The Following - Enhanced Edition is Techland's latest expansion to their highly acclaimed zombie epic, Dying Light. The new expansion drops players right back into the horror of an unexplored zombie apocalypse. The new map is colossal. Known only as The Countryside — this new area is packing more zombies, bandits, and secrets than you can shake a modified Broadsword at.
The Following's story stays in line with that of the original game. We still play as Crane and yes, there is still not enough Antizin. The expansion begins when a wandering stranger stumbles into Harran. The stranger, although stricken with fever tells of people living outside of the city walls that are immune to the virus. Crane uses the mystery man’s map to escape the city and ends up in an ever bigger, darker hell — welcome everyone to, Dying Light: The Following.
Bigger is better. Dying Light: The Following is massive. As you step out into the unknown — prepare to encounter new characters, enemies and quests in a new world so terrifying you will wish you never stepped out of Harran!
So, the first thing that really stands out is the sheer size of the expansion. Dying Light: The Following contains considerably more content than the original base game (which was not small by any stretch of the imagination).
The second key point to mention before we go any further is that this time around we can drive! It feels like Techland has focused this entire expansion around the ability to traverse this great new expanse in our very own, customizable buggy. This buggy comes with its very own skill tree that incorporates, driver and buggy upgrades.
You will be pleased to know that players who have played the original will start the expansion game at the same level they were in the base game. All weapons, crafts and ability translate directly across. This means you are able to explore this new landscape from the get-go, with more confidence and, of course, more gore.
The story line is actually pretty self-contained, players do not necessarily have to have played the base game to understand what is going on here. The new characters are again both fun and formidable. As a big fan of the original story, the plot line that feeds the Following did not disappoint. Without revealing too much, it is yet another twisted journey of misplaced loyalties and earth shattering revelations — you are going to love it!
In terms of gameplay, not much has changed. Players will still be free running their asses off as hordes of undead tear up the grass behind you. The missions are again very similar fetch stories that allow for Crane to earn the trust of the locals so he may dig deeper into the rumors of immunity.
You can still chase down the air drops, help sole survivors, and upgrade your skill levels. If you have already completed the base game you can enter into what is known as ‘Legend’ status. This provides the player with another skill tree to progress through — adding even more depth to the veteran’s game
Of course, the introduction of the buggy mixes things up somewhat. The buggy will fast become your best friend in the Countryside — without it, you basically can’t get anywhere due to the size of the map. Upgrade and customize this bad boy as you go. Mow down the herds of wandering infected to your heart’s desire. Just avoid the big ones — they don’t go down as easy!
The mechanics employed by the team in regard to the driving/handling of the vehicle is brilliant. The buggy handles seamlessly, so once you have mastered what you can run over, and what you can’t, you will be drifting your way through the Countryside as if on autopilot — leaving you free to concentrate on your mission.
Out here, there be monsters
Speaking of big ones — the zombies in this expansion are bigger, faster, and a lot stronger. On top of the meandering infected seen scattered throughout the original — The Following introduces a whole new level of undead hostility that even the hardest of horror fans will not be able to combat. Dying Light: The Following seriously ups the horror ante.
Berserkers, Goons, Toads, and Bombers saturate the landscape here, so it is certainly in your best interests to not get stuck out there without transport. Trust me.
Oh, and volatiles? There is not just the odd one roaming around at night here — oh no — there are actual hives full of these monstrosities. Ever wondered where these terrors scurry away to at dawn? It’s here, and guess what? You are tasked with wiping them all out. I’d call pest control if I were you.
It changes your game style
Another thing I noticed is that you will be using your firearms a lot more this time around. With huge open spaces and even bigger enemies to take down, turning to a gun or the all new tactical crossbow (Walking Dead style) will definitely now be the logical choice.
Not that this detracts from Dying Light's brutal and very clever melee system — this is still very much alive in this expansion — it just serves to consider one's enemy before letting them get too close. Scattered throughout the land are many a hidden blueprint and crafting box — upgrade and craft your way through a variety of new, truly barbaric hand-held weapons. Did someone order a zombie pizza from slice and dice?
Techland has also included a ridiculously traumatic 'Nightmare' difficulty mode for those of you out there that watch way too much The Walking Dead. On top of the all new buggy skill tree, they have also integrated a new three-tiered system of bounties to help add even more depth to the game outside of the main narrative.
As with any new game, I did notice a few minor glitches here and there — these will undoubtedly be fixed very soon. For example, at one point I found myself hurtling down a hill in my buggy and I somehow managed to get ahead of the game's zombie spawn rate, meaning I could see them appearing as I approached them.
I also noticed that while playing The Following on Xbox One, my session did occasionally drop in frame rate. Apparently this is due to the console’s power-saving suspend mode — where the game session is suspended in the background, allowing you to drop straight back in where you left off once the machine is powered up again. A quick, hard reset sorts this issue right out, though.
To sum up
The new expansion adds way more to the game than just more zombies for the player to dismember and evade. The open world, non-linear style of gameplay meant that I was never truly safe from harm — I was never allowed to rest; Dying Light: The Following is a truly exhilarating experience. The story doesn’t scrimp on content either — there must be easily in excess of 15 hours here, excluding all the side missions that are available.
This new Dying Light expansion isn’t just the re-wrapping of an old product and serving it to us again with a new bow, it genuinely expands on all that is great about Dying Light.
The fear is back, the sweaty palms are back — it is all there — this is one expansion you do not want to miss out on. Techland, you have done it again. Touche.