Also On: Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive
Medium: Digital, Disk
There were many reasons why Dying Light was one of my top 5 games of 2015, yet the most important reason has nothing to do with the game itself. It was the support that developer Techland offered for this game from pre to post launch. The community for Dying Light has been strong since the game released almost a year ago and they are planning on supporting it for at least another year. Check out our review of Dying Light here.
With Dying Light: The Following, you once again take control of protagonist Kyle Crane, but this time you will be exploring a completely new map that is twice the size of the original games two locations. Kyle has been told by a survivor that there are people outside of Harran that have become immune to the infection. When you begin The Following, you have a choice to carry over your save from the original story if you have played it, or start from scratch. I would highly recommend you spend some hours with the base game and if you have the time, actually play through it first.
Having a higher level will help increase your chance of survival during your time with the expansion. My fellow editor Paul Rosselli and I played both the PS4 version (where my save originates) and the PC so I will discuss performance comparisons toward the end of the review. I started playing on PC and realized I didn’t stand a chance without an existing game so I took some time to level up a bit prior. This review is based on the PS4 version, since I had my existing save ready to go.
Even with all the equipment I had, I was still taking a beating. During my play through, I felt like “The Following” was a complete game all its own. The environment is an enormous country side with tons of open fields, racing trails, wooded areas, and even mountains to climb. You still are pretty dependent on your parkour skills, but to help get around even faster, Techland introduced a “Buggy” that you drive around that has its own skill tree and can even be upgraded/damaged.
For me, I would’ve preferred not to be reliant on the vehicular portion because for one, I’m terrible at First Person driving, and two, you are forced to depend on it because some missions are timed and Kyle doesn’t stand a chance on foot. Believe me, I tried. This was in no way a deal breaker for me though. I drove well enough to get from place to place.
That was, until the buggy started taking damage and breaking down. At one point my suspension was completely shot and I could barely make it up a hill. This forced me to begin repairing and potentially upgrading it. Damn screws to hell in this game! They are the key component to repairs and upgrades and I had a hard time coming across more than a couple at a time. Once you have the proper amount of scavenged screws, you can repair parts and even build better ones once you level up the buggy’s skill tree.
The new skill trees were also a great addition to the expansion because it provides even more hours of gameplay. Along with this, you also have the Legend tree which will take more time to level up but will go toward building your character even more than the core game. There is a hefty amount of content added that is presented on the box, so let’s talk gameplay.
The vanilla version played well with minimal hiccups, a great improvement over the Dead Island series. The following also included performance improvements thanks to community feedback. For me, enough time has passed since my last run with it, which helped make the time I had even more enjoyable. The Day/Night concept remains in place with the addition of new missions and plenty of new areas to explore. I enjoyed the “bounty” system that was included. You are given numerous tasks to complete, which you find in each of the safe areas.
These bounties include daily challenges that will help level up your new skill trees. The major benefit to most that I performed was they didn’t require me to go to certain locations, which would take me out of the way of story and side missions. The map is huge and there is so much to cover, which is really why the buggy is so useful. Most of the challenges I came across were done on foot so I would attempt them during missions.
Another unique feature that was added to this expansion was boards located at the safe areas, which had pictures or notes from missing people attached. You can grab these and add even more side missions. Some of the notes were actually submitted by fans in the community, which I thought was a nice touch as well. I didn’t complete many of these, but plan to revisit once I complete the main story and side missions.
While I spent most of my time playing solo, like I did with the original, I had some fun messing with co-op, which I never tried before. Fellow editor Paul Roselli jumped in a couple times to help me with some annoying bandits and I have to say, the sessions went great and I plan on using it more often. As I stated earlier, this review is primarily based off the PS4 version since I had my existing save, but I did take some time to play the PC version to compare the performance and graphics. I recently became an owner of a pretty decent PC rig and wanted to see how Dying Light would stack up on my i7 and new Nvidia GT 970 GPU.
I have to say, it’s tough to go back to the console version after running this at max settings. Running at a smooth 60FPS, it is easily the more favorable version so long as your PC can run it. The PC’s biggest improvement was the draw distance which can be adjusted on the PC. I would say the only performance inconsistencies I came across was going into a building when a swarm of zombies chased me in. The FPS dropped but only for a few seconds.
Overall, this is easily one of the best forms of expanded content for a game in years. Techland really outdid themselves and I can’t wait to see what else they have in store. For existing owners of Dying Light and the Season Pass which was originally not even part of it. A great value even for new comers with the new Enhanced Edition that includes The Following and all previous DLC.