Rage, rage against the delaying of the light. I've wanted to write that ever since Dying Light 2 was announced, but developers Techland seem stubbornly on track to zombify early 2020. Look, here's thirty minutes from a middley point in the game, replete with grappling hooks and parkour and decisions. It's the same thirty minutes I already saw and liked at E3.
Mirror's Edge with zombies (mostly) worked before, and these thirty minutes suggest they can again. The big hook this time around is a city that changes long with your decisions, with entire areas only accessible through replays or by jumping into a friend's game.
I'm cringingly aware that drawing conclusions from pre-release game slices is for chumps. Aside from that dull bit with the repetitive hammer dodging, this has the reek of the overly-pristine. I doubt an average half hour will weave seemingly plot-critical decisions into impressively varied tumbling and tussling, winding up at fortresses that yield to different angles of assault. I'm glad at least one such segment exists, though.
That's some good running, good gunning, and decisions with demonstrable impact. The floodgates at the end of the demo open up a whole new area, inaccessible for those who keep the taps off -unless you go for a swim later in the game, as creative director Adrian Ciszewsk told me back in June.
"Techland are adamant that you’ll only see 50% of the game on a normal playthrough – at least in terms of the story. That’s certainly one way to make decisions meaningful, and Ciszewsk was keen to stress how much you can miss. 'You’ll be losing a lot of quests, friends, factions or communities. You can meet a lot of communities, then another player might not meet any of those communities because of the decisions they’ve made!'"
Here's my full Dying Light 2 preview, in case you'd rather picture the demo with your mind's eye than your literal ones.