Combining a sprawling open world with impressive parkour and pesky hordes of zombies, Dying Light: Platinum Edition is a step up from Techland’s previous zombie title, Dead Island. In one of the most impressive Nintendo Switch port efforts to date, the game packs all of the violent zombie hunting, thrilling parkour, and post-launch DLC in a surprisingly strong on-the-go package. While graphics take an expected dip on Switch, the game still runs quite well in review, making Dying Light: Platinum Edition a wonderful way to try out one of the previous console generation’s most beloved zombie games.
Dying Light: Platinum Edition does not offer much in terms of a gripping narrative, but it still gets the job done with decently likable characters and an occasionally interesting plot. The game follows Kyle Crane, an undercover agent on the hunt for a man with some particularly sensitive information pertaining to the zombie virus. At the start of the game, Crane airdrops into Harran, a Middle Eastern city shut down by the raging zombie virus, but the operation goes awry within a matter of seconds when a zombie sinks his teeth into your forearm. Luckily, a nearby band of survivors rescues Crane and takes him in, granting access to an important network and meds that keep the infection at bay. Crane, eager to protect his undercover status while carrying out his mission, quickly impresses his rescuers and joins their ranks as a supply runner. At that point, your adventure begins. As I mentioned, the plot will not blow you away, but it does an adequate job of propping up the rest of the game — mainly zombie-killing and parkour, the bread and butter of Dying Light: Platinum Edition on Switch.
Thriving on a combination of parkour-based platforming, melee-heavy combat, and RPG-esque character progression, Dying Light: Platinum Edition carefully crafts a satisfying gameplay loop for players. Crane boasts a natural talent for parkour — you’ll be vaulting, leaping, and climbing structures with little trouble thanks to the game’s surprisingly effective parkour control scheme of “look at this ledge and press ‘R’ to climb it.” As a supply runner, Crane will spend lots of time navigating streets that are just teeming with zombies, frequently faced with the choice of fight or flight.
As it turns out, flight more often than not beats fight. Parkour does take a little bit of getting used to, but it’s a skill you will want to master as quickly as possible. Combat in Dying Light: Platinum Edition is fun, but for a variety of reasons, it’s generally not the most effective way to survive an undead encounter.
Your arsenal, while formidable, is not conducive to mowing down zombie hordes. Guns are hard to find, hard to keep stocked, and a great way to alert every zombie in earshot. You’ll instead rely on breakable melee weapons for the bulk of your combat, but effectively utilizing those requires skillful movement and knowing when to jump ship. Most of the time, it will be a better idea to locate a fence, wall, or other structure that can lead you out of harm’s way.
That’s not to say, however, that combat is useless in Dying Light: Platinum Edition. Again, it is quite fun, and thanks to weapon repairs and craftable upgrades, you can even build up your own customized arsenal of tricked out bats and pipes. Additional player upgrades ensure that Crane is more than capable of handling himself against a gaggle of zombies. The combat isn’t perfect or world-shattering, but it complements the fast-paced parkour nicely.
Dying Light: Platinum Edition only really falters on the technical side, and still, it’s a very well done port that pushes Nintendo Switch to its limits. That still means a 30 FPS frame rate that will definitely stutter against zombie hordes, along with some visual miscues and pop-in that make the game look quite rough compared to its PlayStation 4 and Xbox One counterparts, but if you’re looking for portable zombie action, this is one of your best bets pre-Steam Deck.
Overall, Dying Light: Platinum Edition does a lot quite well on Switch. Aside from some technical hiccups and a pretty insignificant narrative, the game shines behind a satisfying gameplay loop with buildings to climb, upgrades to snag, and zombies to smack. With loads of packed-in DLC content and a few multiplayer modes piled on top of a sizable base game, fans of the gameplay loop will find dozens of hours of gratifying zombie-crushing entertainment. Ahead of a sequel set to arrive in February, the game does little to push genre limits or set new standards, but it’s an easy recommendation for fans of open-world titles, fun gameplay, and zombies.
Release date: October 19, 2021
Players: up to 5 players
Genre: Role-Playing, Action, First-Person
Game file size: 15.7 GB
A Nintendo Switch review code for Dying Light: Platinum Edition was provided by the publisher.