Dead Island 2 Preview – Feels a Hell of a Lot Like Dead Island

Dead Island 2 has a lot to live up to. Fans of the original have waited years for this game as news of its development and delays have been circulating for quite some time now. Regardless of all that waiting, it’s here, it’s real, and I played it. Immediately when jumping into this world, the many hours of memories I have with this series came rushing back. Honestly, the best way I can describe Dead Island 2 is that it’s more Dead Island. What could have easily been a reboot of the series instead held to its promises to deliver a proper sequel, which I can respect.

Dead Island 2 is an absolute Zombie killing playground. Ironically, the level I was allowed to play through was a carnival, fitting its over-the-top and horror themes. While I couldn’t dive into the customization and systems too much, I could use a few different weapons to take down hordes.

Similar to Dead Island, a lot rides on melee weaponry. While guns are available, I found more fun in the customizable melee weapons that require you to get close to the enemies to land attacks. Of course, it’s also true that I didn’t find too much ammo, so my moments shooting were brief. Still, none of that mattered because I was playing Dead Island 2 again, and I was having a f**cking blast.

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The hook of this game is its sandbox and RPG systems. While it’s supposed to be grounded in reality, the fantasy elements of attaching elemental properties to hammers and swords allow the entire experience to feel like a…well, a game. This works well with Dead Island 2’s new coat of paint, with each zombie looking unique and terrifying. This is where it stands out most compared to other zombie games.

The environments also contribute to the playground feel, as players can utilize structures as ways to cause damage to enemies. This is also found in the overall layout as you traverse various locals to make your way to the mission marker. There weren’t too many puzzle elements to the stages, but I had to find keys and activate switches to progress.

The stage was capped off with a terrifying clown zombie encounter. This boss would have likely killed me, but I utilized a powerful hammer weapon to stun him and blast him into the ocean, which cut our fight short, but I was happy because I had very little health left. It only added to the freedom I felt playing through the demo and mirrored my time playing the original.

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Dead Island 2 has much to prove as it attempts to live up to the hype and expectations of fans. However, the demo left me feeling optimistic about the entire experience since, simply put, it’s a prettier and gorier Dead Island, and that’s all I could ask for. I look forward to teaming up with friends to survive this insane zombie-filled world.

Dead Island 2 is coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC via the Epic Games Store on April 21, 2023.

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.