Dying Light Made Me Jealous of a Hatchet

dl3_topAnyone who says Dying Light isn’t a survival horror game is just plain wrong. You spend a ridiculous amount of time with neither medical supplies or worthwhile weaponry. I’ve put a good 25 hours into this game, and a good three-quarters of that time has been spent running away because I knew my table leg, wrench, or pipe was too damaged to do me any good.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining. In fact, if they threw an AK at me, I’d feel cheated. Being scared or unprepared is a big part of what makes the game great.

Sure, I’d like to find a fire axe or a machete, but weapons of that caliber aren’t just laying around in Dying Light. You have to trade valuable supplies for cash, like duct tape, alcohol, and gauze, forcing you to choose between doing damage or tending to your wounds.

This flows naturally alongside the game’s leveling system, where excelling at something like running away or cracking skulls will provide you with skill points in those respective areas. As you play, you get perks that are based on your style of survival.

Still, it’s not easy to succeed in Dying Light. You’re going to die many, many times as you scramble back towards a safe zone after scrounging up important supplies and crafting materials. In some ways, it reminds me of Far Cry 3, where I constantly had to rework my route from point A to B, hoping I wouldn’t die this time. For some, this may seem like a chore, but for me, it adds realism and gives me an incentive to get good.

Get used to seeing this first safe zone.

Get used to seeing this first safe zone.

While playing the last mission in the Dying Light preview, I was grouped with a handful of over-geared NPCs. In fact, their gear was so much better than mine that I got a bit angry. The dude on my left was sporting a nice big blade, while the guy on the right had a sharp-looking (albeit rusty) hatchet. Meanwhile, there I was in the middle, carrying a broken table leg with a bolt poking out.

Granted, I had the range advantage, but it would have been nice to be able to separate zombie limbs more easily. The more I stared at that hatchet, the more pissed off I got. When the horde descended us, I died despite my valiant.

And like any terrible workman, I blamed my tools.

The moral of the story is this: Don’t be stingy on your loadout, even if you do think you’ll need that first aid kit. After all, bandages are only helpful if you actually survive the battle.