200 Games, 200 Words: 14 – Dying Light


The parkour actually has a nice sense of embodied movement

There were so many reasons to pass on Dying Light. Not only was it an open-world zombie survival crafting game, but also an extension of the terrible Dead Island series of OWZSC games. However, once I finished with Fallout 4 I was casting about for something to occupy my time, and I happened to latch onto Dying Light.

Dying Light has a number of clever risk vs. reward systems that I really appreciated, i.e. rooftop safety vs. zombie-filled streets, daylight safety vs. faster XP gain at night. But that quickly wears thin, because Dying Light never really does anything with them, and the progression systems quickly make risks meaningless. And the environments are terribly generic (just like the voice acting, the script, the endless fetch quests) with immense amounts of repetition and little sense of place.


Far, far less violent and gory than the actual game.

More than that, though, a lot of other aspects of the game really started to get to me. Having a white undercover paramilitary dude beat the hell out of a whole lot of non-white bodies, and especially women’s bodies, got to me. Presenting them as zombies doesn’t actually negate what those bodies represent. All in all, Dying Light is just another fairly mindless and unnecessarily cruel exercise in video game stuff for the sake of video games, with nothing much of substance to justify its production.