Dying Light 2 is a spectacular game in a lot of ways. A beautiful decaying world, great characters, a fantastic traversal system - there is a lot to love in Techland's labor of love. But the sound design in Dying Light 2 is next level spectacular.
Check it out: early in the game, main character Aiden is sent to find a woman who has been suspected of killing another character. Upon arriving in the building where she is purported to be, the player can immediately hear the sound of two people fighting on another floor of the house. The sound of muffled voices and thumping from overhead is clear, and if they player is paying attention, they can follow the sound to discover two kids on an upper floor arguing. The thing is, the way the sound moves through the house actually sounds exactly as it would if you were in a real building - muffled at first, but slowly resolving to clarity as the player gets closer. It's a spectacular, yet understated, use of sound design.
The entire game is like that. Dying Light 2 uses sound to make the world seem threatening in the day time, with moans and yells coming from all directions. But the world really comes to life at night, when distant screams and howls from the undead form their own unnerving soundtrack. Every living thing in the city is fighting for its life at night, and you can hear the struggle from every direction.
Special mention must also be made of the game's incredible orchestral soundtrack. Huge, sweeping, and cinematic in scope, the soundtrack soars when it needs to, and shrinks to a menacing hum when it is appropriate.
Take a listen to Track 15 - Monsters We - on the video below for an idea of just how incredible and atmospheric this soundtrack really is. Note how the track changes tone, with different movements to mirror a shift in the action. Just incredible. The very next track - Start - strikes a completely different tone, with its rubberbanding bass thumps and menacing discordant strings.
I love to hear the different ways that video game developers bring their games to life through sound design, but the folks that worked on Dying Light 2 are operating on an completely different level. It is often said (particularly by sound designers) that sound is half of the game. I would argue that in the case of Dying Light 2, the soundscape is practically a game in itself. Hats off, folks, for some of the best sound I've ever heard in a game.