Originally announced all the way back in 2014 and went through what the industry refers to as ‘Development Hell’ due to the fact that they had at least two studios previously working on the title until they settled on Dambuster, which is an internal studio for Deep Silver. We can finally see what the end product is nine years later.
Dead Island 2 is set roughly 10 years after the original outbreak in Dead Island. For the record, I don’t care what anyone says about the original dead island games, I loved them because they were good dumb fun. Dead Island 2 doesn’t disappoint as it keeps that good wacky fun, dials it up and just does it better.
Starting out in a quarantined off Los Angeles, trying to escape on an aircraft, the infected make it on the flight and send the plane crashing. As you escape you meet up with Emma who is a celebrity and Michael her personal assistant. While they leave to return to Emma’s house, they extend an invite for you once you’re done trying to save people at the crash.
During this time you will learn the basics of combat which eventually leads to your selected character becoming infected. When you realise that you haven’t turned and are potentially not infected, you make your way back to Emma’s house which will become a safe haven for saved survivors that you find along your adventures searching for what’s left of the army in the hope that your blood might be the cure for this outbreak.
This is the basic premise of the game’s story which will extend out to side missions throughout LA which is separated into 10 distinct districts. When you go to enter a new district you will be prompted by a loading screen, which admittedly took me a bit by surprise given the current climate of open-world games these days. But loading never really took any more than around five seconds.
I chose the character of Carla for my playthrough of the game, who is a confident and capable Hispanic woman. The voiceover for her and the rest of the cast of survivors is fantastic. I especially loved the moments when she would interact with the housekeepers at Emma’s house in their native language. It was a really awesome touch that I appreciated.
In fact, I found that mostly all the characters you interact with in Dead Island 2 are very well-voiced as they generally take potshots at the LA self-centred culture of the rich and famous.
As you go about your way exploring the map throughout Dead Island 2, you will come across locked doors and lockboxes, just to name a few, that you won’t be able to access unless you locate the keys or keycards required to open them. These will generally be found on named zombies in the vicinity of the house (normally the owners who have turned) But on a few occasions I did notice that the room’s door I was trying to access was made of glass, so just to test it out and to my surprise, the door smashed open! I thought that was brilliant. Until the alarm went off and the zombies swarmed the area. (Doh)
The map does a great job of noting these down for you in case you are unable to find them right away, so it’s never much of a hassle to find them again.
In addition to locked doors, you will also find workbenches. These are required to repair your higher-graded weapons and modify them. Blueprints are located all over the map as well as given as rewards for completing missions. Modifications range from blunt, fire, electricity and many more which will assist you in surviving your time in Dead Island 2.
Killing zombies is fun and all and sure it can get repetitive after bashing so many skulls and limbs in. The way that the game keeps this fresh is by having elements such as water and electricity scattered around the map. This can encourage the old brain to assess the situation and really think about the most effective way you can take out multiple zombies at once. It’s almost like a puzzle, I really enjoyed the thought that was put into these spots. But sometimes, especially at the start, you’ll just be swinging away.
As Dead Island 2 progresses in combat the game will force you to learn defence and dodging as rarely will just go in to hack and slash end well. Especially with bosses and unique zombies as they will absolutely destroy you if you don’t defend yourself. This will then be countered as you level up. Eventually, you will gain access to guns that handle great during your time using them.
As you level up you gain boosts to the character’s vitality, brutality and durability then in addition, you gain access to skill cards. Adding different skill sets under abilities, survivor, slayer and numen. These will give boosts in attacks if you perform a perfect block or when you use a medkit a small explosion goes off, just to name a few.
Just a small note, there is an Alexa add-in where you can link the game to your Alexa account and use voice commands to call out to zombies and switch weapons. I did try this but with no such success.
I didn’t get around to trying the multiplayer gameplay, but I had previously on the original titles and would assume that it would only make playing with friends more fun than it already is.
If you haven’t guessed already, I had an absolute blast with Dead Island 2. Everything about this game was top notch and from the outset, I was impressed with the overall presentation and performance of the game. There were no options for performance or graphic mode as the game ran stable and I highly recommend this to anyone just looking to have a laugh and a fun gaming experience.
This was reviewed on the Xbox Series X