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Dying Light review impressions: Fresh zombies, coming in hot

Hayden Dingman | Jan. 28, 2015
Like every other game reviewer, we just got our hands on Dying Light review code yesterday. Seeing as how it's a massive open-world game I assume lasts somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-30 hours, we're understandably not finished with the game yet. Not even close, really.

Like every other game reviewer, we just got our hands on Dying Light review code yesterday. Seeing as how it's a massive open-world game I assume lasts somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-30 hours, we're understandably not finished with the game yet. Not even close, really.

But I've put in several hours with the game and I've got some initial opinions to share so you're not buying it completely blind.

Opinions like...

1. It's coming in hot

Well, it seems from my limited time with the game that there's a reason we didn't get review code until the day before launch: This game is coming in hot, which is a polite way of saying "I think Dying Light could've used some more polish."

I've heard that the console versions are okay, but the PC version has some curious issues. I'll be looking around the Internet today to see if others report the same, but I've been experiencing a lot of frame stuttering and some outright freezing.

Ninety-five percent of the time, the game runs as expected. Some slowdown here and there, but nothing too major.

Six or seven times now I've hit a full-on halt, though. Here's how it goes: Visuals freeze, but audio keeps playing for a few seconds. Audio freezes. Visuals slowly (one frame per second) ratchet back in sync with the audio over the course of a few seconds. Game continues like normal.

I've tried dipping all sorts of settings, but so far no luck. It seems to happen completely at random, and I don't know what to do to fix it. Let me know if you're also playing on the PC and experiencing issues. I'm not willing to say "This game is broken." This isn't AC: Unity — PCs are fickle, and performance issues even more fickle. But I also wanted to let everyone know of the issues on my own, personal rig, which is currently sporting an overclocked EVGA 970.

There's also semi-pervasive stuttering as I run through environments, especially when a ton of zombies are on screen. I'm regularly seeing fluctuations from 60 frames per second all the way down to 30 and back up again. Still, the game rarely dips below 30 frames per second, although when it does it's noticeable. This is a fast game, and thanks to the game's focus on parkour even a second of screen-tearing and stuttering can completely throw off your groove as you run across the city.

2. It's gorgeous

That being said, hot damn does the city look nice. Especially at sunset. Look:

3. Just call me David Belle

And it's a shame the parkour is giving me issues because it's a stand-out feature of the game. I loved it in the previews and I still love it now. It takes a bit of getting used to, mainly because you have to hold down the Spacebar every time you want to pull yourself up on a ledge, but I'm loving the new focus developers are giving to mobility and alternative movement in games. It's got a way of making boring, retreaded environments (brown shacks as far as the eye can see) fun again.

 

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