by Ingvi Snædal
previewed on PC
No rest for the high level heroes
What must interest co-op players the most is the new balancing system introduced in the second patch for Dead Island. The game allows you to import your character from Dead Island, but what does that mean for players who don’t have the original but still want to play with a friend who does? This new system makes it so that the characters see the zombies as their equals. That is to say, a level 8 player will see a zombie as a level 8 zombie, but a level 34 character will see the same zombie as being level 34. This way, beginners can go hunting with experienced players without constantly dying or forcing their partner to start a new character. This system also ensures that the difficulty level stays consistent, regardless of whether you’re starting the game with a new character or importing an experienced one.
Gameplay-wise, the developers are introducing what they call “Hub Defence Game Mechanic,” which means that at certain times and at certain locations, you will have to stand your ground as the zombies come pouring down on you. Running away will no longer be an option at every occasion.
Another new addition to the game is a boat which you can apparently use to sail around the island in. Accompanying this boat are new types of zombies whose sole purpose is to slow you down so that other zombies can get at you. In addition to the new vehicles and new zombies, you will be introduced to a new character named John Morgan. Disappointed with a life as a cook on the aforementioned military ship, John is happy, giddy even, to put his training and expertise in hand-to-hand combat to use fighting alongside the others in their fight for survival. A weapons proficiency system will also be introduced this time around, earning you experience specific to the weapon you are using as you use it. Players of Ubisoft’s Elder Scrolls series are familiar with those kinds of systems and it will be interesting to see how well Techland manages to emulate their success.
Doomed to succeed
Co-op based zombie shooters have enjoyed enormous success in the past few years and the original Dead Island was hailed as one of the best in the genre. The above-mentioned additions, coupled with the classic addictive Dead Island gameplay, leave no doubt in my mind that this will be one of the most popular co-op multiplayer shooters of 2013.