The gamers have been waiting long for the second installment of Dying Light. Dark skies were gathering over this game since the beginning but after many perturbations, the latest production by Techland finally came to light. This time the developers collaborated with French composer Olivier Deriviere, known for his passion for musical experiments and creating interactive soundtracks. The final result surpassed the expectations of many players and critics.
The composer along with the audio team at Techland reached the pinnacle of in-game interactive music implementation.
The second installment of the series of games in which we fight (or run away from) hordes of zombies and avoid the darkness, makes a really good appearance. The story is much better than in the first game, and the city of Villedor looks very attractive, especially the downtown with many high buildings (the old town resembles Harran from the first Dying Light). Developers improved many game mechanics, added the possibility of paragliding, but what impressed me the most is the parkour system. This technique of moving around and passing obstacles is the essence of Dying Light 2. Because there is plenty of infected in the streets, jumping and climbing walls, car wrecks, and rooftops is the key for survival in the game. Parkour in Dying Light 2 is much more enjoyable and effective than in the first game, and the protagonist, a bit sluggish at first, soon becomes more and more agile due to development of his abilities.
And thus we reach the core of the matter: the game’s music. Olivier Deriviere composed nine themes that accompany us while parkouring. The composer along with the audio team at Techland reached the pinnacle of in-game interactive music implementation. Let us use the track Empowering Yourself as an example which can be heard during climbing the highest building in Villedor. The higher we climb, the more the dynamics of the music grows, as well as during fluent sequences of running and jumping. When we slow down or stop, the dynamics goes down, and when we explore the rooms which are not on the climbing route, the high frequencies are filtered out, only to return when we are back on the route. The track structure also changes during the far leaps and landings.
I had the utmost pleasure simply by running, jumping and climbing the buildings of the city, feeling somehow cheered by the music being played. However, this is pretty hard to accomplish, since you need to perform the set of movements fluent enough to make the certain track grow, which was pretty hard for me being a gamer with visual disabilities and the fear of heights. I have encountered many reactions of the gamers who were not able to finish the game due to their vertigo. That means Dying Light 2 is not an easy game – but on the other hand it’s really rewarding and satisfying.
The score for Dying Light 2 is a combination of orchestra and synthesizers. That combination, though, is not as pioneering and experimental as the one in the Remember Me soundtrack – also by Olivier Deriviere – which I consider one of the most innovative scores for video games. The music is nonetheless very enjoyable to listen to, also without the in-game context, and the rich sound of the orchestra in tracks like Run, Jump, Fight or The Last Parkour is simply amazing. The composer built a special metallic sounding instrument for the soundtrack, which was named the electric psaltery. He also collaborated with the cellist Eric-Maria Couturier once again.
The music is greatly implemented in Dying Light 2.
Definitely the ‘parkour’ tracks are the most interesting here, like the aforementioned The Last Parkour (accompanying one of the most intense chase scenes I have ever encountered in a video game), The Joy of Parkour or Empowering Yourself. The fierce, sharp synthesizers add some charm to our gameplay in Start, Inside Their Lair and The Big Boy. Tracks like There is Hope or Breath of the City lift our spirits. The characteristic feature of this composer’s work is a lot of emotions he adds to his scores, hence the beautiful orchestral arrangement in We are Citizens and its continuation – Be at Peace or touching synthesizers in New Beginnings and The Last Party. I must admit I had tears in my eyes many times during my playthrough, and mainly because of the music.
Nevertheless, the soundtrack contains also compositions which are not as good as the ones mentioned above, like a bit cliche themes for each of the factions, but this is a minor flaw of the score that works so well both in-game and beyond it. The music is greatly implemented in Dying Light 2. The great sound design is also worth to mention here, especially the sounds of the infected during the night. Techland made a good decision by inviting Olivier Deriviere to compose this OST. Despite the soundtrack being a bit less groundbreaking than the one for Remember Me or Streets of Rage 4, this is yet another great production in the composer’s body of work.