Dying Light: The Following Preview

Next month is a great one for games, and on the horizon is the first story-based DLC for Dying Light, entitled The Following. I got a chance this week to sit down with the new material and give its features a test spin, taking a brief trip across the chapter's new setting to get a feel for what's in store. Read on!

The press demo for The Following is limited to two hours and only a handful of missions, so I can't speak as to the DLC's narrative arc and the quality of the missions.  However the biggest new feature, the addition of drivable buggies, is a lot of fun. While initially adding vehicles to a game that features narrow, cluttered streets as such an integral part of its design seems unwise, in execution it works out well. The setting of The Following is more rural, steering the game's core gameplay towards combat and driving, as opposed to the stealth and parkour tactics necessary to survival in Harran. There are prairies and fields that both necessitate and accommodate the buggies, and the open wide spaces allow you to speedily zip from one place to another. The buggies themselves handle beautifully, responding to direction with tight, precise control.

There's a new skill tree directly related to driving and buggies can be upgraded with mods found in the environment, as with weapons. They can also be customized with paint jobs, bobbleheads, and charms. Players will also have to fuel up frequently. There are abandoned cars and trucks that you can search for gas, which has to be loaded manually into the vehicle. The process leaves you vulnerable to zombie attacks but fortunately, the animations are speedy and uncomplicated. Hopping into your buggy will not be so time consuming that you fall prey to a horde.

You'll encounter more human enemies while you're out exploring the many farms dotting the landscape than you did in Harran, so make sure your shooter skills are still sharp. If you get stuck in the middle of nowhere as evening falls, keep an eye out for hunting towers, which will offer brief respite from the more tenacious zombies that dominate the night.

I was hoping that with The Following, Techland would take this opportunity to tweak some other features, like the laborious weapon selection menu, but that sadly has not happened. Nonetheless things are shaping up well and I look forward to getting back into Dying Light.

Dying Light: The Following debuts on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on February 9, 2016.