Dead Island 2: crash a zombie wedding and axe the guests

By Matt Martin, Tuesday, 17 June 2014 15:44 GMT

A new developer, human factions, open-world multiplayer and a mo-capped cat. Here’s 8 reasons why Yager’s Dead Island 2 could be your next go-to gore-fest.

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Dead Island 2’s reveal trailer was one of the highlights of Sony’s E3 conference. Funny, lively, crude and with a perfect soundtrack, it set the scene for a return to a surprisingly successful zombie shooter. Remind yourself of it here:

But then we remembered the trailer for the first Dead Island, one that provoked emotional responses and a little controversy. It was slick, violent and well-directed, but it was no representation of the finished game.

So is this another case of “nice trailer, shame about the game”? We sat down with 30 minutes of Dead Island 2 at E3 last week out of morbid curiosity and came away buzzed at the prospect of another hot game with plenty of twists on the zombie genre. Here are eight reasons why we’re keeping the faith for Dead Island 2.

It’s surreally violent in all the right places

Picture the scene. You turn up at a wedding reception and the room is littered with corpses. You walk up to the turntable and drop the needle on disco classic Love Is In The Air. The sound attracts the zombies and the corpses in the room. As John Paul Young sings “You’re something that I must believe in, and you’re there when I reach out for you”, you bury an axe in the face of an undead wedding guest. As the music plays the body parts fly. It’s a beautiful thing and it makes your special day even more memorable.

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It’s made by Yager, not Techland

This is an important thing. We like Techland, don’t get us wrong. Its games are a bit ropey around the edges but they’re full of ideas and madness. But Yager is the team that brought us Spec Ops: The Line, one of the greatest true war games ever made. With violence, commentary on the futility of war, an excellent use of soundtrack and beautiful graphical effects, it’s one of the most underrated games of the last generation of consoles. You should buy it, it’s probably $10 in a bargain bin somewhere. Yager’s take on Dead Island looks to be all those things and more.

It’s a first-person Dead Rising

Crafting weapons is central to Dead Island 2, much like it makes Dead Rising games a lot more fun. In fact, the weapons you make are almost identical in their stupidity. As well as the usual array of handheld weapons such as the machete, sledgehammer and axe, you can tweak things like the crossbow to add electric shock and exploding bolts. Or create motorised weapons for more damage but be aware they make noise, which attracts zombies, and they also require fuel, which is in short supply. More importantly, you don’t need to find a stupid workbench to improve your weapons as all crafting can be done on the fly. Oh, and what’s better than an axe? Two axes. Dead Island 2 has dual-wielding.

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You’re not just fighting zombies

Dead Island 2 features human factions who you’ll interact with (fight) and fight with (also, fight). You’ll need different skills and techniques to combat psychopathic humans, looters, prisoners and ex-Marines who’ve been abandoned by the military – but you can play them off against the undead. As humans attack the player in a relatively safe zone, you’re able to unlock the gates to the world outside, inviting in a horde of hungry zombies who attack the other humans. Of course actions like that could go either way, so you’ll need to keep on your toes. But it sounds like it’s worth embracing Dead Island 2’s chaotic opportunities.

Now you can smash brains with your pals

As Dead Island 2 is going open-world (isn’t every game?) it is also going multiplayer with players able to drop in and out, to help and/or hinder others (isn’t every game?). Play through the game like Left 4 Dead in co-op or just be a grumpy old single-player lone wolf, it’s up to you.

It’s got a motion-captured cat

Some games have fish AI or realistic dog fur. Dead Island 2 has a motion-captured cat. He’s called Rick Furry. I’m not sure if that breaks any animals-in-the-workplace laws, but I like to imagine a little tabby wearing spandex with pingpong balls all over it. Imagine the confusion on it’s stupid little moggy face.

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There are no screenshots from Dead Island 2 at the moment – the version we saw running was based on 2014 code using Unreal Engine 4. It looked pretty decent. In the meantime, here’s the stuff you get when you pre-order.

There’s more control over how you dismember

There are different character classes in Dead Island 2 with different skillsets, specialised with different weapons and driving signature vehicles. Yager wants you to have more fun and more control over how you go about slaughtering the undead. Shoot their legs off to slow them down before stomping out their brains or uppercut an enemy with a sledgehammer, launching it the path of a co-op buddy’s shotgun blast. The choice is yours, sicko.

It’s a comment on the shallow world of California

I know what you’re thinking. California isn’t an island. Except it is when it’s been quarantined off because of an overwhelming zombie infection. The reveal trailer ends with a couple of Californian dudebros eyeing up and stealing the sneakers from an undead corpse. Gotta get those fresh kicks, right? This is a bright and beautiful undead playground – do you want to work a 9-to-5 in an office or would you rather be out in the sun, lopping heads off? Just because it’s a zombie apocalypse doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world.

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