Dying Light 2

Dying Light 2 (the UK version, not the censored German version) is another game that I uninstalled this week.

I replayed the original Dying Light on Xbox Series X over the last few weeks and still liked it. The story of the original DL and the character that you play are nothing to write home about, sure, but exploring the game world is fun, the atmosphere during daytime is good enough and extremely tense during the night. For fans of the Zombie genre, it won’t get any better than DL1 or its predecessors Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide.

DL2 makes a great entrance when you start playing it. It builds a solid end-of-the-world atmosphere, and especially the scene in the villa, where you share a stale beer with a buddy sitting between the skeletons of the people who obviously had held a mass-suicide party there when the world went to shit, is a great setup for the world you, the player, has just entered. (And yeah, finding the Sam B single with Who Do You Voodoo on the record player is also a nice touch – for those who don’t know, that is the opening song of the original Dead Island.)

But the game rapidly descends into shit once you’re in the city. The zombies, which should be the stars of a zombie game, are just a poorly made backdrop in DL2. I couldn’t care less for the annoyingly boring and mundane human drama that the developers want you to focus on. I neither care for the character that you’re playing nor do I care for his search for his sister or whoever that girl from his childhood memories is actually supposed to be – that trope has gotten way too old and uninteresting. (I also wasn’t interested in finding the main character’s father in Fallout 3 for that matter – I never got hooked into that story either.) There also is nothing, and I mean -nothing- interesting to be found in that ruin of a city either.

But what really breaks the game are the immersion breaking issues that DL2 somehow shares with Cyberpunk 2077: Zombies only begin moving when the player is in their vicinity. Human NPCs actually hold gatherings or even burial ceremonies right next to zombies, but the zombies don’t care for those humans, neither are the human NPCs in the slightest worried that zombies are dangerously close to them. The only way to get a zombie interested in human NPCs is when you, the player, wake the zombie out of its trance and make sure that it follows you to the human NPCs. Only then the human NPCs and the zombies might (!) engage each other.

Seriously: Who came up with the idea of creating a zombie game where the zombies so obviously are programmed to only attack the player but not other human NPCs?

What’s making this so unbearable is that this game is from the same studio that gave us the original Dying Light and Dead Island – and in those games the zombies don’t discriminate and immediately wreak havoc on anything that moves, may that be an NPC or the player, just as it should be in a game set in a zombie apocalypse.

To top it all of in a very bad way, DL2 also fails the psycho test: The world doesn’t give a shit when you start hunting human NPCs instead of zombies. Some might run away from you, but basically the game does not let you face any consequences for your psychotic behavior. There is no penalty for playing an insane mass murderer in this game and that makes the game world even more unbelievable and soulless.

I don’t even want to say much about the fact that the developers introduced a store with an own currency system in one of their latest updates. The way their currency scheme works, that store clearly is designed to make you spend more money on DLCs than you would be spending by just buying the DLC from the Xbox marketplace or from whatever store you would normally use. It’s a pathetic and unbelievably stupid move from Techland to do this, especially since they are sacrificing their great reputation among gamers with this money-grabbing scheme. But, well, it’s their call – and their funeral. The game can be played and completed without ever having to visit the store, so it’s not really an issue. But it shows where the new owners of Techland are intending to go with the company – and that means that I probably won’t be buying any future Techland games anymore.

In conclusion: Dying Light 2 is another huge disappointment. But unlike Cyberpunk 2077, Dying Light 2 does not chase you away with an astronomical amount of bugs, instead it chases you away with its sheer boredom.

Cyberpunk 2.0.1 + Phantom Liberty: Still a broken mess

I honestly don’t know what all the reviewers and YouTubers have been smoking when they collectively went hysterically about how great the 2.0 update of Cyberpunk 2077 supposedly is.

From where I stand, the game is still a broken mess – including actual game breaking bugs.

I began a completely new (Nomad) playthrough on my Xbox Series X to give the update the fair chance that CD Projekt Red has been asking the players for.

The very first ridiculous bug I saw was right in the opening scene, and it has been there since the original release: Your hands disappear in the closed (!) hood of the car when you are apparently fixing your engine problem. Then you enter the car – and see an open hood. Really great QA right there, CD Projekt Red. It’s the opening scene of your game, then one thing that every player will see – and you still haven’t fixed that immersion breaking bug that’s been there since the original release. You lost all my good will towards the 2.0 update right there.

Then, when you a few minutes later drive to the farm to meet Jackie for the first time, the next immersion breaking bug: I parked the car with the headlights pointing to the door. I enter the house, talk to Jackie, and when I want to step out of the door, the car is parked with the readlights pointed towards me. And this is another immersion breaking bug right in the beginning of the game that also has been there since the dawn of time. What did you actually fix, CD Projekt Red?

Let’s fast forward to Night City. Since I was already fed up with the game after the broken intro sequences and was not in the mood to pursue any story-related thing at this point, I decided to go all psycho and opened fire on anything and everybody in the apartment block where V lives. And lo and behold: Most NPCs don’t even react to the fact that people standing or walking next to them are being shot. Some might run away, but a lot are just oblivous to what’s happening in the world around them.

The “best” thing is the guy with the boxing robot or whatever: While you’re throwing around grenades and bodies are piling up directly next to him, the guy actually asks you if you’re up for a little training fight with his new robot. Who programmed this shit?

This list goes on forever by the way. Near the “Afterlife”, there are some folks sitting in a staircase. You can throw a grenade at them, and they briefly get up and are annoyed – just to immediately (!) sit down again. You can kill one of them and the other does not react to that at all.

This alone kills any interest I might have to actually play this so-called open world game: It isn’t one. When you pull shit like that in AC Odyssey, for example, half of the village you’re in will run away from you, the other half will come after you with whatever weapon they might grab. Going psycho in AC Odyssey is usallly a short-lived adventure.

What also annoys me is the fact that there is almost nothing you can do in Night City when you’re not in an actual story mission or side-mission. The world offers little to no interactivity. You might be able to buy a hot dog or find some adult adventure for money when you search long enough, but that’s about the size of “what that city has to offer”: In fact, the city offers literally nothing to you. It’s just a backdrop for a highly scripted story.

And then I ran into the most idiotic game breaking bug I’ve ever encountered in a game: During the “rescue Evelyn Parker” mission, all of a sudden V would only move in slow motion. Apparently, this is also a bug that has been around since the very first release, and there were some tips for it on the Internet. Unfortunately, none of them worked. Restarting the game didn’t fix it, zooming in and out didn’t fix it, committing suicide by cop and restarting from a last checkpoint didn’t fix it, driving a car and getting out of it didn’t fix it and fast traveling didn’t fix it either. V just stayed in slow motion at all times. And since this is a first person shooter at its core where you cannot just crawl around all the time but have to respond fast to the bullets flying at you, this effectively breaks the game.

And thus, I uninstalled this broken mess. What a waste of time and money – and what a huge disappointment AGAIN after three years!