We the zombie-slaying gaming community have truly been blessed this year with some outstanding titles. WWZ: Aftermath and Back 4 Blood both delivered in providing cooperative zombie annihilation fun. However, when one talks about some of the greatest zombie shooters/survival horror games, Dying Light is always on that list, and for good reason.
Released in January 2015, Dying Light introduced the day/night cycle as well as exhilarating parkour player movement. Both had never been seen in this genre. Mix it up with a mass open world to explore along with weapon degradation and you have a heart-pounding, palm-sweating banger of a game. So fast forward to October 2021 and this classic is now available on the Nintendo Switch with all the bells & whistles included and respectively titled Dying Light: Platinum Edition.
A middle eastern city called Harran has a mysterious viral outbreak occur. This virus transforms people into various types of zombies. The government quarantined the highly infected areas and The GRE (Global Relief Effort) are brought in to provide daily supply drops for those infected but have not turned and for the unaffected who are doing all they can to survive. You play as GRE agent Kyle Crane who is air dropped into the quarantine zone with the sole purpose of retrieving stolen documents by a politician named Kadir “Rais” Suleiman. These documents could lead to the development of a vaccine.
Unfortunately, once Crane lands he’s instantly attacked by zombies, bitten and in turn infected with the virus. A group of survivors witness the attack and bring him back to their sanctuary called The Tower. Crane is informed by the higher ups of the community that since there is no cure for the virus his only chance of survival is to obtain Antizin. The Antizin can slow down the virus and hopefully keep him alive until a vaccine is available. Crane keeps in constant communication with the GRE which have little regard for any of the survivors. Crane wants to complete his mission but at the same time do all he can to save the survivors.
The Tower is exactly that, a tall building with multiple floors to explore. You have a room in which you can swap out your outfit and since this is the Platinum Edition, every outfit from previous DLCs and updates are readily available. The Tower is not only the main source to obtain story missions but also has some fun side quests. There are also a few weapon / supply vendors. Tip, the quartermaster vendor next to the Tower exit provides you will FREE items daily.
So, make it a habit upon returning to the Tower to check his table and see if you have any free goodies to pick up. I always enjoyed exploring this building with its random NPCs having side conversations and checking all the highly detailed and unique apartments. Since I own Dying Light on multiple platforms, I was pleased to see everything is how I remembered. Some would think certain “unnecessaries” would need to be removed either to reduce the file size which is not bad at 15gb or to improve overall performance.
Dying Light runs at 30 FPS in 1080p docked and 720p in handheld. Since I have a Switch OLED model, I spent the majority of my playtime in handheld. The overall gameplay performance was solid. I was surprised how well this port performed since the city is filled with buildings, cars, and hordes of the undead roaming every inch of the map. Since you will spend the majority of your playtime running / parkouring, I was concerned this game would be plagued with texture pop in issues.
Thankfully, I didn’t come across a single problem. I like to attempt long parkour runs going from point to point and it was great to have this experience without encountering freezing or game stutters. The only part of the game that I think took a hit in this port has to be the draw distance texture resolution. Its not horrible and you can still make out the building’s way off in the distance so no “fog of war” but its not as clean compared to its console / PC versions. However, zombies up close look just as gruesome and terrifying and every grabbable building ledge is clearly visible.
Dying Light’s gameplay mechanics is what made this title a classic. You can truly play this game multiple ways. Want to kill every zombie you encounter? Go for it, but keep in mind your weapon will degrade. I personally am not a fan of weapon degradation but I respect the developer’s decision to implement it. By having your weapons degrade it forces the player to strategize an attack or choose not to engage and parkour your way to your next destination. Since you will find weapons, parts, and other items everywhere, the weapon degradation doesn’t hinder the combat experience. If you have parts to fix your current weapon, a prompt will appear at the bottom of the screen saying to press (X) to fix it (if you keep hint display option on).
You can also upgrade your weapon in the menu screen. There are countless weapon variations based on the items that you find in the world. The inventory screen does a great job organizing all of the weapons and items that you collect and will let you know what can be crafted which removes the guess work. For example, if you have the required items to craft a med kit, it will be available in the “blueprint” tab. If you don’t, the med kit option will not be present. Now I like to take the stealth approach and avoid conflicts when possible. Since I’m not using my weapons and hording items, I am able to upgrade my weapons and when the time comes to use one, they do significantly more damage.
I also recommend keeping track of the time. When in the menu screen, you will see a clock on the far right showing the current time. To avoid spoilers, I’ll just say at night the intensity gets bumped to 100% and you will literally be running for your life to a safe house. On the flip side, you get a boost in skill leveling while out at night. So if you are on a mission and its getting late, find a safe house and wait till sunrise to continue.
Another great RPG feature is the ability to upgrade Crane’s skills by simply playing / exploring the world. There are 4 skill trees
So, if you feel like just exploring buildings for items, keep in mind that even if you don’t find anything of use just performing the running, jumping, climbing and exploring is filling up the level bar to unlock a new skill. Do a lot of climbing? Agility will be getting a boost. One of my favorite skills to unlock is the running drop kick. It looks cool as hell and can get you out of a tight situation.
When it comes to the co-op play, Dying Light Platinum Edition supports up to 4 players online and if you want to play local co-op then you will need 3 other switches along with each player having their own copy of the game. So, no split-screen co-op play and no cross-platform play. Now it’s worth mentioning that the developers Techland have confirmed Dying Light 2 which releases February 4th 2022 will support cross platform-play. Within the first hour of the game, a prompt will appear asking if you want to play cooperative or solo. This can also be changed in the menu screen at any time so if you get frustrated running solo, then you can go co-op on the fly.
Dying Light Platinum Edition also supports Gyro controls for projectile weapons along with touchscreen menu navigation. As you can see from the list below, the game includes every piece of content ever released for Dying Light.
- Dying Light: The Following – a huge expansion complete with a new story, vast original map, and a customizable buggy to drive.
- Dying Light: Bozak Horde – a challenging game mode with its own side story.
- Cuisine & Cargo – two additional quarantine zones.
- Ultimate Survivor Bundle – exclusive weapons and outfits.
- Hellraid – a new game mode in a dark-fantasy setting.
- A large collection of skins and weapons that will make slaughtering zombies even more fun:
Dying Light Platinum Edition is an amazing port of one of the all-time great zombie survival horror games. The port looks and feels like it should with nothing removed. The ability to play this game in all its glory on my switch in handheld on the go blows my mind. This is one of the main reasons why I own a switch, so I can play these quality ports in the palm of my hands. Dying Light Platinum Edition was awesome in 2015 and its still awesome in 2021 so if you played it before or somehow it slipped under your radar, definitely consider picking this one up now.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Dying Light Platinum Edition for the Nintendo Switch provided by Techland.