Dead Island 2 preview - Back from the dead?

Dead Island 2 zombie on beach wearing helmet
Credit: Dambuster Studios

Dead Island 2 zombie on beach wearing helmet
Credit: Dambuster Studios

In 2011, the Dead Island series sliced and diced its way onto our screens as the next best zombie-slaying adventure. Published by Deep Silver, the game proved a hit thanks to its addictive gameplay and a limitless selection of weapons to whack around the heads of numerous undead opposition.

Following the success of the first game, my younger self couldn’t wait for the launch of Dead Island 2 which was initially planned for a mid-2015 release. Eight years later, the long-awaited sequel to the island of Banoi is right around the corner. Although shooter games are usually my forte, there’s something extremely satisfying about killing hordes of zombies with a range of weaponry that wouldn’t go amiss in a garden shed.

With fond memories of the predecessor, I had high hopes for Dead Island 2 and the new innovations Dambuster Studios can bring to the table to add more layers to an already solid baseline.

Epic flesh-busting action

My favourite feature from Dead Island 2’s predecessor was the sheer amount of gore displayed when dismembering an undead opponent limb from limb. Dambuster Studios builds on a strong foundation with the introduction of the FLESH system. Short for Fully Locational Evisceration System for Humanoids, the system enables players to dissect a target with deadly precision.

Instead of swinging a sledgehammer wildly to deal damage, I found myself performing more methodical attacks for maximum impact. When struggling to counter a fast-moving Runner, the FLESH system allowed me to target the legs to stop its lightning-fast movement before blood sprayed all over the ground.

I found FLESH the highlight of Dead Island 2. Adding some kind of method to the madness makes the game much more than a chaotic dose of hack-and-slash action which is hugely promising for when the full game launches.

Dead Island 2 Jacob on inflatable
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Credit: Dambuster Studios

LA: An ideal zombie battleground

Instead of opting for a dark and dreary environment, Los Angeles, aptly nicknamed HELL-A, and the surrounding area plays host to the endless hordes of zombies trying to stop you in your tracks. After a bit of exploring, I found myself fully immersed in the bright and vibrant environment which only emphasised the vast amounts of blood caused when I knocked the head off the shoulders of a Walker.

There were a few areas of the map containing dark areas but I found it to be an excellent balance to create some completely unexpected jumpscares.

Huge weapon variety

As a fan of swinging for the fences with an improvised piece of scaffolding, I found the Dead Island 2 arsenal a joy to master. Anything and everything could be interpreted as a weapon and with a wide range of mods to increase the damage, there are limitless ways to kill the undead.

My personal favourite was a dagger armed with an electric mod which was perfect for slicing and dicing anything that stood in the way.

Dead Island 2 Ryan carrying sledgehammer
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Credit: Dambuster Studios

There are a total of six different zombie slayers to choose from in Dead Island 2. Each of them has a unique set of skills that ultimately determines your style of play. I went with Bruno who features high levels of critical damage in addition to some useful agility boosts when dodging any incoming attacks.

Having a variety of different slayers kept me coming back for more. I also played as Amy, whose high levels of agility and stamina regeneration kept me in the action long enough to cause maximum impact and get out relatively unscathed.

Plenty of potential

It’s safe to say that Dead Island 2 will provide plenty of fun across the board. I look forward to experiencing some cooperative chaos with other players attempting to survive the zombie onslaught.

There are always going to be a few hiccups with so many zombies on the screen at the same time, but if you’re able to fend them off, I’m sure Dead Island 2 will be a polished, gory experience that’s extremely entertaining.

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