinking water is set to run out the following day, immediately propelling you into action. The parkour-centric gameplay of the first title returns in Dying Light 2, but with some new abilities, including the addition of a grappling hook. The free movement allows you to traverse environments in any way you see fit—whether by wall running, jumping over gaps, vaulting over walls, ziplining, and more. Environments are dynamic, meaning most of what you come across can be interacted with, including walls, floors, and windows. And, similar to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, most of what you see can be explored, giving you an unparalleled sense of freedom.

Objectives can be completed in multiple ways, as can the various story beats. For instance, we caught a glimpse of an ambush attack on the protagonists during the demo, which required you to decide to stay and help your friend, or pursue the enemies. We couldn’t see it then, but each one of your actions have repercussions on the overall story. The presenter chose to chase the driver of a van, ultimately getting inside and interrogating the enemy. There were dialogue options presented, with our demonstrator choosing a more pacifist route in order to secure the code to enter an enemy compound. Once we arrived at the facility, the presenter explained that had we killed the driver, we would’ve had to sneak into the compound, which would’ve been much more difficult.

Once inside the compound, there were stealth mechanics shown off as we snuck around in search of the water valves to restore drinking water to the city. We also got a good look at combat with some of the thugs at the hideout. There are a number of new offensive and defensive combat skills added to the game. Weapons must be closely monitored as they break after heavy usage, similar to the first game, and can be repaired. There is also a stamina meter to keep an eye on that is more important than the first game, requiring you to plan out your decisions ahead of time a bit more.

At the end of the demo sequence, we were given the option to restore water to the city, at the risk of certain consequences. By making one of the choices, a water reservoir was drained from the city, revealing an entirely new area of the map that could be explored⁠—complete with NPCs and quest lines that could be started. The developers mentioned that certain actions can open or close off areas of the map completely, meaning every player will have a different possible story. After completing the lengthy campaign, players can expect to have truly seen only about 50% of the entire game.

Dying Light 2 is also playable entirely in co-op with up to four players. What’s really exciting is that any progress you make for your character carries over to your story, with the exception of story progress. Furthermore, because each player can potentially have a different story outcome based on their decisions, playing with your friends may allow you to see other aspects of the story you otherwise would have missed.

Dying Light 2 is set to release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC in Early 2020. What new features are you most excited to check out? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and for all your other E3 coverage and more, stick with Mammoth Gamers.

My name is Matthew Adler. I am a Freelance Video Game Journalist and also the Host and Creator of In Your Element: A Gaming Podcast. In Your Element is a general gaming podcast with an emphasis on indie games. I feature a variety of different guests each week for discussion around specific topics. Check it out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other major podcast services!