by Matt Porter
previewed on PC
Light-hearted and brighter
E3 2014 was the place for irreverent trailers, and the trailer for Dead Island 2 was no different. In a stark contrast to the dark and dreary cinematic piece that introduced the first game back in 2011, here we had a guy listening to music jogging down the California seafront. The original developer Techland has moved over to make Dying Light, leaving Yager to take up the reins with publisher Deep Silver overseeing. Now we have got a much more light-hearted and brighter game on our hands, but with all the brutal combat we have come to expect from the previous games in the series.
Two characters were playable at Gamescom this year. Ryan is a Berserker, and as his class suggests he excels in close quarter combat. He’s the guy on your team who you want to be right in the middle of the action, with zombies swarming him while the rest of you pick them off. He’s not just a tank though, as he deals a ton of damage if he is given enough time to swing a massive melee weapon. At one point I found what seemed to be a homemade mace; a giant metal ball on a pole with spikes coming off it. Needless to say, it packed a punch.
The other character is Dani, who zips around combat from enemy to enemy rather than spending any length of time in one place. She attacks quick and deals a lot of damage too, but she won’t take much of a beating before going down. There will be two more characters available when the game eventually comes out next year.
The gore remains
We played a short part of the game in four player co-op (though the final game will feature 1-8 player seamless multiplayer), with one of the developers guiding us through. He showed us how quickly new items can be created by simply picking up components around you. Making a shotgun with a shock mod was as easy as holding down a button. Working together as a team produced the best results, with the Berserkers up front taking aggro, however branching out on your own was a good deal of fun too.
You can really see the impact you have on enemies when you swing weapons at them. When we teamed up as a group to take down a powerful Thug, you could see slashes appearing across its body when Dani got up close with her flaming sickle, and limbs being crushed beneath Ryan’s blunt force weapons. There’s a great amount of detail in the combat - this is not a game for the squeamish among you. It’s a more light-hearted game, but the gore remains, and is even amplified in some places.
One main thing to note is that the game looks fantastic. If you thought the sun soaked resort at the start of the first Dead Island game was good, you will be even more impressed here. Taking place in an open world version of zombie California, you will be treated to all sorts of landmarks such as Venice Beach in Los Angeles and a few recognisable locations in San Francisco. After that original beach resort, things took a darker turn, but in Dead Island 2, it seems like it will be fun in the sun throughout. Which is a good thing, dark and spooky corridors have been done to death in zombie games. In Dead Island 2, we’re told to “Come for the sun, stay for the slaughter”. You will be able to visit the zombified golden state in spring 2015.