Dying Light: The Following (PlayStation 4) Review

By Gareth F 25.02.2016

Review for Dying Light: The Following on PlayStation 4

Dying Light was a big hit for Polish developer Techland, and improved greatly upon the foundations laid out by their previous work, the fun but flawed Dead Island series. Similarly themed, it transposed the idyllic holiday resort setting to the run-down, fictional city of Harran, currently quarantined and at the mercy of the viral outbreak responsible for turning most of its population into rabid zombies. While protagonist Kyle Crane had his own agenda for being in Harran, much of his time was spent acting as a go-between for the increasingly desperate survivors and the criminal elements that had seized control of the medical supplies, using weapon crafting and parkour to avoid or defeat the zombies and the stress-inducing Volatile creatures stalking the streets after sunset. Just over a year after release comes The Following, a huge expansion DLC to the original nightmare.

While a cure for the virus has failed to materialise for the citizens of Harran, it only takes talk of domesticated zombies and normal, everyday folk seemingly immune to the infection to convince Crane that an investigative jaunt out to the countryside is in order. It soon becomes apparent that an ancient, mysterious cult calling themselves 'Faceless' and led by an elusive shamanistic woman known only as Mother might hold the key to a cure for the contagion. So begins The Following, which is accessed via the main menu rather than being an additional area grafted onto the existing map. While it could very well be a standalone episode by itself, it makes sense to have completed the main campaign prior to jumping in, as having access to all the equipment and skills accumulated during that playthrough will be beneficial.

The Slums and Old Town of Harran where dense areas that provided the ideal platform for Crane's parkour skills to shine, with the rooftops providing a relatively safe passage through areas where the larger packs of infected congregated. As a direct contrast, the Countryside is a huge, sprawling, open map that's larger than both areas in the original game combined, and as such the dune buggy is an essential new addition that aids exploration and brings a completely fresh element to the gameplay.

Screenshot for Dying Light: The Following on PlayStation 4

Techland have continued the precedent established with degradable weaponry by factoring in a continued vehicle maintenance regime, which is crucial in ensuring Crane's ride remains roadworthy. Besides constantly running out of fuel at inopportune moments, it soon becomes apparent that much like real life, reckless driving runs the risk of damaging the car, which in turn will impact its performance. Naturally this can make high speed escapes occasionally troublesome affairs, and nicely adds to the tension. Luckily there are plenty of abandoned cars scattered about the terrain that can be plundered for fuel or spare parts, meaning our hero's rudimentary mechanic skills are enough to keep the vehicle ticking over, provided of course that the required components are at hand.

Siphoning the fuel from nearby cars during less zombie-intense moments is a habit well worth getting into, though not all vehicles will yield results. There's an additional skill tree dedicated entirely to the driving aspect which, when levelled up, incrementally improves Crane's mechanic skills, enabling him to easily reinforce, upgrade, or even add weapons to his ride Mad Max-style. Driving the buggy around at high speed is exactly as much fun as it sounds, and there's a great deal of satisfaction to be had by cutting a swathe through a field full of shuffling infected.

Screenshot for Dying Light: The Following on PlayStation 4

There's always been a great divide between city dwellers and country folk, despite Dying Light providing evidence that they're not so different after all. For example, the urbanites and their country cousins share the same strange habit of locking up packets of cigarettes in large, oversized trunks, only to leave them scattered about the landscape in random locations. It's also surprising to find out just how many people seemed to carry packets of coffee around with them everywhere before succumbing to the infection.

Peculiar similarities aside, Crane's arrival into this fresh territory provokes exactly the kind of 'you're not from around these parts' reaction one might expect from a tightly knit community confronted by a stranger for the first time. Trust is earned and an essential requisite to reaching out to the Faceless, so much like the main campaign, Crane attempts to integrate himself with the locals by taking on the mantle of extreme odd job man once more.

Screenshot for Dying Light: The Following on PlayStation 4

Tasks can be gathered by either chatting to individuals or simply grabbing them from the job boards in safe areas, with each completed mission contributing towards the new 'level of trust' rank. There are a ton of side quests to supplement the main story missions, ranging from finding missing persons, cleaning out Volatile Hives, buggy races, and of course the much maligned fetch quest. On top of all that, there are plenty of new weapon variations to craft as well as previously unseen mutated strains of zombie to tangle with, including the hideously tough Demolisher.

Even speeding through the countryside isn't as safe as it could be, as the infected will frequently leap onto the buggy and claw away at the health bar until shaken off by a turbo boost. Given the sheer scale of the map, handy checkpoints have been added in the form of Hunting Towers, meaning that in the unfortunate event of Crane's demise, he will respawn at the nearest tower rather than miles away at an unlocked safe zone, though there is still the perilous on-foot journey back to the vehicle to contend with. Good night and good luck.

Screenshot for Dying Light: The Following on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

The Following should appeal to anybody who enjoyed holidaying in Harran during the original outbreak, and provides the perfect excuse to electrify a meat cleaver and slice up a few more shambling corpses for old time's sake. Those yet to witness the thrill of evading a pack of hungry virals by shinning up onto the nearest flat roof can pick up the Dying Light: Enhanced Edition which besides including both the full game and The Following expansion also includes a further two DLC packs of co-op zombie-slaying fun.

Developer

Techland

Publisher

Warner Bros

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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