Pretty much no game ever is worth waiting almost 10 years for, but when Dead Island 2 launches on PS5 and PS4 next month, it'll at least deliver on the comedic fun its reveal trailer teased all the way back at E3 2014. Having been passed between three different developers over the past decade, it's difficult to work out where the work of Yager Development and Sumo Digital ends and where the efforts of Dambuster Studios begin. However, what's there is enjoyable. Familiar, but fun.
We recently had the chance to play the game's opening four to five hours, spread across various mainline missions and a handful of side quests. Having selected from one of six characters — all of whom have a few abilities and stats to call their own — the opening sequence has you fall victim to a zombie bite. This actually turns out to be a boon rather than a hindrance as it's revealed you're immune to the virus; this has gameplay ramifications in the full title, but we did not see any of it in the opening hours.
Nevertheless, the first few main quests have you form a home base at a celebrity's HELL-A mansion and then explore the surrounding area in search of rescue. Our first impressions of the core story are it comes across a bit formulaic, with little to truly get excited about or characters you'd want to risk your life for. It's a very typical open world narrative, but the side quests we encountered did provide quirkier tales to pursue. From an elderly gentleman who's stuck on the top floor of his mansion because the power to his stairlift has been cut to a TikTok-loving teen with a thirst for zombie carnage, Dambuster Studios appears to have gotten much more creative in its optional content.
As for how Dead Island 2 plays, think Dying Light 2 without as much parkour — at least for the first few hours. While guns are supposed to be a much bigger part of the experience than in Techland's latest zombie title, melee weapons are what you'll battle the undead with at first. The usual baseball bats, wrenches, and iron pipes are littered across HELL-A but they can only deal so much damage on their own. Workbenches let you apply elemental mods and perks to upgrade weapons Dead Rising 2 style, with resources and cash needed to install them. Since there's weapon degradation, it's at these stations where you'll also pay to repair your favourite skull crushers.
So frequent are these materials that it feels like you're scavenging for supplies just as regularly as zombie brains are destroyed. Dead Island 2 is one of those games where environments are absolutely covered in resources; you can't take ten steps before finding a suitcase to loot or a car boot to pop open. Even though these pickups aren't essential, it becomes somewhat stressful and annoying to see so much clutter all over the place. It's a common part of some open world games nowadays, but taking a few minutes out of a story quest to hoover up all the resources in a given area still isn't a particularly enjoyable task.
Much of that is forgotten, though, in the midst of undead battling action. The game's opening hours prove you'll have a whale of a time just repeatedly smashing zombie's faces in, growing your arsenal with bigger and better weapons, and unlocking new skills. All the standard hallmarks of a quality open world experience, so don't expect Dead Island 2 to be much different from classics past. Still, what's there is evidence enough that Dambuster Studios made fun one of its top priorities. You may not come for the story or the looting, but Dead Island 2 clicks with a quirky set of weapons and a huge zombie horde to be beaten down. Combine the two and you've got hours of entertainment scheduled in for April.
Dead Island 2 is out for PS5, PS4 on 21st April 2023. Will you be playing it? Let us know in the comments below.
Looking forward to this 😀
It would be nice if this is a third-person view, or at least there is an option. Need a good co-op game.
The last trailer looked fun, perhaps I'll grab this one on a sale at some point.
Did you get to experience the card-based skill system at all? That's my biggest hold up about this, a game that is otherwise right up my alley. I hate the limits such systems put on the player. The clothing-based skills ruined Far Cry 6 for me and I fear this will be similar.
@LiamCroft Did you get to play co-op at all? I'm wondering how co-op progression will work.
Really looking forward to this. Me and my brother have been waiting for this since E3 2014 and massive fans of dead Island so I can't wait to feel that familiarity.
@bpomber Unfortunately not, just single player.
I'm super not excited and very low expectations. If it's fun I'll check it out
Just a heads up, despite what it slightly suggests here. This game isn't an open world title. Its linear. This was confirmed in August of last year but slipped under the radar as some previews released today expressed surprise to it not having an open world sandbox.
@Smiffy01 in super not understanding your comment. I super don't follow any influencers.. have a super day!
I will wait to see what the cards do, it's the reason I didn't bother with B4B or Midnight Sun.
@Cutmastavictory @Cutmastavictory Super stoked about your reply 😀
Just wish it was third person. Im just not a first person gamer.
want it to be better than the dying light games already looks better never played any of these or those games myself
I can't wait to hang out with my best friend, Nick Mullen, and kill lots of zombies.
@MFTWrecks The "card-based system" was just an error in translation from Polish to English. I am Polish and from what i know from Polish websites the system allows You to pick up any skill You want.
Google translate (i'm lazy ):
"However, I find it difficult to understand one decision of the developers - during the marketing campaign, the team mentioned "champion development through cards" and I was one of the people who openly criticized this idea. Fortunately, during the game, I got the impression that the creators did not quite know how to "sell" their proposal and used a very unfortunate name for it. The progression of the hero itself is very simple and is based on... choosing skills. In the menu, we can use several skills that affect our abilities and, for example, we regenerate the character's health when performing appropriate attacks or there is an option to improve the dynamic action related to running, jumping and kicking zombies - this move works surprisingly well and can be used, for example, to throw a corpse into acid or shove it right into the middle of running water."
@Tr3mm0r I mean, it's literally a card-based system requiring constant (or at least somewhat frequent) oversight and tweaking to maximize effectiveness.
Instead of a tried and true ever expanding skill tree.
I don't understand your point.
Ready for this? I still regularly play Riptide and Dying Light 1&2. Yes I am ready for this!
Can’t say the language used in this article fills me with optimism for your review. Feels like it’s on par if not a little weaker than Dying Light 2. Maybe I’m reading too much into it!
Really hoping for a good game out of this.
I didn't expect this game to be good, but surprisingly the youtube trailer/preview looks good, even better than dying light 2 imo.
They're really trying to hype this generic looking zombie game.
@LiamCroft whats the flesh system like theyve been banging on about ,is it as deliciously gory as it looks.
A potential spring pickmeup am feeling the gamenatography here. Yass I coined a new word..
looking forward to this. Good point about the looting. I really think the looting system is a gameplay mechanic that needs to be modernized. I suppose it's there for reasons like the change of pace but honestly I just find it annoying in most games. The Outer Words, Cyberpunk, Witcher, Dying Light 2, Division 2, it feels like all you are doing is looting all the time.
Surely there are other ways of doing this to make it less tedious. For example automatically scooping up loot, or pick up as 'junk' option like the Divison does, no weight limits or just for weapons.. etc etc
I just quotet what I have read on Polish website. The game is not on my radar so i don't know much about it.
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