Dying Light 2 Review (PS5) – ‘Exactly What Fans of the First Game Wanted’

Dying Light offered players a fresh take on the zombie game, with an open world to explore and new parkour options to utilize that hadn’t really been seen before. Seven years later, developer Techland has finally produced a sequel. Is this just more of the same or have things been changed up for the better?

Dying Light 2 PS5 Review – Chrome Finish

The proprietary Chrome Engine runs quite well on the PS5. Initial load time is the lengthiest, with wait times of approximately 30 seconds or more there. But respawning after dying only takes a few seconds, and naturally, there are no other loading screens since the game is first-person and open world. There are three graphics preference options to choose from.

Quality turns on ray tracing, and targets some sort of 4K resolution, with upscaling, though this mode churns along with the lowest frame rate as a result. It certainly looks good in this mode, if not exactly phenomenal. A resolution option ditches the ray tracing to render at or near 4K resolution all the time, with a faster frame rate to boot. This mode shows off some more detail, but loses some of the ambiance that naturally results with the better lighting offered in the quality mode.

Finally, the performance mode scales back all the fancy texture and lighting tricks to render the game at a much higher frame rate. This results in a smoother feel to the game, but those playing on 4K sets may find the visuals kind of lacking. In each graphics mode, an occasional flash of black randomly shows up, something which will hopefully be patched out early after the game’s launch

Audio work in Dying Light 2 is pretty good, with the guttural moans of the undead a constant, mixed in with distant animal life, the shrieks of the intimidating yet kind of annoying howlers, and of course, the sounds of the livelier safe zones and city centers are a welcome respite after spending a night creeping around in stealth mode avoiding certain death.

While everything is fully voiced, with hundreds of characters some of the voice work sounds phoned in. Tearing and ripping flesh with the various weapons does sound visceral, though, which is important in a game that features only melee combat this time around.

Dying Light 2 PS5 Review – Plenty to Do

Dying Light 2 is an open-world game, like many of Techland’s offerings. It seems the developer wasn’t lying about the playtime, either. For instance, you can’t go more than a few city blocks without running into a quest giver, challenge, or random encounter – there are a ton of activities to complete outside of the main quest.

Speaking of, the main story is easy to mainline, barring a few parts that require you to complete a sidequest. Outside of that, a handy indicator always points to the exact location you need to head to next in order to progress the story. Completion of the main adventure will take most players about 20 hours, as advertised.

The story stars Aiden, a Pilgrim who usually goes from place to place, delivering messages or goods as required by whoever’s paying. We join him midway through his quest to find his long-lost sister. Outside of some flashbacks to his childhood, Aiden is an empty vessel, since the player decides how he behaves at certain branches in the narrative.

If you’re sick of zombies, this is definitely not the game for you. The plot feels pretty standard for this type of setting, with warring factions, uneasy truces, backstabbing, and all the usual drama that comes with modern humans placed into miserable conditions. The story is ultimately not the star of the show here – once again the world that Techland has built is.

There are two main areas to explore, each packed with people, secrets, challenges, and zombies. During the day, most zombies don’t pose much of a threat, and as usual for most apocalyptic settings, other humans are usually your biggest cause of trouble. At night, however, zombies become much more numerous, and the rooftops become a safer way to travel, though of course this isn’t without its own set of risks.

Dying Light 2 PS5 Review – Freaks Come Out At Night

Nighttime is where the challenge can be found since Aiden is limited in the amount of time he can spend outside of protective UV rays when the sun goes down. Besides more numerous zombie crowds, some especially tough enemies can be found in certain areas of the city, and some buildings can be entered and looted.

At the start of each morning, extra XP is earned based on the player’s performance during the night. This XP earns skill points to unlock Aiden’s latent combat and parkour skills, while finding and collecting inhibitors increase his health or stamina while also allowing for extra time that can be spent outside of the protection of UV light.

The world of Dying Light 2 was designed with verticality in mind, owing to the series’ focus on parkour. Conveniently colored ledges highlight potential running lines, Mirror’s Edge style. Movement can be so smooth once you get the hang of the traversal options, that it kind of feels like a first-person version of Assassin’s Creed, but with zombies.

This is especially true whenever a random thief appears, however the pathfinding abilities of these NPCs is paltry, since as long as you stay within a couple dozen meters of them, they usually end up doubling back towards you, oftentimes falling to their own death or right into your swinging weapon. While climbing may be a treat, getting back down can be a bit awkward as the game tends to misinterpret when you’re trying to climb down a ladder or jump down the ledge unless you’re aligned just right.

Dying Light 2 PS5 Review – Familiar Yet Tweaked

There are a lot of weapon options to choose from in Dying Light 2, all of which are great for melee combat. Baseball bats with nails, hooks, broken shovels, all the classic weapons you’d expect make an appearance here, and most of these can be modified to inflict extra damage, or shock, ignite, or inflict some other malady upon your poor victim.

Combat feels great, and without any gun options, you’ve always got to get in close to enemies to do any real sort of damage. The DualSense controller’s adaptive triggers are also used to indicate what type of weapon is being used, as well as a way to ascertain weapon condition.

Weapon degradation is a constant concern, and while increasing a weapon’s durability is a mod option, once that’s been used up and the weapon is used more, eventually it breaks down and you have no option but to ditch the weapon. With how frequently new weapons are found, though, most of which scale to the player’s level, this isn’t that big of an issue.

Dying Light 2 is probably exactly what fans of the first game wanted. The story may not be particularly motivating, but combat is fun while the PS5 powers a smooth experience. A few questionable tweaks by Techland will not be appreciated by all players, but co-op will make it easy to forgive some of that. If you’re not completely tired of zombie games yet, give Dying Light 2 a try. There’s plenty to see and do, and you’ll likely enjoy your harrowing stay in Villedor.

Dying Light 2 review code provided by the publisher. Version 1.004 reviewed on a PS5. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.

7.5Bronze Trohpy
  • Expansive open world
  • Solid melee-focused combat
  • Main campaign not too lengthy
  • Plot isn't a huge motivator
  • Odd graphics problems
  • Can't keep your favorite weapon for too long!