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When Dead Island first came out in 2011, it quickly established itself as a blood-soaked, zombie hack-and-slash thriller. Eleven years have passed since the first game. As we get closer to Dead Island 2 April 21 release date, many are already wondering if it is worth the wait.

Dead Island 2

The first time that Dead Island 2 was announced was in 2014 at E3. Since then, fans that enjoyed the brutal dismemberment of mindless zombies have been looking forward to the second game. A lot has changed in the game engine since the release of the first game—and so have the expectations for the Dambuster Studios’ sequel from fans.

The long time the development took made some fans doubt if the sequel would ever happen. At some point, it was labeled to be in “development hell”. Games that get this label rarely make it to reality. Even if they do, they are usually not in the state that fans anticipated. However, Dambuster Studios was able to rise from hell and deliver an undead RPG with a unique level of unseriousness.

Dead Island 2 is a zombie survival game

If you are new to the Dead Island franchise, the first thing that you should know is that it follows the stories of survivors of a zombie apocalypse. The stories can be experienced through the eyes of different playable survivors. The description that was released with the Dead Island 2 launch trailer read;

“A deadly virus is spreading across Los Angeles, turning the locals into zombies. Bitten, infected, but more than just immune, only you, and a handful of other pathogen-resistant, unlikely heroes hold the future of humanity in the balance.”

Dead Island 2

While the first game was set on the fictional island of Banoi, the sequel makes the environment more relatable by having the action evolve in Los Angeles—however, like you already know, Los Angeles is not an island. This has been one of the talking points for some critics—not like everyone would care. The game is now fondly called “HELL-A”.

Playing as one of the immune survivors, you will have to “slay your way across the City of Angels” to unravel the real reason behind the zombie apocalypse. You will square off against a countless number of enemies and experience gory decapitation and bloody details. Experience your evolution “from survivor to slayer” and discover your true capabilities.

Although the game has many locations, none of them are really massive. Notwithstanding the size, each of the locations is filled with side quests and secrets that can sidetrack you from the main mission for a while. All that adds to the over 15 hours that some reported spending on the game.

A peek into Dead Island 2

Dead Island 2

The game begins with a group of six survivors making it to the plane in the midst of the pandemic. As they attempt to fly out of the infected zone with some of the zombie-free elite, it happens that one of the passengers was infected.

The infected passenger lunges on the infection-free, sparking a chain of infections that eventually leads to the downing of the plane. At this point, the player will be prompted to choose one of the six characters and experience the story through the character’s worldview. Each of the players has unique abilities and weaknesses.

Although you were bitten too, you will soon discover that you are immune. With the help of your abilities, you are determined to leave the city by any means possible. Dead Island 2 had some goofy moments that are sometimes entertaining and at other times bland.

The game has up to 24 story missions which should be easy to blaze through. Alternatively, players can skip the main missions and dwell on the shorter side quests that range from helping people stuck in their apartments to dealing with a TikToker.

Dead Island 2 doesn’t take itself seriously—and you shouldn’t too. Unlike the first installment, Dead Island 2 is not an open world game. Instead, there are several unrelated locations that players can travel between quickly. However, a player may need to go to certain areas on the map in order to move to another location which can be frustrating.

The most satisfying weapons and melee in a first-person action game

Dead Island 2

Regardless of the not-so-rich narrative, some of the few impressive areas that not many people can argue about are the satisfying melee and expansive weapon options. The way you’ll play will depend on your choice of character.

For example, Carla is resilient and tough and can block attacks from the start rather than dodge, but wanting in agility and critical damage. Jacob, on the other hand, will dodge attacks rather than block and has poor health recovery but fields good stamina and agility.

Thankfully, players are not stuck with the abilities of the character they choose throughout the game. As the game progresses, the player gets to acquire skill cards around different levels or from zombies. The skill card ranges from dodge to standard block or the more advanced toughness and stamina when on low health. These skill cards can augment what was lacking in a chosen character’s skills.

Dead Island 2

Also, Dead Island 2 has a slew of melee weapons including staff, machetes, axe, knives, clubs, and baseball bats. The list further expands to giant katanas, wolverine claws, swords, and lots of guns as you progress through the game. The ranged weapons include assault rifles and semi-automatics.

Apart from just having these weapons, players can upgrade them in a cool way that makes them even more menacing. For example, players can add a base or elemental upgrades that allow their weapon to deliver a new type of damage including toxic, fire, and electricity. Weapons do break, but upgrades can be reapplied on workbenches.

Around midway into Dead Island 2, players will unlock zombie power that is equivalent to Fury in God of War. Once the meter is full, the player can enter the Fury mode to cause more damage. It can be a great option for getting out of sticky situations.

Is it worth your time?

Dead Island 2

Probably yes, depending on what satiates your gaming desires. While the storytelling may not be that compelling, Dead Island 2 has memorable characters that you easily remembered, thanks in part to the great voice acting.

It also has great comic scenes that will remind you that gaming really doesn’t have to be that serious. Also, the large arsenal of weapons and the near-endless crafting abilities is another feature that will stick with you long after you have beat the game.

Dead Island 2 also has a co-op mode which can make the playing experience even more fun. However, it is a bit segregating in the sense that lower leveled players cannot join sessions by players of higher levels, even if the difference in level is slim. Perhaps, the reason is that players are not allowed to pick up weapons above their levels.

If you have the stomach for hack-and-slash type blood and gore violence, Dead Island 2 will be a handful. However, we know this will never be suitable for everyone, especially when you pair it with questionable gameplay mechanics.

Did you play the first Dead Island? What are your expectations for the second installment? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.  

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