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December 2022

Dying Light

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Developer: Techland
Release Date: Oct. 19, 2021


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Switch Review - 'Dying Light: Platinum Edition'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Oct. 18, 2021 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Dying Light is a first-person, action survival horror video game with a portentous day-night cycle set in a vast open world.

Buy Dying Light: Platinum Edition

It's really easy to get burned out on zombies. For a while, they were everywhere, and even nowadays, there are more undead brains to smash than you know what to do with. Techland's Dying Light is one of the few zombie games that stand the test of time instead of feeling like another standard shooter. Perhaps one of the most-supported games after release, Dying Light has been going strong since 2015, but Nintendo's consoles were left out up until this point. Dying Light: Platinum Edition finally gives Nintendo die-hards a chance to experience an excellent zombie game.

Dying Light follows the story of Kyle Crane, a secret agent who's seeking a dangerous criminal who stole sensitive information. Unfortunately for Kyle, said criminal had fled to Harran, a Middle-Eastern city that's currently under lockdown due to a zombie outbreak. Kyle is forced to airdrop in, and he barely hits the ground before he is bitten and infected by one of the undead. Kyle must find his target, find a cure, and get out before Harran is overrun by the dead once and for all.

If you've never played Dying Light before, it's best described as an open-world parkour zombie game. In many ways, it's an evolution of the Dead Island title that Techland worked on. You are trapped in a zombie-filled environment and must escape by crafting weapons. It's a very accessible game and is probably one of the best examples of first-person platforming on the market. Pretty much everything I said in my original review still holds true for the gameplay. Playing Dying Light again, it's genuinely amazing how well it holds up for a six-year-old game. What really stands out is what is new to the Switch version from the initial release.

The first thing to discuss about Platinum Edition is how it runs on the Switch. The answer is both "surprisingly well" and "not particularly great." It runs relatively smoothly, but it suffers from a lot of slowdown in crowded areas or during busy nighttime segments. Surprisingly, it's not significantly worse than the PS4 version. It's a compromise, but it's less of a compromise than I was expecting with a Switch port of a game like this. I also feel that perhaps the zombies are less dense than they are in the other console versions, but they can still wreck your night. Beyond that, the port has all the content you'd expect, and there are some benefits to it being on the Switch, such as gyro aiming controls.

That said, there are more significant compromises to be had. The visuals have all taken a significant downturn. Textures are lower quality, shadows are severely compromised, and the amount of pop-up has been significantly increased. This is especially noteworthy in docked mode, where the corners that were cut to get the game running on the Switch stand out significantly. Things look "cheaper," for lack of a better word. However, handheld mode comes out ahead. The resolution is lower, but that also means that many of the tricks to get the game running don't stand out as much.

I'd argue that Dying Light's biggest advantage is simply that it makes a great handheld game. Being able to pick it up and put it down as you like really works for the game and makes it a lot of fun to play, even with the scaled-back graphics. It's clear the port had a lot of work put into it to make sure that it runs well enough on the Switch to be a worthwhile experience. If you're not planning to play it in handheld mode and you can get Dying Light on another system, you'll probably get the same experience but with better visuals.

One thing I do appreciate coming back to the Platinum Edition of the game is how absurdly much content was added to it. Dying Light is unique in that it has received a near-constant flow of new content since its release, including various DLC packs and a lot of free skins, weapons and items. Just booting up the game gives you a tremendous list of crafting recipes and costumes that you can use basically from the get-go.

As far as included DLCs go, there are a few meaty ones, the most significant of which is The Following, which is effectively a "sequel" to the original game that takes Kyle outside of the city to the wide-open land surrounding it. This adds a massive amount of new space to the game and a lot of new quests that eventually lead to two new game endings. It also adds a customizable dune buggy that you can trick out for maximum zombie-killing capabilities. If you're going to play one DLC, then this is the one.

The other major DLCs are less exciting but no less meaningful. They offer new combat or exploration challenges, usually with some sort of nice reward. Cuisine and Cargo adds new stealth-oriented Quarantine Zones to explore, Bozak's Hoard is a series of dangerous trials to complete, and Hellraid reimagines the game as a more combat-oriented fantasy video game. All three add extra content to the game, but they don't stand out as much as The Following, which is a must-have. I'll also note that Hellraid feels particularly awkward, but as of this writing, Techland is in the process of updating and adjusting it on all consoles, so more may be coming down the line.

That is it. Dying Light: Platinum Edition for the Switch is a straightforward port of a solid game. The basic zombie-killing parkour adventure is still as fun as it was when the game was originally released, and it has only received more content and more things to kill since then. The Switch version runs surprisingly well, so if you're willing to compromise visuals for portability, it might be the game for you. Dying Light 2 might feel like it's eternally delayed, but the Switch version can help tide players over until they get the chance to finally return to the zombie-infested world of Dying Light.

Score: 8.0/10

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