The Pain In Game Stays Mainly On The Lame

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Happy Weekend TAY!

Thanks again to Meathead373 (or is it Deadhead666 the Scary) for covering for me last week. I was away at Grand Bend (a cottage area in Ontario, Canada) to celebrate my father’s 70th birthday and Canadian Thanksgiving. I didn’t have a chance to play any games while I was away for the five days. However, I did get to play around with my father’s new Microsoft Surface that my mother bought him for his birthday. If the Surface had a GPU powerful enough to play high-end games, I would absolutely purchase one instead of a laptop. It is a fantastic device and a glorious tablet.

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I didn’t arrive home from the celebrations until last Monday night. With all the running around before we left and the real life stuff that met us upon our return home, it has been a while since I’ve had time to really sit down with Dying Light.

I have made some progress in Dying Light, but in short and infrequent sessions. I really love the game, but I’m sad the terrifying ride of starting the game on the Nightmare mode seems to have come to an end.

It is a shame, you’d think that a higher difficulty mode which was added to the game well after release would have really challenged a player. The game even suggests that this difficulty is for players who already have more advanced weaponry (and presumably have already played the game).

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Nightmare starts out well. You are desperate and weak; every encounter feels like a life or death struggle. Then you hit a tipping point in the game where you are clearly overpowered and over-equipped. This is when the initial terror of the difficulty level starts to fall off.

The acquired ability to “stomp” the zombies is probably the first nail in the coffin for Nightmare’s challenge. When a zombie is knocked down you can instantly kill it with this stomp. However, more importantly, you can kill the Virals with far greater efficiency.

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Virals are the 28 Days Later form of zombies: fast, agile, aggressive, and more intelligent in combat. Unlike the shambling zombies, the Virals can scale buildings and larger vehicles. Prior to getting the stomp-finisher, the Virals are your worst enemy and even a single one on Nightmare can make quick work of you. After you get the stomp-finisher, you simply have to take refuge on a higher structure and stomp them (instant kill) as they climb up to eat you.

As the game progresses your character also gains more powerful abilities, equipment, and arsenal. The addition of high powered rifles and bows makes quick work of the undead. Add to this acquiring a grappling hook that lets you travel vertically with far greater ease and you can’t help but notice the drastic drop in difficulty.

Before you ask, yes, I could choose not to use the stomp or the grappling hook. However, I’m not very good at self-imposed restrictions. I will use whatever is available to make my life easier in a game and I feel I should take advantage of the rules of that universe. It is up to the game to provide the challenge.

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I think the stomp should only work on a zombie that has been significantly damaged and made to feel more like a true finishing move rather than an instant-kill. The grappling hook should just be done away with since the world seems designed to be completely traversed without grappling.

If I was designing the Nightmare difficulty setting, I would have seriously curtailed the amount of loot in the world. Even better, don’t have the loot respawn over time. I think finite loot in the world would enhance the survival aspect of the game and would add to the sense of realism. This would also make shops more necessary. Currently, I have only ever used shops to sell my non-crafting loot and I have more money than I know what to do with. Why buy stuff when you can find items in the same places over and over and over?

It is a pity. Nightmare should be kicking my ass and it currently seems no harder than most games I play on Hard. I would HIGHLY recommend anyone getting into Dying Light to start on Nightmare. You’ll get kicked around a little at the beginning, but over time the game will ease up substantially.

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Hopefully I’ll get some time for some more Dying Light this weekend. My wife is out Saturday night so I’m hoping to get in some more Yoshi’s Woolly World with the kid. I also need to find the time to catch up on what’s been going on around here on TAY. I see many music related posts that I can’t wait to dig into.

So, what are you playing this weekend?