I’ve played over 20 hours of Dying Light 2 - and I’ve barely touched the main story. What have I been doing, you may ask? Everything and anything else. A survivor in peril? I’m there. A CD needs rescuing from a zombie-infested hollow. I’m your gal. I’m basically an undead-slaying Lassie, here for all your mundane heroic needs.
Protagonist Aiden’s journey to find his sister Mia and unearth the secrets of the GRE testing facilities where they were separated doesn’t interest me. I find joy in Dying Light 2’s busy work; it’s an excuse to explore every inch of the city of Villador and to immersive myself in fast-paced action without the constraints of narrative.
That is until Dying Light 2’s bugs got in the way, turning my much-loved busywork into a chore.
I’m very methodical in the way that I work through open-world games. I always find that I work in sections, completing every task available in an area before moving on to the next - story missions undertaken only as a means to access new opportunities. That way, I can embrace everything the game has to offer without becoming overwhelmed.
Dying Light 2 makes this approach easy: Villador is broken up into districts and its story never makes me feel like I need to know what comes next. What’s more, the world itself is filled with side quests, challenges and encounters to undertake, so there’s always something to do outside of the main storyline.
Sure, the side quests are mostly fetch quests and the writing isn’t amazing, but these extra activities are the perfect showcase of Dying Light 2’s strengths: its world, combat and parkour. And many of these side quests feel like they’re built to showcase these strengths. One had me scaling my way to the top of a skyscraper to find a chest, another saw me slaying a chunky Infected that had swallowed a music box, while encounters are littered throughout the city and provide extra context on the world itself, giving you a peek into the individual stories of the survivors that inhabit this modern Dark Ages.
It’s a world that screams to be explored and the parkour serves as an extremely fun way to do that. There are few areas that feel off-limits thanks to your super-human athletic abilities and plenty of seemingly insignificant buildings to explore as a result. The day-night cycle plays a big part too, as I find myself weighing up the dopamine reward of venturing out for my fix of side quests against facing the Infected roaming the streets. When you do, ultimately, have to face the Infected head-on, they often come in hordes, and there’s nothing more satisfying than mowing them down with your hand-crafted fiery axe. Especially when you can feel the weight of the weapon through the DualSense PS5 controller’s haptic feedback.
A growing inconvenience
Imagine my frustration, then, when Dying Light 2’s incessant bugs began to rear their ugly head. They were small at first, meer bugbears (pardon the pun). A PlayStation trophy wouldn’t pop or a completed activity wouldn’t be ticked off. Small inconveniences, but frustrating ones for a completionist like me. But then they got bigger.
After a pre-launch patch, I began having even more issues. My beloved sidequests were being affected. First, night-time side quests I had begun were no longer trackable. ‘No biggie,” I thought, ‘I’ll simply go to the quest area anyway and it’ll give it a kickstart’. To no avail. These bugged side quests now sit, incompletable, on my map - and they’re mocking me.
For someone less side-quest orientated, maybe they wouldn’t be a big issue. But it’s been a gradual drip for me. One bug was annoying, but this flurry of them has really impacted my enjoyment of the game.
Dying Light 2 was a game I couldn’t put down, I played hours on end until my bloodshot eyes told me to stop. Now, feeling almost tunneled into playing the game’s mediocre main story and wary of undertaking any more impossible to complete side quests, I’ve found that I’ve cooled on Dying Light 2 and that’s a huge shame - because it has so much potential.
My concern is how quickly - and efficiently - developer Techland can roll out fixes. As we saw famously saw with Cyberpunk 2077, sometimes fixes can be too little too late. Dying Light 2 is a great game at its core, but the swarm of bugs around it is driving players like me away.
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Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.