Title: Dying Light Platinum Edition
Release Date: October 19, 2021
Reviewed On: Switch
Dying Light is one of those games that I turn on and get lost in for hours. Dodging zombies, hopping from roof to roof, and surviving the night was expertly executed in its initial release in 2015. As surprised as I was that I’d still be playing this game in 2021, I was even more surprised that I would be playing it on Nintendo Switch.
Dying Light introduces the Global Relief Effort or GRE who has just hired Crane to recover a document from a rouge agent, Suleiman. The assignment seems simple enough until Crane steps foot on the island of Harran. Instantly, he is attacked by a group of thugs led by the local Warlord, Rais, and subsequently infected. Crane must now decide how far he is willing to go for the cure, not only for the world but for himself.
The story is a little heavy-handed as it’s clear that the survivors in the Tower are the only morally good characters. On the other hand, Rais likes to torture anyone he deems weak, and the GRE will do anything for the greater good. These different attitudes are pushed to the point of cartoonish evil.
However, Dying Light doesn’t try to be anything more than this. It’s a classic story where the good guys take on the bad guys, and it doesn’t need to do anything more than that. It’s something that can be picked up and put down with little consequence, which makes it perfect for the Switch.
I mostly played in Handheld mode for the duration of my time with the game. I did notice a few quirks that come with porting it over to a different system. The most noticeable issue is found in the zombies who don’t need to be too far away before dropping in framerate.
These individual drops help with the draw distance and allow the game to run smoothly in the busier sections of the island. It was distracting at first, but I quickly got used to it. This problem is significantly reduced or less noticeable when playing docked.
Another minor issue is when a zombie grabs you, the screen blurs to focus on it. The problem comes that after you break free, there are a couple of seconds that the screen remains blurred. This blur leaves you open to another attack and is a bit disorienting. Even after getting used to it, I found that I needed another second to re-orient myself or blindly ran ahead. Much like the previous issue, once docked, it disappears almost entirely.
Another issue I noticed from this Switch version is found the motion controls. The feature doesn’t seem to work very well, if at all. The developer mentioned that it is a known issue and there will be a patch to address the problem, although I was disappointed that the feature wasn’t working. Despite these issues, the game holds up surprisingly well. I quickly sunk in hours just running around the island and exploring it all over again. The handheld factor of the Switch only serves to enhance my time with the title.
The textures look a little dated, but they hold up well enough, considering the original released in early 2015. However, I noticed some messy textures and a bit of pop-in as I ran by. These issues instantly vanished as I worried about getting to my next destination, bobbing and weaving through hordes of infected.
The gameplay felt responsive outside of the motion controls, and leveling up my free-running abilities became second nature. The movement is where Dying Light shines the most. I forgot how fluid this game was as I chose a destination and just ran.
What’s more, is that it feels at home on the Switch, and it’s clear the developers put care into this port. Not once did I want to return to the console or PC version. If someone had told me that this was a brand new game, I would have believed them as little compromises were made for this release.
Dying Light has found a new home and is worth returning to for both veteran fans and those touching down on Harran for the first time. Playing again made me excited for the sequel’s release and made me appreciate this title even more. This and more is what a port should do, so good luck and good night.
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