Dying Light is one of those games that you simply don't want to put down. Nearly every night since its release, I keep making a promise to go to sleep after X happens only to break it again. While this can be really frustrating, particularly at two in the morning, it speaks a lot to how great this game is. What I would like to do is present a few things that, to me, have been real game changers.
Crafting Done Right
If any of you have been listening to the podcast [insert shameless plug of podcast here], then you know that I LOVE! this crafting system. First, the different types of resources seem to be very balanced. There are enough types that I don't feel like I'm using the same items repeatedly, but at the same time there aren't so many of them that I have forty different resources and can't make a single thing. So far in the game, I have found roughly twenty things to craft with. These resources are mostly available throughout the map, either hidden in containers or in the case of plants, out in the open. I have never really been without a wide assortment of resources, and with the exception of some plants, they can all be used in multiple blueprints.
Which brings us to the next item: blueprints. Other games refer to them as recipes or spells; Dying Light calls them blueprints. A blueprint is an instruction manual on how to build something. Once you have a blueprint, you can make whatever is described with it. Blueprints can allow for the creation of three types of items: weapon buffs, potions, or equipment such as throwing stars, shields, flammable liquid, etc. What I find to be great about these blueprints is the way they allow you to really change how the game is played. For instance, in a pinch I can decide that I want to make a few impromptu traps using flammable liquid and some Molotovs, craft them up, and set the world on fire. In the same scenario, I might choose to go another route by making conductive liquid and placing an electric buff on my current weapon. It doesn't take long to see just how creative this allows players to be.
One quick note that I have to add before moving on: the potions are equally as great and add a lot of fun to the game when used correctly. Ok, moving on.
Weapons are Temporary
Having weapons degrade while using them is not a new concept for games, but Dying Light takes this concept and makes subtle changes that really add to the overall gameplay. In Dying Light, you can only fix a weapon so many times before the weapon can no longer be repaired. This means that any weapon, including the buffs and upgrades made to that weapon, will only be used for maybe thirty minutes of gameplay depending on how heavily you use it. If this sounds frustrating, it can be. However, it also causes a player to never get too attached to a weapon, which is a good thing.
What I have found while playing Dying Light is that when one of my weapons can no longer be repaired, I re-evaluate my playing style. While I could probably craft a similar item to the one I just had, I often find a better combination of blueprints and equipment that I can use. This causes me to evolve my playing style, and I like it. One of the issues that Jordan brought up in our Dying Light video [insert shameless plug for Dying Light video here] is that it's really easy to get bored with a game. I agree. I wouldn't necessarily say this is because the game lacks content or isn't fun but rather because of the way a person plays the game. Even though there may be a wide variety of content, if you never switch tracks to experience it all, you will quickly get bored. Dying Light encourages you to change tracks by destroying the track you're on.
Adds Up to Seamless Gameplay
While I think there are more things that set Dying Light apart, I want to settle on a point to which I think all the other things add up. Dying Light is a series of mini-stories that are all tied into a larger story with seamless gameplay. From the weapon creation to resource gathering, from storyline to running for your life and ultimately just surviving, this game is a blast to play. It's obvious from beginning to end that Techland cared about making this game as well as they could, and they succeeded.