Dead Island 2 – Slaying Zombies in the City of Angels

Los Angeles is known for its sunny beaches, iconic landmarks, and glamorous Hollywood allure. But in Dead Island 2, the City of Angels has taken a horrifying turn for the worse. A zombie outbreak has left LA in ruins, with undead horrors lurking around every blood-soaked corner. Players will need to fight tooth and nail to survive this gory paradise turned hell on Earth.

A Gory Action RPG Paradise

Dead Island 2 is an action role-playing game developed by Dambuster Studios and published by Deep Silver. As the long-awaited sequel to 2011’s Dead Island, it aims to provide an equally visceral and frantic survival horror experience. Players step into the shoes of an immune survivor struggling to stay alive in zombie-infested Los Angeles. It features a vast open world with freedom of movement, visceral melee combat focused on dismembering the undead, multiplayer co-op, vehicle-based combat, and much more.

The genre blend of horror, action, and RPG makes for tense and strategic gameplay. Players will engage in heart-pounding melee skirmishes with zombies. But they must also manage resources, craft weapons, complete quests for survivors, and make careful skill upgrades. The scaler difficulty and customizable protagonist allow players to carve out their own thrilling (or chilling) experience.

With its sun-drenched beaches and glittering skyline turned blood red, Dead Island 2 brings the visceral appeal of its predecessor to an all-new setting. The fallen Los Angeles paradise becomes a playground for dismembering zombies with calculated brutality. Players fight with all their might to ensure their survivor becomes more than just another lifeless body on the beach.

Dead Island 2 thrusts players into the midst of the zombie apocalypse several months after the events of the first game. The setting is Los Angeles, California, but not the L.A. that most are familiar with. This is a chaotic, collapsed Los Angeles where undead horrors walk the streets and the picturesque paradise has become a literal hell on Earth.

Once-popular beaches and attractions are drenched in blood under the permanent red skies. The iconic Hollywood sign sits collapsed, reading “Hell A” instead. The few human survivors remaining are either turned to mindless infected monsters or struggling to stay alive themselves behind barricaded safe zones. Players will traverse diverse environments across the city and surrounding area, from blood-soaked beaches to undead-infested neighborhoods to a bone-chilling zoo.

The post-apocalyptic Los Angeles setting creates an immersive backdrop filled with detail. Cars lay abandonded and ransacked on highways. Corpses are strewn everywhere, making each area feel like a mass graveyard. The city reflects the savage brutality players must adopt themselves to have any hope for survival in this nightmarish landscape.

Customizable Protagonist

Players take on the role of a fully customizable protagonist who is mysteriously immune to the zombie infection. Character creation allows players to select their character’s gender, appearance, attributes like strength and agility, and starting weapon. This effectively lets players carve out their own personal survivor to control.

With civilization in ruins, the protagonist’s one goal is to survive by any means amidst the chaos and horror. But as they encounter other survivors who need help establishing safe zones and reclaiming overrun areas, the protagonist may need to risk their life fighting back the undead legions to do more good. The decisions players make will determine what fate befalls Los Angeles and their survivor at the end.

Undead Horrors

The core conflict lies in humanity’s struggle against the undead masses. Players will battle traditional slow zombies, but these foes come in horrifyingly varied shapes and sizes. Some zombies burst into flames when attacking. Other undead juggernauts bulked up from extreme mutations relentlessly charge players. More agile infected test players’ reaction times in hectic battles. Players will even confront the monstrous results of evil human experimentation gone wrong.

To overcome these threats, players must take full advantage of their survivor’s immunity by slaughtering enemies with calculated ruthlessness. However, mindlessly attacking will quickly result in death. Dead Island 2 rewards strategy, requiring players to exploit enemy weaknesses and consider every weapon swing. With hordes of undead always encroaching, one false move could spell disaster.

Factions & Crafting

Survivor factions established safe zones across Los Angeles provide momentary relief from the horror as well as opportunities to gear up. Players can take on quests, trade items, and craft new weapons and gear. Crafting plays a major role, allowing players to create customized weapons like electrified blades or flaming bats along with ammo types, traps, and more.

Crafting the most powerful gear possible is key to dominating the disjointed battle zones Los Angeles has become. Players must also build trust and goodwill with factions by completing important survivor missions. However, allying fully with any single group leads down a narrative path impacting the endgame. Who players support and what weapons they create shape their approach to survive and fight back the undead nightmare one bloody battle at a time.


Visceral Melee Combat

The melee-focused combat system lies at the gory core of the Dead Island 2 gameplay experience. Players will get up close and personal with the zombie threats, relying on visceral melee weapons decimate enemies with calculated brutality. The thoughtful combat design means mindlessly flailing about will only result in the player’s demise. Instead, combat is about strategic dismemberment.

Players target specific limbs to slow enemies down or detach appendages entirely with well-placed strikes. Destroying arms cripples zombies’ attacking abilities. Chopping off legs limits undead movement to excruciating crawling. Strong blows to torsos and heads help rapidly dismantle foes. Combat rewards analyzing enemy movement patterns, waiting for openings, exploiting weaknesses anatomical and otherwise, managing player stamina, and balancing offense with quick evasive maneuvers.

While melee reigns supreme, players also gain access to ranged weapons like guns and bows that open up combat options. Ranged weapons can allow players to thin enemy ranks at a distance before moving in close for the kill. Players must still stock up on ammunition, however, requiring thoughtful use. Overall, combat gameplay has incredible depth with plenty of options for tackling undead threats.

Diverse Weapons

To combat the diverse monstrous enemies, players will wield an equally diverse arsenal of weaponry. Blunt instruments like fiery baseball bats, spiked mallets, and electrified pipes crush zombie skulls. Lightning-fast blades such as machetes, axes, and katanas slice through rotten flesh with ease. More everyday tools like hammers, sickles, and wrenches can bash in zombie heads when used skillfully. Guns like pistols, shotguns, and rifles offer powerful ranged attacks. Even mundane objects scavenged from the environment can be used to bash in brains.

Specific weapons work better against certain enemies as well. For example, longer blades keep the player at a safer distance from volatile zombies that explode on death. Adding poison effects or electricity to certain weapons also gives players status effect advantages. Having options and tailoring the equipped weapon loadout to each situation and mission objective proves crucial.

Progression Systems

Killing enemies and completing quests rewards players with experience points to level up their survivor. Additional skill points unlock abilities in three different skill trees focusing on combat, survival, and parkour movement. Abilities like increased damage, stash size, crafting efficiency, and more let players carve out a custom playstyle.

The progression system incentivizes taking on side quests and optional challenges throughout Los Angeles. Players grow stronger over time by perfecting their preferred playstyle. Character builds ultimately determine how players decide to survive Dead Island 2’s challenges and what fate befalls Los Angeles by the credits roll.

Unique Features

Beyond the core gameplay, Dead Island 2 incorporates some unique features that provide additional depth and excitement. These mechanics help the game stand out in the crowded zombie genre through added dimensions of strategy, customization, and multiplayer thrills.

Vehicular Combat

Players will take the fight to the zombies not just on foot, but also behind the wheel. Dead Island 2 incorporates vehicular combat for the first time in the series. The open world is filled with abandonded cars, trucks, vans and more that survivors can hotwire for transportation. Driving from objective to objective proves safer than traveling by foot. However, the undead threat still follows players onto the road.

Zombies swarm around moving vehicles, attacking en masse to try and make players crash. Players can run over enemies or smash them aside using their rides. But vehicle combat also allows fighting back more actively. Many cars allow players to lean out and swing melee weapons or use firearms, mowing down zombies while on the move.

Vehicles become invaluable multipurpose tools rather than just being travel methods. Players can plow through crowds of enemies to escape volatile situations quicker. Or they can take the fight to the zombies, dismembering limbs from speeding vehicles to get around roadblocks and hordes faster.

In-Depth Crafting

Crafting plays a central role in ongoing survival efforts. Players scavenge items from around the world, harvest resources from fallen enemies, and collect schematics. Bringing these crafting components to workbenches then allows creating customized weapons, ammunition types, gear, and more.

For example, attaching battery chargers or microwave emitters to melee weapons adds shocking electrified effects. Duct taping firework rockets onto the ends of bats creates fiery exploding melee attacks. Poison remains harvested from infected rats can coat blade weapons. Ranged weapons also benefit from crafted ammo types like incendiary shotgun shells.

The diverse crafting options let players fine-tune gear to match their playstyle. Fighting volatile zombies? Then craft insulated protection to avoid explosions while dismembering them. Want to set up safe zone perimeter traps? Proximity mines and spiked barricades are easy to construct. Customization extends to aesthetic looks as well with paint jobs and decorated patterns for weapons and vehicles reflecting player personality.

Cooperative Multiplayer

While players fight to survive the horrors alone by default, Dead Island 2 also incorporates 4 player co-op. Teaming up with friends combines strengths, allowing players to coordinate strategies in facing challenges. Groups can gather more crafting resources by searching areas efficiently as a team. Players might also specialize into different roles based on their individual builds. For example, a tank survivor with high health can draw enemy aggression so ranged weapon specialists pick off zombies safely from a distance.

Playing co-op amplifies the tension exponentially as zombies scale to challenge larger groups. Seeing allies collapse in bloody heaps makes every skirmish more frightening. At the same time, coordinating perfectly timed attacks with friends increases the gory appeal. Co-op allows players to show off creative combat strategies using combo weapons and teamwork. Overall, multiplayer adds immensely to the gameplay experience.

Visuals and Audio

Dead Island 2 leverages current generation hardware to deliver a visually stunning and atmospheric world filled with horrror. The graphic style, lighting, attention to detail, and sound design are crafted to fully immerse players into the nightmarish zombified Los Angeles setting.

Haunting Graphical Fidelity

Developed for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, Dead Island 2 takes full advantage of powerful modern hardware for graphics. The result is a level of visual fidelity simply impossible in the original 2011 Dead Island game. Texture detail and shadow rendering create photorealistic environments were it not for the blood, gore, and undead enemies everywhere.

The advanced graphics truly bring the chaotic post-apocalyptic vision of Los Angeles to life in detail matching real world locations and landmarks. Hollywood’s deserted Walk of Fame crumbles as famous names become obscured by debris and bloodstains. The iconic Theme Building at LAX airport remains partially standing, but mutiliated corpses instead greet arrivals. Even zoo animals like giraffes, lions, and seals have become zombified horrors that visually disturb given their uncanny resemblance to real animals.

Characters also showcase plenty of graphical detail from clothing physics to horrific wounds and piled up zombie bodies. Advanced dismemberment technology means zombies literally fall apart before player’s eyes as limbs and organs splatter across surfaces. The city streets tell visual stories themselves of how civilians met their demise. Skeletal remains clutching suitcases at bus stops show escape attempts. Crashed vehicles on highways relay panicked flights. Detailed gore provides constant ambient visual reminders of humanity’s collapse.

Nightmare Atmosphere

The graphical fidelity helps establish a true atmosphere of horror permeating the experience. Colors take on subdued darker hues even in daylight creating a perpetual dreary overcast. Volumetric smoke and light shafts add eerie ambiance to ruined locations. Dynamic weather like thunderstorms flash menacing lightning across decrepit buildings. Vivid sunsets bath environments in blood red keeping with the hellish motif.

The haunted environments are further enhanced by destructible objects, dynamic liquid effects, and advanced physics systems brining zombie battles to life. Wood splinters go flying as weapons connect with doors and barricades during sieges. Blood spray coats walls and floors after particularly gory kills. Ragdol body physics show crippled zombies pathetically attempting to drag themselves along as they leaves trails of blood and torn entrails behind them. The advanced graphics lend gruesome weight to the survival experience.

Auditory Immersion

Sound design receives equal attention to fully immerse players into Dead Island 2’s audio landscapes. Creepy ambient tracks communicated through positional 3D audio renders environments hauntingly lifelike. Players hear the crunch of glass under their feet exploring abandoned shops or waves crashing along beaches framed by screams in the distance. Weather effects like wind, rain, and thunder boom adding to the tension when traversing exterior environments.

Zombies announce their presence through horrifying sounds well before players seem them. Groans, screams, growls, and unnatural roars echo everywhere heightening the fear factor. Sounds grow more intense upon engaging the undead in visceral up-close combat. Squishing and crunching sounds match blows landing and tearing rotted flesh. Cries turn to pathetic gurgles as players decapitate enemies. Guns blast loudly. Ultimate auditory chaos results when players use explosives or electricity to eradicate masses of zombies at once with deafening results matching the visual brutality.

The ambient soundtrack dynamically swells and subsides to punctuate the alternating tense periods of calm exploration followed by frantic survival against overwhelming odds during standoffs and boss encounters. Whether it’s the nerve-wracking silence or cacophonous battles, Dead Island 2’s impressive sound design makes Los Angeles feel disturbingly real.

Critical Reception

As an unreleased game at the time of writing, Dead Island 2 does not yet have established critical reception. However, impressions from various game events and hands-on previews provide early positive indications. Critics seem excited for the sequel’s enhanced visuals, expanded crafting systems, new setting, and faster moment-to-moment gameplay. Some concerns remain around the story narrative and technical performance.

Overwhelmingly Positive First Impressions

Early critic preview impressions praise Dead Island 2’s FPP melee combat for having more meaningful weight and strategic dismemberment compared to the original. The vast weapon customization and resulting combat experimentation receive positive marks. Critics find joy in electrocuting, burning, poisoning, and otherwise augmenting weapons for tactically dismantling various zombie types.

The new setting of Los Angeles impresses with critics appreciating the eerie history visible exploring real-world famous locales now warped and gory post-apocalypse. Side activities like emergency rescue missions across the expansive open world earn compliments. Reviewers enjoy surveying the detailed urban sprawl from cars and vantage points before paragliding down to obliterate hoards of zombies below with fiery katana slices.

Multiplayer co-op earns high praise for adding exponentially more mayhem when coordinating zombie dismemberment strategies with three friends. Critics find the campaign continually surprises, keeping players on high alert warily checking every corner the deeper they traverse into the nightmarish sprawl. Overall, the hands-on reception leaves critics excited and eager to survive the full horrors awaiting in the final game later this year.

Story and Technical Concerns

Preview sessions left some uncertainties around Dead Island 2’s narrative depth and technical performance, however. Many critics note only having exposure to a small segment of gameplay with story elements intentionally left vague. The custom protagonist and alt-history setting likely intends for deeper revelations as players progress. But current unknowns around character motivations, faction lore, eventual goals, and the overall storyline scope leave questions.

Additionally, some previews build hype around larger than life visual set pieces involving dense crowds of zombies, destructible environments, andPHYSX enhanced physics effects. Reviewers rightfully wonder if maintaining high performance during such demanding and chaotic scenes proves possible across all platforms. Optimizing enormous zombie counts taxing hardware could result in undesirable compromises to maintain playable framerates.

Cautiously Optimistic Outlook

The early preview impressions for Dead Island 2 skew positive overall based on several refined gameplay systems, rewarding progression, and magnificent visual updates showing strong improvement over the original. Some uncertainties linger around narrative and technical elements. However, if the developers stick the landing on those remaining fronts, many critics agree the sequel could become a game of the year contenter for action and horror fans. Until final code impressions, critics remain cautiously optimistic that this sun-soaked zombie paradise delivers stays gory yet fun in the end.

Dead Island 2 shapes up to be the blood-soaked open world action RPG fans have hungered for since the original game over a decade ago. Dambuster Studios seems keen to directly address criticisms of the first game while evolving the crafting, combat, progression, and setting into a grander zombie-infested stage. The fallen Los Angeles paradise becomes the perfect playground for strategic dismemberment and custom carnage against hordes of diverse zombies.

Key Features Recap

Core features propelling the sequel include the calculated melee combat focused on targeted dismemberment of enemy limbs and heads. The visceral up-close battles contrast with periods of planning, preparation, and ranged assaults. Players manage stamina in the moment while choosing ideal weapons suited to the configurable playable survivor build whether relying on raw power or precise blades.

The sprawling open world recreates Los Angeles with shocking detail. Players traverse highly dynamic urban environments filled with secrets gear caches that reward exploration. Side activities like survivor rescue missions alongside main story quests provide players agency in how they want to spend time helping human allies or advancing personal goals.

RPG progression unlocks new combat skills and crafting recipes by accumulating experience from zombie kills. Crafting weaponized vehicles for road trips or electrically charged katanas for silent stalking demonstrates the incredible gear customization possible. Teaming up with up to three friends amplifies the insane action exponentially through tactical multiplayer co-op play too.

Prepare to Fight or Die

Dead Island 2 shows fantastic potential to finally fulfill what the original promising yet flawed game could never achieve on aging hardware. Every mechanical system feeds back into the singular goal of strategically obliterating the undead hordes by any means necessary, creating thrilling risk-versus-reward game loops. The greater gameplay variety combined with enhanced visuals and expanded progression set an impressive stage.

If the story delivers intriguing mystery fitting to the unique zombie apocalypse backdrop and technical performance meets expectations, Dead Island 2 should satisfy action horror fans craving violent catharsis against overwhelming odds. The zombie genre continues to thrive thanks to compelling virtual power fantasies. Dead Island 2 looks ready to provide players exciting opportunities to tap into primal survival instincts they never knew lay beneath the surface as they paint the iconic Californian landscape red with rivers of zombie blood.

Will you fight with calculated purpose to outlast doomsday as one of the precious few remaining immune survivors? Or will you become just another lifeless body and shredded corpse lining the beaches of Los Angeles? The choice on how players write their survivor’s story remains in their hands. But one thing is certain: in Dead Island 2, everyone eventually dies.

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