Infiltrating the cult and gaining the trust of the townies will take you and your buggy from one end of the sprawling map to the other and back. Electrical power must be restored (naturally), a water pipeline must be repaired (of course), items must be retrieved and various missing persons must be located. In true side-quest format these missions are rarely as straightforward as they sound, leading to some extended adventures, a few enjoyable twists, and this one asshole who spent his time during the apocalypse first hiding his cache of weapons and then writing rhyming poems about where you can find them. Screw that guy.
As you speed off over piles of zombies to complete these tasks you’ll run across an almost exhausting number of other encounters and adventures: locations to explore, people radioing for help, airdrops to recover from armed goons, timed challenge modes, geotagged military caches to track down, and caves filled with dangerous Volatiles to clear out—or not clear out. Look, don’t clear them out. It’s really, really awful in there. Some of these encounters feel like filler, hardly worth stopping for, but I’ll never not enjoy following a rapidly beeping transmitter to its source. Anything that yields new blueprints or weapon attachments is time well spent.
There’s a lot to do in The Following, and I wound up enjoying it more than the original game. Much of my issue with Dying Light had to do with the long, slow grind to improve Kyle’s skills to the point where he was actually fun to play. Here, the progress with the car feels faster and becomes enjoyable much more quickly. Steam annoyingly didn’t track the time I spent on my review copy, but I’d estimate there’s a good 10-20 hours of fresh adventures to be had, and many more for completionists. And, while definitely focusing on car-based hijinks, there are still plenty of opportunities for climbing and running and bludgeoning for those who didn’t get enough of that in the base game. The new characters and story are, unfortunately, just as dull as they were in the original, though I feel they’re both a bit quicker to get to the point.
The Following is meant for players who have already maxed their skill trees in the base game, evident in the fact that boss zombies aren’t just encountered at the climax of missions: there are plenty of them just wandering around trying to fit in with the crowd now. There are also Freaks of Nature: ultra-bosses, designed to be taken down with a co-op partner, so ridiculously swollen with hit points that it took me, playing solo, a good 10 minutes to kill one, most of that time spent crouching fearfully on a rooftop and using my entire collection of crafting components to build explosives.
The expansion ran great for me: I didn’t experience a single crash (PC crash, that is: I crashed my buggy plenty). The issues I had were minor, like, while racing at top speed I sometimes overtook the spawn rate of new zombies, meaning I could see them pop into existence in front of me. Enemy AI didn’t work well in a few cases: boss enemies unwilling to walk around a minor obstruction, considerately letting me slowly plink them to death at my leisure, and some human goons who wouldn’t open fire if I backpedaled a few steps. Not complaining, really, it made a few fights a lot easier.
Otherwise, I think Techland did a good job of turning its running game into a driving game, and didn’t skimp on the extras. It’s a substantial expansion, it deviates nicely from the original, and it’s a reasonable price for its weight.