The debut of Dead Island led us to believe that it would tell a very dramatic and serious story about the horrors of the zombie apocalypse. That’s not quite the game we ended up with, so it’s refreshing to know that Deep Silver learned from their mistakes and unleashed one of the best trailers at E3 with the premier of Dead Island 2.
The next entry to the series sees a zombified California. It’s several months after the original outbreak, which has spread globally. Not all areas of the world are infected yet, but California wasn’t so lucky. The government has quarantined the state, and it’s now become a giant playground for humans who are immune to the infection.
Deep Silver brought an early prototype of Dead Island 2 to E3 that was created to show off the fighting mechanics more than anything else. The first thing I noticed was that the stamina meter was gone, freeing you up to enjoy combat more than having to play a cat-and-mouse game while you wait to recharge. The biggest change is that you can dual wield now. So imagine holding a shotgun in one hand, and a machete in the other.
Motorized weapons are now a key weapon type. While they will take out enemies faster, they’re loud and attract more attention. Plus you need to gather fuel in order to use the weapons in the first place. One motorized weapon I saw was a nail gun that doubled as a buzz saw.
Creating unique weapons like this will require you to craft them together yourself. This time however you can craft weapons on the fly as you’re no longer tied to a work bench.
With this being on Unreal 4 and current-gen only, it now means there will be more zombies than ever. A "zombie playground," as we were told. There’s more types of infected than ever before, and we were promised that zombies will never look the same from one another.
Zombies aren’t the only threat this time however, as you’ll encounter other humans trying to survive themselves. There are different human factions in California, some friendly and some that will attack you. It makes for an interesting dynamic when you’re seeing a three-way battle going down between yourself, hostile humans, and the zombie hoard.
Dead Island 2 is an open-world game again, and this time up to eight players can share the same world. You can compete with others, work together, or just simply co-exist in the same place while doing your own thing. From the sound of it, it seems developer Yager is trying to do the Journey or Destiny thing with seamless multiplayer. You can however play offline too.
Interesting ideas and good improvements over the last games, but we’re going to need to get hands-on with the Dead Island 2 to see just how Deep Silver has improved upon the formula.
Also, giant side note: Deep Silver motion captured a cat for this game. One of the helper NPCs has a cat named Rick, and it’s apparently the first-ever motion-captured cat. "It was a pain in the ass," one developer shouted as this part of the presentation was being explained to us.