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My love/hate relationship with Dying Light

Made some edits marked with a '*'

I remember being really hyped for this game back when the initial trailers/demos were released. It looked like the love child of Dead Island and Mirror's edge, and I was all for that.

I only started playing it within the last month or so, and the gameplay lives up to my expectations, but everything about the story is just *laughably bad (imo). I have nothing invested in any of the characters, I have no interest in listening to anything they have to say, and I certainly don't find the villain intimidating. The first time you actually meet him, he's "disciplining" one of his underlings for stealing (by removing his hand), and I just had to laugh and skip the cutscene because I've seen it a thousand times before, most of those times done much better. I almost always end up skipping *every cutscene and just getting the info I need from the mission objectives, which are luckily fun and challenging, they're just presented in the fashion of a high-school play.

Back to that original demo; it seemed like they originally intended you to play as a courier (the character seems to still he in the game, can't be assed to remember his name though. British guy, yellow shirt, is also a courrier as far as I remember). IMO, this premise is way more interesting at a glance than "spy man doing undercover shit". I can just imagine the tension in delivering a time sensitive package in the middle of the night, maybe heavier things limiting your movement, or fragile things breaking if you land from too high up. But instead, I'm just another generic American action man doing action things for the action government. Plus zombies. Yay.

Again though, I love the gameplay. It's smooth and satisfying, and getting stuck at night is properly dread-inducing. The city also looks gorgeous. I think what would make me really fall in love with this game to it's full extent would be the ability to just play it as a survival game without a story, or with only the side missions. That would ramp up the horror elements and make me feel like I'm lost in a city that's gone to hell.

*Edit 1; I shouldn't say "laughably bad". Laughable, yes. Bad, kind of. But they're sort of separate. The laughable-ness to me comes from just how generic and played out a lot of the beats are and not only that, but how seriously they take themselves, and how seriously the game expects you to take those moments. If it was aware of how schlocky it was, that'd be another story. As I've said, I've seen everything a thousand times, most of them done better. As for it being bad, It's not "The Room", more like "Behind Enemy Lines 5" or whatever. Just totally bland and uninspired "Direct to DVD" writing.

*Edit 2; a couple people have said "if you skipped every cutscene, how do you know how bad the story is?" Good point, I should rephrase. I skipped most things after a certain point. I did watch the first few, realized what kind of story they were setting up, as well as the caliber of writing I could expect, and was pretty sure I wasn't going to be missing much by spamming the space bar to get to the (very fun and well developed) gameplay faster. That, coupled with the fact that I've seen a fair bit of gameplay, reviews, etc, I knew exactly what to expect and where the story went (generally). Here's the other thing, I'm not a serial-cutscene-skipper. If a game starts off slow, but seems like it's building, or even just has a shred of originality, I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt, putting my controller down and taking in the story (I'm the type of person that will get snacks and watch Hideo Kojima cutscenes like they're a movie). This is not that type of game. It's blunt, overacted, overwritten, takes itself too seriously etc. It starts that way and it continues that way. No interest in sitting through that kind of thing.


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