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Dead Island 2 is as mindless as its zombies

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dead island 2 It is a game lost in time. Over the course of a decade, its development has fallen to a trio of different studios, each attempting to make a sequel to the co-op zombie brawler over the course of 2011. meanwhile, dead IslandTechland, the original developer of Dying Light, has moved on to bigger and better things with its Dying Light series. The end result of this harrowing process, delivered by Nottingham’s Dambuster Studios, can sometimes feel like an old friend.

dead island 2The shrill tone and dated systems call up a strange nostalgia for the silly, straightforward, but more first-person action games that dominated the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 eras. It’s a relic that’s rough around the edges, but its linearity feels refreshing, and the gore-heavy combat offers constant, visceral spectacle. Most importantly, this isn’t another checklist death march. If, like me, you’ve taken a taste for brevity in recent years, you’ll be pleased to hear that you can finish the game in a reasonable amount of time.

You play as one of six “Slayers” who are conveniently assembled on the last flight from Los Angeles’s Dumbster’s pulp pasties, a quarantined Hell-A. Alas, the infection spreads onboard, the plane crashes, and in the ensuing chaos, you discover you are immune. A disagreeable movie star invites you to recuperate at his McMansion in Beverly Hills, and you make your way through the City of Angels to (hopefully) become part of the cure.

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In Dead Island 2, a character puts his hand into a zombie's stomach

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Image: Dambuster Studio / Deep Silver

I chose Dani, a rockabilly mosher from Cork, Ireland, whose tasteful quips kept me company throughout the predictable campaign. Each Slayer has innate abilities and statistical differences, but you still follow the same story no matter which one you choose. Dani’s explosive melee attacks sold me though, they pair well dead island 2Most notable feature: its disgustingly convoluted procedural gore system.

The repeated attacks break through skin, muscle, fat, and bone, making the zombie body feel like a meat piñata, with accidental dismemberment. Eyeballs hang out of sockets and jaws drop loose as fearless zombies come towards you, their charred skin giving way to disgusting blood. the sheer physical extravaganza of dead island 2 There’s a compelling reason to play, and it’s one of the most forward-thinking features out there. I just wish there was a better game to wrap it up.

The old-school approach to first-person melee combat feels both sluggish and frustrating here. I constantly felt like I was over speeding my attacks and accounting for sluggish animations, the rigid right-stick camera quickly became the bane of my existence. It hurts when there’s so much joy in painting a zombie’s head and landing a dropkick at the end from the garage door in slo-mo. The spectacle of controls feels like a step back compared to the chaos dead IslandAn agile and assertive attack system, with which you can get into a deadly flow and defend yourself adequately.

The protagonist reloads an Uzi at an outdoor sports store crawling with zombies in Dead Island 2

Image: Dambuster Studio / Deep Silver

Part of the problem is the new skill card system, which replaces dead IslandK skill tree. The top row of slots lets you choose between abilities like dodging or blocking (which seem ridiculous for such basic mechanics), and the rest provide unimportant stat buffs that you can’t really deal with in combat. . As a result, it is difficult to specialize in any meaningful way. As far as co-op is concerned, it is equivalent to a pair of concrete boots.

one of my favorite things about dead Island There was the ability to specialize in a specific area, such as firearms or edged weapons. This created memorable moments where you could leverage the skills you developed to fill in the gaps in your teammates’ respective skill sets. dead island 2The weak skill system eats away at the character-building appeal that the first game so expertly established. When the credits rolled, I felt aimless, and unsure how to improve my character beyond playing “zombie slots” with its randomized loot system.

Luckily, there are some fun side quests in the districts of this digital Los Angeles to counter the more formulaic main missions, which have you racing between cutscenes. One had me defeating zombified World’s Strongest Man competitors in Venice Beach, while another sent me to the saltiest dives off the Santa Monica Pier in pursuit of a delusional food critic. Unfortunately, many of the side quests end with the focal NPC unpleasantly turning into a zombie, as there aren’t many actions beyond “kill” here.

But, if you can survive the regular interruptions from its huge, brave beasts, you’ll find that dead island 2 does a lot with its small, linear spaces. I was often taken aback by telling the story of the whole environment. In TV Station, a ‘Breaking News’ ticker serves as an SOS, and in Movie Studio, you fight through themed lots with costumed zombies and interactive traps. Hell-A’s playful furnishings add to the feel of this sturdy venue. Protein bars, bottles of light beer, and scrawled slogans nodding to American exceptionalism hang out in an abandoned garage in Beverly Hills. The dilapidated Hype House features a neon streaming setup and an apology script that reads “CRY HERE FOR SYMPATHY”.

Dead Island 2 has an explosion on the street in Hell-A right in front of the protagonist

Image: Dambuster Studio / Deep Silver

The game’s writing is full of cynical jabs at this outspoken future for humanity, but it would be hard to call it good satire, as it doesn’t really imagine anything else. Can create a quick editing style, cutscene glitches and muted facial animations dead island 2The worst lines come out, leading to some wooden reading and back-and-forth dialogue that often feels like it’s stepping over itself. The game’s alternate audio journals almost always contain some obnoxious rebuttal to the apocalypse, which gets old quickly, as do the heavy-handed internet culture references, which arrive at a mile a minute. “They love buttons when their parents aren’t home,” says one explorer, “when you needlessly kill zombies to make a viral video.”

there is a lot of mockery and irony in it dead island 2 That, without any anticipatory hope or sincerity, can ultimately make the experience of playing it feel like a sort of letdown, similar to what you feel after eating junk food. During one of my sessions towards the end of the game, my partner turned to me and said I felt like I was on autopilot. Instead of engaging meaningfully with its systems, I was wading through mindless hordes in search of more complexity, or a satisfying narrative climax that never came across. dead island 2The nostalgic charm of the U.S. can transport you back to a simpler time, but there’s often a reason why you don’t see old friends anymore.

dead island 2 Will be released on April 21 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X. The game was reviewed on PS5 using a pre-release download code provided by Deep Silver. Vox Media is an affiliated partnership. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find Additional information about Play Gamez’s ethics policy here,

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