Video games can be hard at times. They require accuracy, attentiveness, dexterity, and above all, patience. So playing on Normal isn’t always an option, especially if you’re rusty in a particular genre or have a disability that impedes your gameplay. Dying Light 2, the sequel to Techland’s 2015 predecessor, is already a challenge, what with its aggressive bandits and even more aggressive zombies. Why make it any harder when the game has three built-in difficulty modes to choose from? I’m here to tell you that if you’re getting your arse whopped at the beginning of the game like I was, it’s ok if you lower the difficulty setting for a while. No really, it’s fine!
Dying Light 2 sees you controlling new protagonist Aiden Caldwell, who finds himself in Villedor searching for his sister Mia. The narrative is whatever, an uninteresting revenge tale full of corruption and greed that doesn’t go anywhere or say anything. That’s not the point, though. The point here is to fight and parkour your way through 500 hours of content, most of which is pretty challenging if you leave it on the default difficulty.
Like most games, Dying Light 2 has three difficulty modes: Easy, Normal, and Hard, with Normal selected by default when you boot it up. You might think Normal is nothing, that you can handle the challenge it presents without any problems, and maybe you can! More power to you if that’s the case, but honestly, Normal was kinda hard for me in the beginning. It might’ve been because Dying Light came out in 2015 and I haven’t played that game since its The Following expansion dropped in 2016. But my light was dying left and right as I traversed Techland’s zombie RPG sequel. Bandits were hacking away at my health. Zombies were eating me up. I get the game’s world wants me dead, and Normal underscores that impression.
So I died. A lot. Over and over and over again, until I decreased the game’s difficulty. And let me tell you, things have been smooth sailing ever since.
If you pause the game — which can be done at any point during gameplay — and select the Options text, you’ll find yourself in the Settings menu. From there, navigate to the Game tab and at the top, you’ll see Difficulty Level. Go ahead and change this to whatever you can handle, but I recommend Easy. At least to start off with. You can change the difficulty whenever you want. And don’t worry, constantly changing it doesn’t reload your save, make you lose progress, or anything like that.
Going down to Easy introduced a noticeable difference when playing Dying Light 2. It felt like I hit harder, ran longer, and withstood more zombie kisses. It gave me the room to understand the mechanics. It also let me enjoy the story and, more specifically, the character interactions, of which there are plenty of good ones. I’ve since changed the difficulty back to Normal after putting some 30 hours into the game, but starting out on Easy gave me the clarity to get a handle on the controls so that I’m as effective as possible in both combat and parkour. Not something that’s totally possible on Normal when bandits and zombies are trying to ruin your day.
There’s this strange aversion to not just Easy modes but also to difficulty settings in general. It’s as if playing on anything other than Normal or whatever the default is will lead to your Gamer™ card getting revoked. This mentality, that playing on Easy makes you an inferior gamer, is nonsensical bullshit. Developers put difficulty settings in their games for a reason. Use them! Dying Light 2 is a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be at the start.