EXPECTATIONS were high when we turned on Dead Island 2 and watched the opening chaotic cutscene.
It was filled with personality as the various characters scrambled for the last flight leaving LA, but our excitement was short lived.
Your main cast of characters are about as exciting as the zombies that surround them, even with a returning character from the previous game.
There is no drama or conflict amongst the crew which leads to a bland, monotone plot.
There are six playable characters who each have their own personalities and dialogue.
However, all of the NPCs react the same no matter who your character is, making conversations jarring.
Sometimes this makes conversations tonally strange, and other times the NPCs just completely ignore you.
While each character has heaps of personality, the world acts as if they don’t exist which hampers the story-telling.
The first half of the story is clichéd but decent. As someone who’s immune to the virus, you are tasked with setting up an evacuation zone.
However, the second half goes completely off the rails, folding into a completely nonsensical mess.
On the other hand the gameplay is the complete opposite.
The first half is terrible, only allowing you to do the same melee attack over and over.
You can pick up different weapons, but they all do the same thing, so you keep doing this until you need to dodge.
There are small perks; you earn back health with a good dodge, and deal more damage with a critical hit, but overall it is very basic.
However, as your arsenal expands you can combine different throwable items, known as curveballs, to create different effects.
Meat bombs can cause zombies in the area to swarm, then a well-placed pipe bomb can take them all out.
Or you can use a water bomb to soak the zombies and send out an electric throwing star to electrocute them.
You are later given access to guns, and while the shooting isn’t anything special, it’s a reprieve from the hours of dull melee.
Ammo is both plentiful and easy to craft, meaning by the time guns are unlocked you’ll be able to make enough to last you until the end of the game.
Guns are by far the best way to deal with enemies, and show off the gore system, and should be available from the start.
There are some positives. The world design and art direction is on point.
It borders on realism while showing LA as the fantasy world that we’ve seen on TV.
Most zombie games put the player in an apocalyptic wasteland, but Dead Island 2 shows a world shortly after the zombie invasion.
With a decade of troubled development under its belt, Dead Island 2 lives up to expectations.
Overall, it’s inoffensive but doesn’t do enough to call it anything other than dull.
Written by Oliver Brandt and Georgina Young on behalf of GLHF.
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