The long awaited sequel
Dead island 1 was the pinnacle of FPS zombie games when it first released back in 2011 on PS3, Xbox 360 generations and spawned some future similar titles like dying light, killing floor, Zombi to name just a few. Dead island was developed by Techland and published by Deep Silver, who also developed dying light incidentally. The sequel like its predecessor boasts 4 player Co-Op story mode where you can partner up with 3 other friends to take on the zombie onslaught. The sequel has had a turbulent release as it was supposed to be released back in 2015 I believe but went into development hell and passed through a few developers like Yager and Sumo Digital before it was Dambuster Studios who finally picked up the development duties. I bought dead island 2 on PS5.
The sequel is set in a fictional LA where the Government has imposed a quarantine due to the zombie outbreak and you’re on a flight that is shot down by the military because of the quarantine and there is 6 people who survive the crash that become your player character dubbed “Slayers” in Dead Island 2. The original game didn’t feature slayers in this regard. The title is a bit obscure in this regard as LA is not an island but I’ll let that slip this time but mention it due to it being different from the previous title that was actually an island.
The sequel offers weapon mods like the original but improves on these with a card system that offers various additional abilities that you can bestow on your slayer like whether they can dodge or block on a certain button press and have three mod types you can put on most weapons like bleed damage, fire damage or electrical damage respectively with 1-3 tiers applied to these the further you rank up and collect materials. I found myself collecting a lot of useless materials during my playthrough that just didn’t seem to have much use and a lot of weapons dropped seem to be below my current rank and i ended up just destroying them or selling them but even 3/4 through the game i have yet to come across the legendary level weapons I had read about been in the game previously and hoped it wasn’t another case of getting a cool weapon at the end of the game that you just wouldn’t use unless you did a newgame+ scenario.
The look of Dead Island 2 is not bad but clearly you can see the game was started before this current gen but this does not mean the graphics are in anyway bad, it’s far from that. It does have a lot of similarities to the most recent release of Dying Light 2 with similar fighting mechanics and the infamous jumping double kick we all know and love. Dead Island is a Unreal Engine 4 title which could possibly be upgraded to a Unreal Engine 5 version down the line with the engines upgrade tools but that would depend on sales I’d imagine but it has surpassed 1 million sales at the date of this review so fingers crossed.
Dead Island 2 does have a new dismemberment system it calls FLESH (Fully Locational Evisceration System for Humanoids) that sets it apart from the other zombie games of its genre. You can maim, behead, dismember, shatter, skin, punch holes into zombies in very stylish fashion. The Developers boasted about the system and admitted to spending a lot of time on the new gore system. I found it fun to shoot off the limbs of the zombies and have them crawl around after me to the behest of my co-op partner Hah!.
Playability & Re-playability
The mission system in Dead Island 2 is split up to 3 different types from Main story missions, Side quests and a lost and found bounty type system that gets you to locate people around LA. It almost seems that Dambuster studios got bored doing these mission systems as a lot became very tedious with you having to go back and forth back to the same locations on the games map when they could have easily mixed it up and used other locations instead of pier, lifeguard station, movie studio and hotel almost the entire game. I found the side quests and location missions to be partially invisible to me during the game playthrough and only decided to do some when we were already 3/4 ways through the story just to get the weapon rewards and move the mission progress bar on main screen along. Once finishing Dead Island 2, I doubt I will play it again as there really is little incentive to play the game again with the consent repetitive missions throughout the game.
One real saving grace for Dead Island 2 is the Co-Op gameplay, I had fun playing with friends and performing quite elaborate kills on the hordes of zombies found around the fictional LA area. I had very little noticeable issues while playing co-op like some other games who just suffer severely while playing co-op with rubberbanding and other issues. The only issue with the co-op was that it was locked after you started it with your friend so another friend could not just jump in with you as they didn’t have the level progression to do so and was disappointing to see.
I really enjoyed my time playing Dead Island 2 but I just kept feeling that I wanted more and the repetitive nature of the missions made the game feel short and not thought out. The FLESH system was amazing but just wasn’t enough to keep me interested to replay.
- FLESH system is great fun
- Co-Op was good fun
- Weapons and combat were fun
- Missions were repetitive
- Little to no incentive on side missions
- Ability cards were confusing
- Lot of stupid useless dialogue
- Short game
Dead Island 2: Score – Dermot