Posted on June 11, 2014 AT 02:56pm
Techland is a developer not to be reckoned with, from their fun racer nail’d to their Call to Juarez series the Poland-based company has been able to show that they can do any genre and deliver quality almost every time. What they do best, however, is horror, as evident in the popular Dead Island, a game that gave you a nearly-realistic portrayal of what happens during a zombie outbreak. Next year Techland prepares to bring to PC and consoles two new fright-filled games, one of which delves into familiar territory: Dying Light and Hellraid.
During my hands-on demo with Dying Light I was given the option to try out two levels: one near the beginning of the game and another roughly later on during the storyline. In the game my character is weak, lacking any set of melee skills and agility. However as you attempt to take on zombies and climb high places you start to earn points that will lead you to level up and learn new moves and tricks. At first I attempted to take down a couple zombies with a normal baseball bat, but as my character wasn’t that strong I tired out real quick, leading me to use my freerunning abilities to climb over walls, scale tall buildings, and reach my destination, a radio tower, in the safest possible matter.
When I got to the tower I was introduced to another kind of enemy within Dying Light: violent South American gang members. I was told to try and sneak into the radio tower, but once the enemy saw me the bullets went flying, forcing me to flee to my safe zone. When I got there I went to sleep, waking up at night when the gang members weren’t around. However the zombies become more dangerous at night, as they can climb buildings and sprint towards you in order to attack. Fortunately you are given a special ability known as Night Sense, showing you where the nearest zombies are located so as to find a safer path.
Soon after I reached the end of the first level I was brought to a point much later in the game, where my character was now stronger with some modded weapons (one of which was an electrical axe). Here I had to reach a church to deliver medicine to an infected friend, which had me swimming underwater, climbing high walls, shooting my grappling hook to reach tall buildings, and melee murdering swarms of the undead. In one area another gang of guerrilla enemies were seen lying below, coincidentally sitting by some propane tanks. One shot, and not only did it kill off a few of those enemies, but it alerted the zombies to come running about to finish off the damage. After finally reaching the church it seemed my efforts were all but a waste, as my now-zombified friend lunged toward me and knocked me out the window.
The Mirror’s Edge comparisons are obvious when it comes to the parkour elements of Dying Light, which Techland really doesn’t seem to mind seeing as they’re fans of that particular game. Climbing buildings, sliding through small openings, and attempting perfect landings after falling from great heights all work near-flawlessly thanks to the game’s easy-to-follow control scheme. Add in a solid melee and weapons system that fans of Dead Island will instantly recognize, and you’ll find yourself jumping into the insanity that is Dying Light with incredible ease.
After Dying Light I was then taken to a presentation for Techland’s other upcoming title Hellraid, a first-person medieval horror game that will have you taking on creatures from the pits of Hell. You play as a knight of a cursed king, whose kingdom has quickly become host to the armies of Hell. It’s up to you to take down skeletons, monsters, and wicked beasts straight out of European folklore.
During the gameplay presentation we were shown how you can slice down enemies, deflect damage using your weapons and shield, and use spells to slow down enemies to a crawl. These spells can range from shooting lightning at enemies, setting beasts on fire, or freezing them in their tracks. With some exploration techniques you can also find some hidden passageways that can lead towards better weapons and potions. In some ways you can also use your environments to your advantage, killing enemies by cutting down chandeliers and having them ran towards spiky hazards.
During the demo we were shown two of the bigger enemies you’ll have to face off against. The first was Hircus, a nasty fawn with a battle axe and a craving for your head. Towards the end we were then shown the horrors of Blinded, a beast whose head has been given a crown of nails that have led him blinded and bleeding. It’s characters like these that will require much melee techniques, evasive action, and the occasional spell here and there to hopefully slow them down.
So far both Dying Light and Hellraid looks pretty impressive. Graphically the worlds and characters you’ll come across in both titles are wonderfully detailed, with both humans and monsters behind very expressive with their emotions (expect for the skeletons, as they have no faces). Still with these two titles Techland is gearing to take away the gold for both exciting and scaring the pants off gamers across the world.
Both Dying Light and Hellraid are due for release in 2015.
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