Dying Light 2 Review In Progress: Look Before You Leap

When developer Techland added the subtitle “Stay Human” to Dying Light 2, it seemed to signal the team’s intentions to rediscover (and showcase) the humanity nestled at the core of the story. Since 2018, the team has made promises about the numerous narrative branches Dying Light 2 players would find in the game. Those branches are there, and they are indeed plentiful, but experiencing them felt equivalent to falling out of a tree and hitting my face on every branch on the way down. While Dying Light 2’s most crucial element, first-person parkour, is certainly better than it’s ever been in this massive sequel, much of the rest of the game fails to keep up.

Dying Light 2 is set in the fictional Villedor, a new city in the story, and features a fresh, grizzled hero central to its conflict. As a “pilgrim,” an outsider perceived as dangerous to the few remaining safe zones in the world, Aiden Caldwell ventures into Villedor in search of his sister Mia, whom he last saw years ago when they were both kids. Through hazy flashbacks that aren’t clear enough for even Aiden to rely on, his and Mia’s story is poorly delivered early and often. It feels as though simply telling players that Aiden and Mia are siblings is meant to be enough for the player to care about their hopeful reunion, but Techland struggles to show why anyone should be invested in Mia beyond the familial connection. She becomes a living Macguffin, meant to justify Aiden’s video gamey escapades as a side-questing superstar leaping across tall buildings in a single bound.

Surrounding Aiden is a wide cast of characters who can sometimes be diverse and interesting, but ultimately share one thing in common: poor voice acting. While Aiden’s actor, Jonah Scott, does well, and Rosario Dawson deserves some credit for her role as his part-time ally, Lewan, that’s about it in terms of voice talent. Other characters try and fail to pull on heartstrings, in part because of the subpar acting, and the less important the quest is, the worse the acting tends to be too. Sometimes the only thing more awkward than how a character said a particular line is that they said it at all. The writing routinely misses the mark.

Continue Reading at GameSpot

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