Dead Island 2 is an ideal game for those of you who enjoy taking on hordes of undead zombies and disposing of them in fun and visceral ways. It is the third major installment in the franchise and is currently set for a February 3, 2023 release date.
The series debuted in 2011 with Dead Island, whose premise saw your player character marooned on a tropical island resort overrun with zombies. Aside from surviving, you also had to carry out various quests, with the ultimate goal of escaping to freedom.
Gamescom 2022 saw the release of a new trailer for Dead Island 2, showing off a new look for the series and a good chunk of gameplay footage. If you are a fan of the series or just wish to know more about Dead Island 2, I’ve laid out five important tidbits and info for the game in this article.
Note: This article reflects the writer's opinion.
5 things to know about Dead Island 2
1) This is not the first version of the game
First announced way back in 2014, Dead Island 2 was originally being worked on by developer Yager Development. A trailer showcasing gameplay, combat, and other new features was released at the time.
However, due to undisclosed reasons, development responsibilities were taken away from Yager Development and handed over to Sumo Digital. During this run, no footage was released, and the game remained under wraps until Sumo was also removed from the project. There was some speculation that Deep Silver’s vision of the game was not being met.
The reins were eventually handed over to Dambuster Studios, an internal studio under Deep Silver, and they have been working on the game since 2019. Fans will no doubt be hoping there are no more development roadblocks this time around, and that they don't have to wait another eight years for Dead Island 2.
2) How does it connect to Dead Island?
As stated in the intro, the first Dead Island is set in an island resort in the fictional Banoi archipelago. However, as was made evident in the new trailer, Dead Island 2 takes place on the streets of Los Angeles, artfully named Hell A. It begs the question: Is the new game going to be a standalone adventure, a la the Far Cry series, or be somehow connected to the previous title?
It's too soon to say at this point. The world seems to be the same as the one in Dead Island, and it is possible that the timeline could work out, as the first game was not too generous with the larger world lore, sticking instead to the main story most of the time.
There is little reason for the new developers to do a complete reboot, and possible connections to the previous game characters might just appear in the story down the line. Dambuster has done a significant amount of world-building for the sequel for it to be able to line up next to its predecessor, which didn’t contain much of it in the first place.
3) Zombie abilities?
As in previous Dead Island games, this time around, there is a selection of playable characters known as survivors, whose role the player will be assuming. As an action-role-playing game, the series has always included a leveling-up mechanic and unlockable skills; although for Dead Island 2, things might be a bit different.
While in previous Dead Island games, survivors were completely immune to the infection that turns one into a zombie, this is not entirely the case in Dead Island 2. Reportedly, while the infected survivors are mostly immune, some effects will manifest, possibly giving them additional abilities.
This is where the RPG elements might expand in the game, allowing players the option to unlock supernatural abilities derived from their infections. Admittedly, survivors having to deal with infection is also a good narrative threat, and one that is sure to play a part in the story.
4) Combat is tactical
Unlike its predecessors, Dead Island 2 takes a much more tactical approach to combat. It’s not as simple as a hack and slash game, as it will require players to think while using their tools in new and original ways if they want to look cool while taking down the shambling hordes of the walking dead.
Targeting specific parts of a zombie will lead to expected consequences. For example, slashing off a leg will make most enemies flop down to the ground. Additionally, this will open them up to a finisher known as Skull Stomp, which does exactly what the name suggests.
The environmental sandbox can also be a useful tool, as players will be able to use exposed wires, explosive barrels, and even combine elements like electricity and water puddles to take out large numbers of the undead. Zombies themselves will sometimes carry accessories like grenades that can be used to hilarious effect.
5) The open world
Much like the previous entries, Dead Island 2 is also an open-world game, and takes place in L.A., California. The map is reportedly divided into various districts that encompass many iconic locations in the city, including Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier, Beverly Hills, and Bel Air.
Each district has its own distinct look and feel, with some being large and expansive and others more compact and structured. Districts will be unlocked as players progress through the story, with each having their fair share of side quests, enemies, and additional activities.
The zombie population of the districts will also vary, with each location having its own style. To provide a feel for how the zombies were once regular people, the game will design them in a way that reflects life as it was in the location they once inhabited as humans. For example, if players head to a beach area, they’ll be met with scantily-clad swimear-sporting undead, which is a sight to behold.
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