Dead Island 2 Review – In The City Of Hell-A

Like its namesake, it took the 3 different devs jumping over obstacles to get to the end, with tons of people have actually written off Dead Island 2 to be an obscured vapourware, only to land on people’s hands and become one of the few enjoyable open-world games in the market this year.

As one rapper that may or may not have a doctorate in music once said, “ I love it here in LA”, And I do agree with that, it’s nice in fictional LA.

Presentation  

First off, can I just say that I have enjoyed the tone shift from the first few Dead Island (there were 2 canons and 1 non-canon game before the “2nd” one) that gives the game a sense of having fun under the circumstances, that is very much akin to the likes of Capcom’s Dead Rising 1 and 2.

It feels both refreshing to be playing a game that enjoys having fun with its lore and world-building and kinda feels like Dambuster Studios are tapping into their Timesplitters linkage from way back when, where having gameplay that suits the story well isn’t a new thing but it’s nice to be done in this sort of streamline way.

And for performance, a game that has been cooking for nearly a decade now actually plays pretty well on both current and past gen of consoles, alongside the PC side. The dev team has made all versions of the game run as best as it could, so if what you are seeing in this review is the PS4 version, it runs without any hitches or drastic pop-ins while maintaining its 30fps frame rate without any issues. 

The audio side has an interesting mix of song choices during certain boss fights and segments, coupled with the sounds of the zombies being in the mix makes their sound-mixing quite up there with the sound design of more interesting affairs like Eidos Montreal’s Guardians game. Its normal fight theme is okay but when the musical numbers hit, that’s where the game embraces its fun side.

Gameplay

As for the gameplay, it’s your action zombies affair where your tools are picked up during the playtime and when completing certain side-quests, from your weird axes and baseball bats to the late-game assault rifles and shotguns.

And like their predecessors, the melee weapons don’t feel that much power when you pick it up for the first time and might even feel floaty at points as well, but once you learn its weird quirks on how it lands them hits, then you will be moving down zeds faster than before.

All of the weapons can be upgraded to get special stats like corrosive, electric, or even fire damage that will affect the zombies (and their special system where you can also chop or even melt certain parts of the zombos bodies).

If that’s not enough, you get a new power-up that makes take a form that’s like a zombie, with their in-universe name called “Numen”, where you get to shred your enemies with their own attack and even pick from three different special types of attack to use for your own advantage.

Their own explanation during the main game feels vague but the attack range makes it good for if you want a quick hit of health and all.

Content

What you’re getting from this pretty fun zombie slayer game is a 15 – 20 hour game of slicing and dicing the living dead. And if that isn’t your thing that is fine. The main storyline is a bit cliche as you would expect but it is fun to be traversing along and helping your fellow humans survive this apocalypse by doing stuff that they might need, like a rough copy of their rock album, or kicking zombies off a pier for the content.

Its side quests are fun to play (except Amanda’s but that’s with a purpose) as they flesh out the characters that you meet and even give out some nice environmental storytelling around the LA area, from the weird Beverly Hills stuff to Venice Beach jocks trying to stay alive. All the while leveling up your character of choice.

Personal Enjoyment

It’s times like that that make me love picking up a video game that impresses me on how well-tuned it is to be as well as engaging to play through it all, and after knowing its history on how long it took to get here, well I’m more inclined to make this one of my personal Game of The Year contender now. 

Nothing brings sheer delight than mowing down zombies without the care or emotional baggage of its contemporaries from the past few years, and they are releasing a DLC soon, I wouldn’t mind picking it up for more chaos.

Verdict

For all its gore and purpose, Dead Island 2 nails what makes video games fun when it’s just down to its barest essentials. An open-world game that somehow has some lasting immersive sim quirks that makes it fully enjoyable to play. 

Just dive in and enjoy your stay.

Played on PS4, Review copy purchased by the reviewer.

9

Dead Island 2

Dead Island 2 nails what makes video games fun when it’s just down to its barest essentials. An open-world game that somehow has some lasting immersive sim quirks that makes it fully enjoyable to play.

  • Presentation 9.5
  • Gameplay 8.5
  • Content 8.5
  • Personal Enjoyment 9.5

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