While not perfect, we're big fans of Dying Light around here. Zombie games aren't uncommon across platforms but there's a lot in this one that pulls you in. There's some pretty intense moments throughout and a large game world to explore and kill things in. And it's about to get bigger. Much, much bigger.
Say hello to the newest expansion, Dying Light: The Following. And it's huge. We had the chance to get some hands-on time at Gamescom recently, and we think you're going to like it.
While The Following is an expansion, it's by no means reliant on having finished the main game in order to play. But it's not a standalone, either, and Techland is assuming that anyone playing is already familiar with the games mechanics (and you need the main game to be able to play it at all). There's nothing massively new on that front. You can still run, climb, craft weapons, kill stuff just as you always could. But there are new weapons to use, some of which we've had chance to try out.
Video above contains a montage of raw footage from the demo shown to press at Gamescom 2015
So, what's it all about? What's the backstory?
So, while we mentioned there's no real reliance on having finished the main game, there are benefits to it. Since Crane is the protagonist here, you can carry across your experience and skills from Dying Light into The Following. Likewise any loot from The Following can be taken back into Dying Light.
Touching quickly on the new weapons, and at Gamescom we could try out the new Crossbow and Sub-machine gun. And I'm a dab hand with a crossbow if I do say so myself. There's something satisfying about firing off a series of well placed headshots with the 'bow. There'll also be many more ranged and melee weapons included in the final product.
Vehicles are also new in the form of dirt buggies and due to the scale of the map they're going to be essential in getting around without being killed. It also addresses one of the few criticisms we had of the main game. Our own Jonathan Dollison said this in his review of Dying Light:
He's absolutely right and its this which we see as one of the biggest reasons you'd want vehicles. The map in the main game is also perhaps less suited to vehicles anyway, but the massive expanse that is The Following would be impossible to traverse safely without. The experience of driving isn't bad, either. You're thrown into a first-person viewpoint and these things are pretty speedy. They're also great weapons in themselves. Oh, and check out the final few seconds of the video above. That's where the demo ended for us, flying through the air in a buggy into a ridiculous sea of zombies.
How big is the map then? The developers told us that it's the same size as all the maps in Dying Light combined. And it's 'just' an expansion, remember. One glorious, enormous expansion. There's a lot of open space this time around which contributes quite heavily to the scale of the map, but they're still open spaces teaming with undead nasties waiting to eat your face. Game time they're claiming is around 10 hours if you don't take on any side quests, but with a map this size its conceivable you'll spend longer than that in it.
And making the most of the new world, the new non-linear progression system provides a little more freedom to play how you want to play.
You can also play through The Following with your buddies. The Gamescom demo was set up for two-player co-op as seen in the video above, but the final release will support 4-player. Just like the regular game.
How much is all of this going to cost then? It'll be available for 14.99 Euros in Europe (prices may vary region to region). That is, unless you're a Season Pass owner, in which case you'll be rewarded with The Following for absolutely free. Techland made it clear to us at Gamescom that they want to reward the gamers who put their faith in Dying Light in this way by not asking them for any more money.
So, in closing, what do we think? For fans of Dying Light, The Following is a must buy. It's got everythiing that's great about the main game with a vast new world to explore, new weapons to kill stuff with and new ways of getting around. All wrapped up in a new story where you're able to pick and choose which missions you want to fulfill in order to gain the trust of the local cult.
We played through the early stages of The Following at Gamescom and left impressed. Vehicles alone make such a difference in getting around quickly, and at the asking price it feels like great value, too. There's a lot that's gone into it, and we're very much looking forward to playing through the finished article.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine