Numerous delays and reports of development hell later, Techland’s Dying Light 2 Stay Human is finally on the verge of release. It’s out on February 4th 2022 for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC and Nintendo Switch via the cloud. Here’s a look at 15 things you should know before picking it up.
Story and Characters
Set 20 years after the events of the first game, the infamous virus decimated over 98 percent of the world’s population. Civilization as we know it was plunged back into the Dark Ages. Players control Aiden Caldwell, a member of the Pilgrims who ventures into the last remaining city of humanity, known simply as The City. While Aiden is infected, he’s still human and seeks a cure along with searching for his younger sister. It’s not long before he’s caught up in The City’s own conflicts, interacting with different factions and their characters, whether its former Nightrunner members Hakon and Lawan (the latter played by Rosario Dawson) or Chris Williams, leader of the Renegades.
The City in question is a mix of different cultures and structures, from slum areas to towering skyscrapers. A good portion of the population have established their homes on the rooftops, away from the streets ruled by the Infected. Due to chemical attacks against the Infected, The City also has a number of contaminated areas. Overall, there are seven different zones to explore with the map being four times bigger than the original game’s.
The City has three key Factions – the Survivors, Renegades and Peacekeepers. The Survivors, which characters like Lawan are favorable to, are all about keeping their facilities running while staying away from the infected. They specialize in makeshift melee weapons and wear regular clothing. The Renegades, led by Williams (aka The Colonel) are a group of ex-prisoners that are antagonistic to other people in The City. They use a mix of guns and bladed weapons while donning hockey helmets and all-black clothing. Finally, there’s the Peacekeepers who are all about fighting the Infected head on and protecting The City, even if it means adopting a strict militaristic philosophy. Along with Kevlar vests and light armor helmets, they utilize batons and the like.
Many of the Infected from the first game, which lazily mill about during the day and become much more aggressive during the night, return. Each stage of the infection carries its own threats – Virals, the initial stage, are more aggressive and quite fast while Biters are slower but attempt to grab Aiden and take a bite out of him. You also have Howlers that can call other Infected to their location and the Banshee which has long claws to attack with. Volatiles also return and are still extremely dangerous, possessing incredible strength and agility to effectively hunt Aiden.
Choice and Consequence
The impact of one’s decisions has been frequently hyped up over the first game with a multitude of consequences based on one’s choices. Certain characters, like Lawan for instance, may take on a much smaller role and even become your enemy instead of ally. There’s also the City Alignment System where assigning a zone to a different Faction will see it change and provide different resources (the Survivors set up air vents and ziplines that help in moving around the City while the Peacekeepers offer car traps to easily take out swathes of the Infected). Each Faction has seven levels of rewards depending on your loyalty to them. Of course, there may be unintended side effects depending on the Faction with the most power so choose carefully.
The parkour has seen a number of improvements and optimizations with more than 3,000 new animations added. You’ll still need to unlock different abilities via the skill tree but overall, things should feel a lot smoother, whether you’re wall running, sliding or using an Infected to break your fall from high up.
Ziplines and Paraglider
The grappling hook makes a return, providing speedier ways to get around The City but there will also be ziplines and the paraglider. While the paraglider requires the use of air vents to properly navigate around, it’s still great for patrolling the skies and scoping out an area before landing.
Weapons and Combat
If you enjoyed drop kicking and bludgeoning the Infected to death in the first game, then Dying Light 2 will accommodate you nicely. Some new abilities include the Vault Kick where Aiden will kick and rebound off of an enemy, staggering them in the process. Two-handed slams and throwing knives are also a given but the paraglider can also be useful in combat. Weapons must once again be scrounged from the environment with different materials used for crafting new items and modding them. There are almost 200 weapons in total but weapon durability is still a thing so you’ll need to be careful.
Open World Activities
Along with side missions, parkour challenges and settlements to open, players will have a variety of different activities to partake in. Infected Nests are a good example – once the Infected have cleared out for the night, you can venture into these locations (with stealth being very useful) and obtain GRE biomarkers which seem to stave off the infection. A good number of buildings can be explored and contain crafting materials, mods and collectibles for additional health and stamina. Overall, it should be fun to experiment with the game’s day/night cycle and see what changes when the Infected aren’t hibernating indoors at night.
4 Player Co-op
Co-op returns in Dying Light 2 Stay Human with up to four players able to party up and take on the Infected. Things have changed slightly though – there’s now a host that up to three players can join. It’s the host’s version of The City which serves as the open world playground with all of the different choices affecting its overall look. It’s too soon to tell whether players joining the host have access to all of their weapons in their city so we’ll need to wait and see.
Free Upgrades for PS4 and Xbox One owners
Those purchasing Dying Light 2 on Xbox One and PS4 can avail of free upgrades for the Xbox Series X/S and PS5 versions respectively. The Xbox store also confirms cross-gen multiplayer and Smart Delivery support so you’ll be able to transfer save data between platforms (on Xbox at least).
Graphics Modes for Xbox Series X and PS5
On Xbox Series X and PS5, players will have a choice of three modes – Quality, Performance and 4K. Quality offers ray tracing along with better post-processing and volumetric effects. Performance Mode runs in 60 FPS and will support Variable Refresh Rate on Xbox Series X/S. 4K, as the name implies, runs the game in 4K resolution (with its frame rate likely to be locked to 30 FPS)
The first Dying Light continues to see support to this day and its burgeoning community is actually quite impressive. Lead Game Designer Tymon Smektala said in September 2019 that the team is similarly planning years of post-launch support for the sequel. “We know that a lot of fans will be waiting for DLCs, updates, extra stuff they can get their hands on. And we promise to deliver them just that.” An Expansion Pass has been confirmed since then and provides two “extra stories.” Expect plenty of cosmetics as well, judging by the outfits and skins for weapons and paragliders that are received on pre-purchasing.
Techland recently unveiled the PC requirements for Dying Light 2 with minimum and recommended settings based on ray tracing being enabled or disabled. For 1080p/30 FPS at Low quality, you’ll need an Intel Core i3-9100 or AMD Ryzen 3 2300X, 8 GB of RAM and either a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti or Radeon RX 560 4 GB. For 1080p/60 FPS at High quality settings, a Core i5-8600K or Ryzen 5 3600X with 16 GB RAM and a GeForce RTX 2060 6 GB or AMD RX Vega 56 8 GB is needed.
For 1080p/30 FPS with Low quality and ray tracing, a Core i5-8600K or Ryzen 5 3600X with 16 GB RAM is required again but this time with an RTX 2070 8 GB. For ray tracing at High settings with 1080p/60 FPS performance, one requires a Core i5-8600K or Ryzen 7 3700X with 16 GB RAM and a GeForce RTX 3080 10 GB. In all cases, 60 GB of installation space is needed with a solid state drive being recommended.
Nvidia DLSS and GeForce Now
Ray tracing is applied to global illumination along with ray traced shadows and reflections. Nvidia DLSS can also be enabled for further performance gains without sacrificing image quality. And for those who don’t quite have the requisite hardware, Dying Light 2 will be available on GeForce Now with RTX enabled at launch.