Life in Harran can take some getting used to. The laws and unwritten rules that govern today’s civilized society went out the window as soon as the city was quarantined from the outside world following a nasty outbreak that turned most of its citizens into the flesh-eating undead. For some, survival means taking from others. But this isn’t DayZ, so we’re going to need to try something else.
I’ve learned some tricks during my time with Dying Light, some of which I’m going to share with you today. My hope is you’ll glean something that will make your experience with this fantastic horror game a little more enjoyable.
Ready? Let’s go.
It’s More Fun With Friends
This should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Dying Light is exponentially more enjoyable if you have at least one other friend to share the experience with. They’ve even added random challenges that make co-op play more interesting by adding a layer a light competition to the mix.
The game supports up to five players in a game, but who’s that popular?
Come Up With Your Own Story
Techland is not particularly adept at constructing interesting stories, relying instead on satisfying how fun it is to use specially modified weapons to carry the game. Dying Light offers a stronger narrative than Dead Island, but it’s still weak.
Mute is always a viable option, as is coming up with your own story, if you’re feeling creative. You can also do what I sometimes do for games that are fun to play but not all that interesting to follow and listen to a podcast. I powered through the entire Serial series during Dragon Age: Inquisition’s quieter moments.
Save Your Mods
The weapons you’ll find in Harran can be improved by using blueprints and mods. The latter is found by completing quests, saving survivors, and looting police vehicles. When you get a mod, try and resist the urge to immediately use it on one of your weapons. The reason for this is you’ll almost definitely be swapping out your arsenal with better gear all the time, so it’s better to save up a few mods for when you find a weapon you’ll be using for some time.
It won’t take long. Loot is everywhere, and the shopkeepers’ inventories change every day and every time you gain a Survivor level. I also suggest buying blueprints from merchants when they’re available, because they’re never there for very long.
The Floor is Lava
There are no vehicles in Dying Light, so your own two legs will be your only way of getting around this wide open city. This means you’ll want to get that Agility level up fast, as it unlocks new parkour abilities — like the grappling hook, which descends from the heavens when you reach level 12 and immediately makes this game so much better — that make getting from point A to point B easier, faster and way more fun.
There are two ways to become a freerunning master — more on that in a sec — and the first is to run, jump and slide over everything. Just pretend like the floor is lava and stick to the rooftops.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark
Contrary to all those spooky trailers, the night is your friend. Harran gets significantly more dangerous when the sun goes down. Going out is worth the increased risk mostly because it doubles the XP you gain, so growing those Agility and Power levels takes a lot less time.
Another bonus to going out for some fresh night air is the precious supply drops that land at night can’t be looted by bandits. If you can make it past all the Volatiles, those supplies are all yours.
Get Those Supply Drops
Unless you absolutely cannot go for them, when you feel the telltale rumbling that signals an imminent airdrop, always go after them. Secure enough of them and you’ll never have to worry about flares or medkits, and turning them into the Quartermasters grants a massive amount of Survivor XP.
Secure Safe Houses
Scattered about the city are buildings and fenced-off areas that are well-lit enough to provide shelter for runners seeking safe haven at night. Before they can be used for this purpose, they need to be secured first. Securing as many of these as you possibly can early on will make nightime excursions a lot less terrifying.
Wait to Repair Weapons
Techland has done away with workbenches in this game, but weapons can still be repaired. However, each weapon can only be repaired a certain number of times, depending on its quality. For example, orange tier weapons can be repaired more times than a basic grey tier one.
To optimize the limited number of repairs you have, hack away or bludgeon Zeds until the game lets you know your weapon can’t take any more abuse, then repair it.
Certain Abilities Rock
Overall, I much prefer the skill trees in Dying Light to the more specialized ones in Dead Island. There are only a few I had no desire to invest skill points in, and even those were mostly two-handed abilities I’d never use because a true survivor never double-fists it. One-handed weapons all the way, baby.
Some of the abilities I highly recommend you invest in would include the Shield, because it’s unbelievably useful against human enemies. The head vault skill is great, too. Not only does it grant a decent amount of XP upon every use, but it also makes getting around a lot easier.
The head stomp — one of my favorite abilities in Dead Island — is also worth it. It’s satisfying and makes clearing a zombie-infested street simple. Just jump on a car and squish the heads of the zombies as they try and climb on the hood.
Do it right and you’ll get nary a scratch, I promise.
Of course Dying Light would have an enemy that explodes, it is a zombie game after all.
The Bombers are particularly nasty because they tend to insta-kill even the hardiest of runners with their too-overpowered kamikaze attack. They’re easily identifiable from the front because they have their insides on their outsides, but they look like any other zombie when seen from behind.
Use the Environment
Harran is lousy with environmental hazards. Car traps and electrified fences require certain skills before they can be used, but there’s plenty out there that you can make full use of from the beginning. If you see a puddle of water sitting on a tarp, lure some ghouls to it for a shocking good time. If you see a barrel or a wall with spikes on it, kick a zombie onto it to kill it instantly. Making use of these traps will net you bonus XP that will make improving your runner that much easier.
That’s most of what I’ve learned so far. I hope it helps. If you have some lessons of your own, feel free to share them with us in the comments below. Good night and good luck!
If Techland’s past work — Dead Island — has you unsure about Dying Light, I called it a “flawed, gorgeous, and alarmingly addictive.” It’s not without some jank, but it’s significantly less so than their other open-world zombie game.
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