Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Surviving in a zombie apocalypse is one thing, but surviving in a zombie apocalypse with a friend or two at your side? That is something else entirely. Having released last week and having scored a very high 9/10 with us, we are back again for how Dying Light 2: Stay Human plays out in co-op.
So, to recap, Dying Light 2: Stay Human is the latest zombie survival title being released by Techland. With titles such as Dead Island, Dead Island: Riptide and the original Dying Light behind it, there was plenty of zombie based survival experience on the development team’s resume. Because of this resumé though, expectations were a bit high especially after a six year wait for the sequel to the original zombie based parkour title that occurred “in-game” twenty years prior to the latest entry leaving plenty of room for this to change and evolve.
While fun to sit down to on its own, Dying Light 2 was definitely better with a partner. While perhaps a little bit odd to be running around with multiple Aidens, our story’s protagonist, it did help keep things in character as regardless of how many of you there were, the protagonist was always in the front seat and not simply some generic stand-in for a multiplayer model at the helm. It definitely livens up this post-apocalyptic world even if it did come with its own interesting quirks as well as benefits.
In the obvious “of course it is”, having a partner to run around the city is a huge benefit as it can help you discover the map quicker. Points of interest such as dark hollows, GRE anomalies, city windmills and others will be pointed out for both you and the host player if you were simply joining in for some fun. Unlike some other experiences that we’ve had lately, Dying Light 2 allows players to go as far as they need from each other instead of locking them into a 150-200m bubble creating an actual open world multiplayer experience. Accidentally called in a horde at night? One could easily dive into a building while the other ran like hell around the city raking up extra experience because it’s nighttime and there are bonus modifiers as long as you don’t fall down and need to be picked back up.
Being able to be picked back up is a huge benefit as your partner, while limited in time, can get you back on your feet instead of having you die on the spot. Able to do this for a total of three times before you actually kick the bucket, not potentially losing all of your accumulated nighttime bonuses goes a long way while trying to reach those higher experience caps to unlock new perks. Being picked up also has the added bonus of not having to run all of the way back to the action depending on where you were “lucky” enough to respawn from.
Another bonus that playing with a partner or two has is the ability to teleport to safety if someone makes it to a safe house or a bed roll under some UV lights to shield them from the infected. Need to get out of a dicey situation and don’t think you’ll actually make it? Your partner can definitely have your back… if they want to! Otherwise, this feature helps make advancing story or side quests easy as everyone can simply teleport to the person(s) that made it there first instead of everyone having to run all the way there on their own especially if they were out exploring the other side of the map.
Where this stops being great and falls more into a quirk is when all players need to be at the same spot to continue, are all currently standing in said spot, but aren’t being recognized as standing in this spot in order to continue on. You would think that standing in the same five foot square would be enough but oftentimes it wasn’t making you have to wiggle your characters around a bit to get the marker to notice that you are all indeed standing in the same location.
Now compared to single player, Dying Light 2’s multiplayer is where we really got to see some bugs, which while never enough to stop us, could be a little annoying at times. The above mentioned issue of everyone standing in the same space but not prompting to continue happened from time to time but with a short wiggle you could all keep moving forwards. In other cases it wasn’t as simple as the prompt itself was inaccessible and to progress, main story or sub quest, you had to either get out of range for a moment and try again, or, flat out head to a rest point and sleep until either morning evening for the map to reset.
While the above could be a bit of an inconvenience, the last of these issues took the cake and I was happy to be playing on a PS5 for super quick boot and load times. There are times that once you reached your marker and accepted to progress that it would work and then the screen would go dark with the sound continuing in the background. Sometimes it would take ten seconds to move forward into the next scene but often this was a hint that all players would need to exit the game and then boot it back up and rejoin the host’s session.
But other than these issues? Being able to simultaneously explore the world together or apart was amazing. Not sure if someone should be closer by? Moving to a safe zone to get them to fast travel over took seconds and then everyone could be back where they needed to be. This was also great for taking on the infected as well as clearing out some spaces like each zone’s metro stations that doubled as actual fast travel points. These stations, single player or multiplayer, solved a lot of issues that I had with the original where there were only two such locations and you HAD to know that to access them was through a poster on a wall in a specific location. It wasn’t very intuitive.
Finally, what’s truly interesting about playing Dying Light 2 with others is seeing the choices that they’ve made. There are two main factions to ally with, the Survivors and the Peace Keepers, and after a certain point in the story you can start to grant either of these groups ownership of certain installations around town such as power plants and water towers. Granting these to a certain faction will increase their presence as well as what kinds of tools that you’ll be able to find around town such as new traps to deploy or new ways to safely parkour. Seeing the outcomes of these different choices allows you to actually see where “your” other options would have led without having you make them yourself in another play file.
So with the above being said, it’s just as easy to recommend Dying Light 2: Stay Human as a multiplayer experience. With plenty of things to see and do, one person’s world could be different than another and while certain objects will only ever unlock “once” such as your injectors for health or stamina upgrades, nothing is stopping you from helping out a partner in order to find theirs and grabbing a ton of loot while you are at it.Make sure to also check out our Dying Light 2: Stay Human review!