Spend six hours on Dead Island 2 It’s like opening a time capsule.. It’s the year 2011, and a yet-unknown Techland has launched its particular open-world perspective onto the market: a paradise island full of zombies where the burden of exploration has fallen on adapting to the objects around you. Dambuster Studios advances the formula by offering a few more options when it comes to engaging, but in practice there are still few surprises.

not a bad thing per se. Those who love the formula and are just looking to snag zombies left and right will find themselves in their element.. The playable loop works on its own. The problem is that what we play doesn’t go further. As a sequel, given the years that have passed, we have not found enough news to go further with the proposal. It is far from being able to qualify it as evolution. We count our impressions in depth with a version close to the final version.

The City of Stars… and Zombies

Part of the glamor and identity of this apocalyptic version of Los Angeles still remains. Hell-A, as it’s called in the Dead Island 2 universe, unfolds for the player in a different way than we might have first thought. Instead of supporting the presentation of a single open world with no transitions, the team divides the playable areas into small stages that revolve around a specific theme.

We were able to see firsthand how this decision materializes. The first free section takes us through several streets through the iconic mansions of the city’s photography. When opening the map we see that the scale is small, but the studio camouflages it by providing interesting content in the interiors. There is life beyond the pursuit of resources and plans that expand our arsenal.

in a way organic side quests appear that delve deeper into world building. For example, walking down the street, we hear screams coming from a nearby phone. He was the owner of a mansion, a former Hollywood star in the fiction of Dead Island 2 who asks us for help to clean his living room of the undead. The task is another day at the office for this type of game; Surrealism is on the side of the owner, who, sniper rifle in hand, does not hesitate to give us a hand.

At another point in the session, we had to jump from this neighborhood to another area, where the protagonist was a large hotel. We selected it on the map and after a short loading time we were right on the outskirts. The choice of this type of structure facilitates breaking with transitional moments. We return to that hotel complex: as soon as we set foot in the neighborhood we will be practically in front of it. The feeling of being in a unified believable world evaporates seeking to take the player directly to content that is useful. We want to see how you feel when we progress beyond those first few bars.

in combat

Combat follows without major changes in terms of possibilities. The melee takes the lead in the well-known succession of strikes and defensive movements. The team advances with the new dismemberment system, very detailed visually and which influences the abilities of enemies. But until then.

To provide depth, the study added the already known card system. This mechanic allows you to add skills and passive bonuses that change your behavior in combat. They make you have a wider range of options than in a basic way. You’ll find them by leveling up or exploring the world: that’s why you have to be aware of everything around you.

During the fragment we played, the cards went hand in hand with the character we had chosen at the beginning of the game. Dead Island 2 incorporates a more diverse roster of heroes than has been known in the past. Each one marks his personality from the dialogues and in the combat. Do you like to fight with sharp blades? Do you prefer to let your fists do the talking? It’s up to you to choose the type of perk package that best aligns with your play style.

During the scenarios we were able to know the relevance of the effects in the scenario. One moment in particular alerted us to the possibilities. We were on star street next to a broken power pole. Our mace had broken, we had no defense against a group of zombies approaching our position. We grab a nearby can of water and squirt the earth from the electrical point to the other end of the wall. We create an improvised trap by reading the scenario and taking advantage of its resources. Despite the conservative formula, these kinds of moments are what we want to set the tone for the rest of the game.

from the bench

Weapon crafting takes on the usual role. As we unlock blueprints, we can create creative variants of basic weaponry. During this fragment of the game, we only get a few electric knives and a slightly fancier mace. The combinations are meant to be elaborate.

It gave us the feeling that weapon wear is very pronounced. Even manufactured ones lose effectiveness faster than we thought. You are constantly changing tools. On the work table we also find some objects that serve to control the behavior of the zombies, like a tallow that attracts them to our beloved traps.

Zombies convincingly perform on stage. They are well done: they convey the classic image of clumsy enemies, but in a group they increase their effectiveness. We’ve seen some issues detecting our presence, although the current build has a list of known bugs that the studio will fix for the final release.

road to launch

Despite the continuity in most of the mechanics, we want to continue to deepen the game. For example, one of the doubts we have is how they are going to balance firearms. We also want to see more enemy archetypes that shake up the familiar tree a bit. Everything indicates that fans of this type of proposal will be satisfied. The formula, as we said, works by itself. Although, we expected more big newschanges that allow us to perceive that we are facing an evolution.

Dead Island 2 is coming April 21st for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC (Epic Games Store).