Dying Light was last year’s first hit game for us and we awarded it with a well-deserved 9.0 score. Afterwards, the game got expanded with DLC, and a few months later it was announced that the upcoming DLC “The Following” was going to be included into a full re-release of the original game. It is still free for season pass holders, but now also available for sale as either an add-on or as part of the ‘enhanced edition’ of Dying Light.
We got our first taste of The Following during last summer’s Gamescom, when we got to drive around in the off road buggy that’s been much discussed as a major departure from the original game’s on-foot gameplay. While the inclusion of a buggy makes very little sense in the context of the original game, it’s the expansive new play area in The Following that makes for an excellent backdrop to a more vehicular approach. Taking place in a much more open area, with a lot of farm land and dirt roads to cover, The Following is vastly different from the original Dying Light, but complements its base game very well.
The car introduces a few new gameplay elements into the mix that go beyond driving. Crafting and scavenging have become much more car-centered this time, as you have to look for spare parts and fuel to make sure your buggy stays in top shape for oft-needed getaways. Because a large part of the new area is fairly flat, it’s much harder to get away on foot this time – although this also means that part of the parkours-charm of the original game is lost this time around.
For us, however, it’s not the car that’s the star of the show – it’s Techland’s much-improved storytelling. Primarily pitched at a story-driven campaign, The Following strikes a very different tone from the original game – while adding more diversity as well. The opening sequences reminded us of a first person version of something like Uncharted or Tomb Raider with all its vertical drops, and the mystery starts to unfold shortly thereafter.
The Following, as the title suggests, deals with a mysterious cult that you’re trying to get close to. Quite early on, you’ll see signs of their activity, but it’ll take a while and a combination of side quests and story quests before you get to the heart of the story. If you make good use of the car, the campaign is very well paced and full of suspense. There are some good twists and turns as well, especially near the end of the game.
Although the core concept of The Following doesn’t lend itself too well towards parkour, the game’s (side) quests still give you plenty of that familiar action – showing off some good gameplay design decisions. It also makes sure the story progresses through diverse means and a broad variety of missions, which is another plus.
So we’re at the start of another year, and once again Techland pleasantly surprises us with a hit game. The Following isn’t more of the same – it’s a fully featured companion game to Dying Light that does a few things very differently and adds new features, while remaining true to the spirit of the original.