GDC 2018: Dying Light: Bad Blood Hands-On: Return Of The Parkour Of The Dead

Winner winner, human brains for dinner!


Right now it would be hard for anyone in the world of video games to deny the popularity of the Battle Royale genre. Kids just can’t seem to get enough of their 1v100 deathmatch action. But the fact of the matter is, there’s nothing set in stone about the genre. Frankly, it’s more of a game mode than a genre in my mind. So I personally found my hands-on time with an early PC build of Dying Light: Bad Blood at GDC 2018 and their concept of survival multiplayer to be rather refreshing.

Some of you may still fondly recall the original Dying Light and its cult following. The game was a first-person parkour zombiepocalypse affair that had players fighting their way through hordes of the undead as they investigated the open-world environment. Now, Dying Light: Bad Blood is looking to take many of the original game's features and mechanics and implement them in a PvP environment.

In Bad Blood six players will be dropped on a quarantined island where they must hunt down special zombies and destroy them in order to collect sample materials off their corpses. As the zombie bits are collected, players level up and gain strength and agility bonuses for each level. Once a player reaches level 5, a helicopter is called in to rescue them.

The only problem is, there’s just one seat on that helicopter and everyone wants it. That means that players will have to kill every other living human on the island before the chopper gets there or defend and hold the landing zone for 30 seconds to gain victory. So, not only are players dealing with massive undead creatures that do things like spit acid, or bull rush them into pulp, they’re also constantly having to watch their back to make sure an opponent’s katana doesn’t end up in it.

I was able to get about three rounds in during my demo time and I found it pretty easy to wrap my head around. Since weapons have to be salvaged, my rounds initially began with a lot of parkour as I climbed around buildings looking for things like bladed weapons, mines, molotovs, and mods that could add shock and bleed damage to my arsenal. There were long-ranged weapons, but the main focus was really on the melee combat aspect, and I found things like sledgehammers to be easier to use than a shotgun in the long term.

After the initial weapons run, it was easy to find larger zombies to take on, but not quite so easy to take them strategically without losing too much health. Still, I hacked my way through their reanimated corpses the best I could.

The real challenge laid in defeating my human opponents before they could get the drop on me. I found trailing opponents and striking when they’d just taken on a boss zombie to be an effective manner in racking up kills and levels, but I also fell prey to the same strategy. Mostly though, things ended in a bloody brawl at the extraction point to find a final victor.

Overall, I found my demo of Dying Light: Bad Blood to be frantic and enjoyable. Its quicker rounds could make it an interesting alternative to a straight-up battle royale match, but I feel like it’s going to need more game modes to really make any sort of an impact. In fact, I wouldn’t mind seeing an honest to goodness battle royale mode in the final version of the game.

Dying Light: Bad Blood is planned for release later this year on PS4, Xbox One and PC, but does not have a set release date just yet.

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Blake has been writing and making videos about pop-culture and games for over 10 years now. Although he'd probably prefer you thought of him as a musician and listened to his band, If you see him on the street, buy him a taco or something. Follow him on twitter @ProfRobot

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