Dying Light is a zombie game. It does a lot of other things that frustrate or sort of disappoint me, too. But I can’t help loving it in a very reserved sort of way.
It’s the city, mostly. Harran has no business being so beautiful. It helps enormously that its fictional geography and architecture mark it as vaguely Turkish, with perhaps a hint of Brazil, rather than the universal video game city of Sigh New York Yet Again. Harran is lush, teeming with detail, and feels like it was probably untidy even before its localised apocalypse.
Its inhabitants too are a great looking bunch. Not that they’re pretty (although many are, and obviously – obviously – all the women who’ve spent two months fighting zombies and mourning their dead loved ones in a city with little food and medicine left have nonetheless taken the time to do their eyeliner every day), but they mostly look like normal people. People who are tired and stressed, and who you can really believe lived in this city before all this happened.
The nights are too frustrating for me, and their horror particularly harrowing. I could do without its annoying story missions altogether, really. But I do like that you have to scavenge and explore. I like that there’s danger and fighting. I wouldn’t say that making it an action horror game is a bad thing, and in fact it gives the city an even more precious feel, lending a tragic air to its colourful facades and complicated alleyway. But I would play many more games in Harran if they existed.