Co-Op Adventures in Dying Light

Dying Light was unfortunately released at a time when the zombie genre was over-saturated. I have been into zombies as a device to move stories forward for a long time starting with cinema. For a couple of decades now, if a movie has a premise that involves post-apocalyptic zombie scenarios I’m in. From the classic George Romero movies to newer franchises like 28 Days Later, zombie movies are a hoot. In the 90’s, titles like Resident Evil moved the theme over to the video game platform, and though it took a while to gain steam, at this point there are hundreds of zombie themed games. From realistic, gritty horror set pieces to cute, cartoon brain-eaters ala Plants vs. Zombies — the genre has no shortage of variety but once you’ve played a zombie game you’ve played them all so to speak.

I remember hearing about the game when it released and it sounded like more of the same. It’s a first person shooter, survival horror style game, with a big open world to explore. The major gimmick that set this title apart from its competition was the fact that there are parkour movement mechanics that really open the world up and let you explore vertically. It sounds funny when you talk about it, but it does really help you get around and the more that you get adjusted to it, the better you’ll get an climbing and jumping from rooftop to rooftop. There are even multiplayer challenges peppered about that focus on this one aspect of the game:

The reason that I ended up getting this title three years post-release was for one main reason: Co-Op! My best friend and I haven’t been gaming together much in the past few months, mainly because the games that we were playing fairly regularly in the past were completed (or we just haven’t been playing them anymore). My girlfriend was asking me the other day why we didn’t play together anymore and I told her that we didn’t really have anything co-op to play and so when we visited him last weekend she decided that we’d all go to Gamestop and find something to play together. This one jumped out at me, as we are both Resident Evil fans and enjoyed playing 5 & 6 co-op so I thought this might fit the bill. It also helps that it was cheap and the bundle that we picked up included all of the DLC for the game as well.

One silly thing that happens when you play a co-op game of this nature together is that everyone is essentially playing the same main character despite being on a team. The game was designed with co-op in mind but they clearly didn’t add other characters to the fold so we both ended up being the same guy in the same clothes. You have to play through a tutorial section before you can host or join games, and then at that point the player stash in safe houses has additional costumes that can be worn so you can differentiate yourselves a bit. My friend ended up looking like a ninja, and I went with a secret agent suit. Many of these costumes were present as part of DLC bundles, but you’ll find drops throughout the game as well.

You play a character named Crane, who is dropped into this infected area to find survivors and infiltrate their group. It seems you are working for someone else, and you might not be a good guy, but the story hasn’t unfolded far enough yet for me to tell what you’re really up to. You do work your way into a group and meet their leader (above) who sends you on various missions to advance the story. The central hub is a location called “The Tower” and you’ll run into other NPCs who will give you side quests and there are even bounties on a bounty board. Standard open-world/RPG stuff here.

It’s hard to say where in the world this is taking place. The names of characters sound middle-eastern, but you’ll run into all nationalities. Some of the accents sound South African. I can’t really place the real world locale, but perhaps this is just supposed to be its own world?

You’ll run into a variety of interesting characters as well, including this shut-in who has gone crazy but apparently really loves his mother. Gameplay consists of running, jumping and climbing around this city and mainly using melee weapons that you find in the world to bash in the skulls of nearby zombies. There are the general slow movie zombies and then some that move faster, some that can climb onto rooftops, and “nightmares” that come out at night and remind me of Resident Evil monsters.

The crafting system is similar to most games, you’ll find various items in the world, can break down items into base parts, and can even pick up some plants to make into more useful items. More blueprints are found in the world, and depending on skill point choices you’ll open up new recipes. Speaking of skills, there are various trees that you’ll earn points in that will help you mold your character to fit your play style:

I’m not sure how to open up the Legend tree, but I assume that comes later in the game. The Survivor, Agility and Power trees are available from the start, and you’ll earn experience by doing different things. Survivor seems to be the main leveling tree and gains experience pretty quick, has skills to open up new recipes and extra backpack space. You’ll gain Agility XP for climbing, running and jumping, and the skills in the tree have to do with this. Power is your combat tree and goes up as you kill things, also opening up additional combat skills.

Each tree has its own theme but also has the standard “open up this skill to open up the next” style of unlocking, where some parts of the tree branch in separate directions and you’ll have to choose where to go. After a certain point threshold is met you’ll open up new parts of the tree that will have further branches to explore. I ended up using points to upgrade my backpack space and my health, along with new recipes for “boosts” and the ability to slide across the ground along with vaulting over zombies. My friend ended up going the drop kick route which can end in some hilarious physics during combat:

The game I’d most compare Dying Light to is Dead Island. The latter title lacked the parkour elements but had the same sort of large open area where you’d complete quests, a leveling system and a mostly melee based combat system. It does appear that there are guns in this game but they aren’t exactly growing on trees at this point. Similar to DI, you’ll have to watch your weapon’s durability, as they eventually break and have to be repaired. You could also compare this title to things like Fallout, but obviously there’s less shooting going on, and more zombies. I’d recommend this title to anyone who enjoys FPS titles, particularly the zombie kind. If you enjoyed the Dead Island series you’ll like this game as well. Or, if you just need some co-op action in your life, give it a whirl!

Couch Podtatoes Episode 98: Exploration


Welcome back to the show everyone! This week, Izzy’s been playing the hell out of No Man’s Sky, and Eri has been knee deep in Starbound, both of which are exploration focused games. We dive into what makes up a game that is exploration focused, what the strengths and weakness are, and how they might improve in the future. As usual we touch on many different titles, systems and mechanics and weave in our signature potty-mouthed humor. Come on a journey with us!


Download this Episode Subscribe via RSS Download on iTunes Listen on Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 98: Exploration (runtime: 39:49)

What are we playing? (starts at 1:45)
Discussion: Exploration (starts at 9:29)

Host Contact information:

Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter: @mevsmyselfandi

Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Music Credits:
“Bit Rush” by Riot Games
“The Exaltation” by Revocation (from the album Great is our Sin)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

You can also find the show in video format at The Gaming And Entertainment Network YouTube page.

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!

Sick of No Man’s Sky?

Are you sick of hearing about No Man’s Sky yet?

That’s too bad, because I’ve got more to share! I’ve put some more time into the game, as I mentioned I’ve been doing some streaming as well. I posted a full, un-cut stream onto my YouTube channel, and thought I’d copy/paste that here for those of you who missed it.

It’s been a blast exploring this procedurally generated universe, and now that the PC version is out, it seems that this game is the talk of the community. It’s not like we thought it would be any different, many of us have been hyped for the game for a couple of years now since we first learned about it. Eventually we’ll move on to new games, but this is the new hotness now, and there’s so much to share! I’ve got a few more cool screens for y’all to gawk at as well, but that’s all I really have for you guys today. We’re going to be recording a new episode of Couch Podtatoes in a few hours, and yeah, we’re going to be talking about this game and more about exploration concepts.  So keep an eye out for that, and happy exploring to those of you who are currently playing this awesome title!

No Man’s Sky First Impressions

From the moment I saw the first trailer for No Man’s Sky back at E3 2014 I knew it was a game I had to play. Originally announced for the Playstation 4, I was then also anticipating this being on of the main reasons to buy the console (outside of brand loyalty, along with a couple other exclusives like Uncharted 4). Later, it was said that the game would simultaneously release for PC, so I was torn. I obviously have more power with my gaming PC over the PS4, but then there was the thought that it was technically a PC port, which can sometimes mean shit performance or controls. I was leaning towards getting it for PC anyway, until they said that there was going to be a 3 day delay on release. That sealed it for me, I wanted to play as soon as possible.

I looked into pre-order bonuses as well. It seems that a pre-order from Steam would net you a new ship. A pre-order from the Playstation store came with a bundle of icons (boring). Pre-ordering a physical copy from Gamestop however, came with a new ship, an upgraded multi-tool, and 10,000 credits. Ding ding ding, we have a winner!

I pre-ordered last week. I picked up the game after work yesterday. I didn’t get into the game the night before like digital customers, but that’s okay, I wasn’t too far behind. The game starts out simply enough. You are given the tiniest of backstories and are thrust onto a random planet where your ship has crashlanded. Your life support systems are low. The ship is damaged. You gotta fix shit or die trying.

My first impression was “wow, this game is pretty.” Followed immediately by “this shit is not intuitive at all!” Seriously, the tutorial or lack thereof is a hindrance. This is coming from a hardcore gamer who has made a career out of skipping tutorials cause “I can figure that shit out myself.” Eventually everything starts to make sense, but there is very little guidance. Normally I wouldn’t complain, because tutorials are boring and annoying and you usually already know what you’re doing before the system tells you what to do next. In this case, just a little more help with basic controls and functions would go a long way. After about 30 minutes I had most systems figured out and had fixed up my starship to head out into the galaxy.

When you leave that first planet, where to go and what to do next is a daunting task. There is the general goal of “reaching the center of the galaxy,” but outside of that you can pretty much do whatever you want. I’ve visited space stations, met aliens, sold goods, bought goods, killed drones, been killed by NPC pirate types, and discovered systems, planets, and creatures. It’s been a blast so far and I’ve barely scratched the surface. One look at the galactic map will confirm this. The game is HUGE.

I’m unsure about the multiplayer component. I’ve seen the game listed as single player, but I remember talk of there being other players roaming the galaxy, just that it would be nigh impossible to find your friends due to the vast expanses of space (18 quintillion planets). Still, it’s unclear if I’ve crossed paths with other players or if every shit I’ve seen has been an NPC. It does feel like a living breathing world though, with flora and fauna everywhere, sentry bots attacking you for grabbing resources on their turf, ancient monoliths to discover, and ships that will attack you if you piss them off. It really does feel like there’s always something new waiting around the corner, and it’s very satisfying to simply lift off from the ground, fly straight into space and land on the next nearby planet.

The upgrade systems are well done. You’ll find new tech everywhere, and then you just need the materials to build it. You can apply upgrades to your Exosuit, your Starship, and your Multi-tool. The multi-tool is used for both fighting and mining, and will come in handy for long periods of time. I saw the game mentioned the other day by a person who primarily plays MMOs and he had said that he isn’t interested in this game because it’s not “MMO-enough.” I’d argue that the inventory management aspect, along with the “Massive” part of MMO makes this MMO-enough in my book. Sure, you’re not talking to others, but who cares? There’s so much to do, you can’t afford to be on someone else’s schedule. Plus, I like the whole one man army aspect. But I digress.

Overall I’m impressed by the game so far. It’s unclear how long I will be enamored by it, but time will tell. I’ve already streamed once, and will do so again for those of you wanting to see it in action. I’ll also have a screenshot dump post up soon. That’s all for now.