Dying Light: The Following Review

The following review has been written based on experiences with the PlayStation 4 version of the game. Certain technical aspects, issues and details may not apply to performance on other platforms.B_STORYThe Following continues the journey of Kyle Crane after the ending of the main campaign. Taking his place among the survivors, Crane and co discover rumors of people immune to the virus beyond the city. With a map to a secret passage out of the city, Kyle moves to the country in search of the people that could possibly save the people of Harran. Making his way beyond the boundaries of Harran, Crane discovers that a kind of religious cult may be the answer to his problems, but in order to speak to the people and ask for help, he must first gain the trust of the people that can show him the way, which is quite a task by itself.Screenshot_0002_Layer 2The main issue with the narrative of The Following is that whilst its composed of a decent narrative by itself, the main protagonist is still severely underdeveloped and bland, which maintains the same narrative problems that the base game itself showcases when it comes to the story. There is nothing out of the extraordinary that really throws another layer of depth on top of the lore and narrative of the main game, though its themes do help the story gain some traction as you move along.B_PRESENTATIONWhen it comes to the technical department of Dying Light, we’d like to focus more on the design and presentation of the world of The Following, though there are a few remarks that do apply to players of both the base game and the new expansion.

Dying Light is a piece of performance that has two faces (in regards to the PlayStation 4 version in this case.) Whilst performance never really delves under 30 frames per second (with the exception of slowdowns, which don’t really affect the framerate), there is one technical issue that has made its way from the base game to the DLC, which is a problem in regards to the unlocked framerate. In certain situations, performance peaks, causing the framerate to peak for a second or less at a time. These peaks cause the framerate to range from 30 to 60 frames per seconds for a short period of time, which can cause some issues in perception, which I experienced many times during my walkthrough.Screenshot_0003_Layer 1However, when it comes to the design The Following does perform incredibly well when it comes to differentiating itself from the main game. Exchanging the urban environments of Harran, we are instead transported to vast landscapes and nature that not only provide visual variety, but impact the gameplay itself in a radical way, though we’ll obviously get back to that in a bit as we discuss the gameplay itself.

There aren’t really any differences between the main game and the expansion when it comes to visual fidelity, but the vast change in environment is quite refreshing as an experience. During the opening sequence I found myself at the top of an incredibly high ridge, where I found myself taking a long pause to look at new part of the world that I was about to explore, which looked quite stunning from my extremely deadly vantage point. Grasslands are lush and large, forrest areas are cramped and full of life, and even though the environments are a lot less dense in comparison to the main campaign, exploring these outskirts is just as rewarding from a visual standpoint.B_GAMEPLAYDying Light by itself has proved that it could provide players with a fun and challenging experience, but keeping such an experience fresh is often an issue when it comes to providing new content for such a title. The Following in some ways isn’t actually the expansion you’d expect before learning about its contents, but that’s where its greatest strengths are found.

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The gameplay focus of the game has always been with parkour/traversal on foot, but even though you’ll be spending a lot of time walking around like you’d do on the streets of Harran, the countryside isn’t exactly the easiest place to get around on foot, which is where the biggest addition of the game steps into the spotlight. For the first time in the game players can use vehicles to get around, which do seem like a much more natural extension of the game than you’d expect. You’ll drive and kill your way through the game world as you go on, but everything has its price, and you’ll have to actively upgrade and refuel your buggy as you progress. None of these additions feel tacked on however, as the nature of these elements is quite familiar due to the fact that its seamlessly implemented into the existing skill tree system. It’s fun, a welcome change of pace and a great example of a developer thinking outside of the box for a game like Dying Light.Screenshot_0000_Layer 4But even though you’ll spend a lot of time driving around and working on your ride, does the mission design of the new campaign hold up? The Following is actually quite diverse in its offerings, and the new environments and the addition of vehicular gameplay refueled my interest in the game, though there is an issue in mission design that isn’t exactly exclusive to Dying Light. Some of the time I found myself doing several fetch and deliver-types of missions, which did affect my interest at times throughout the campaign, as there isn’t really anything interesting or fun about these missions in any way. You’ll be fetching numerous objects and returning them as favors, which seems more like filler material than anything.  Luckily these moments don’t last too long, but it’s a annoying piece of design none the less.B_CONCLUSIONDying Light: The Following isn’t the type of DLC that simply repeats the main game. It takes some of the best elements, adds some interesting and sometimes surprising new elements, mixes them together and creates a great amount of content that isn’t only fun, but actually feels fresh in many ways. The Following is a great expansion that not only compliments the main game, but provides new and returning players with a new and fresh experience that stands well on its own.

Engaging vehicle gameplay
Fresh environment design
Great amount of content
Some performance issues
Lackluster protagonist
Some repetitive mission design