written by Eric Nusselder op
You crawl your way out of a plane that just crashed, push through the dented door and see some other survivors there. The guy has a nice bloody head, so you say, “Hey, you’ve got all the blood in your ear!” The man shouts: “What are you saying? I can’t hear you, my ears are covered in blood.”
This early-game joke, stolen directly from Bert and Ernie, sets the tone for Dead Island 2’s next 15 to 20 hours. It’s a game full of this kind of annoyance that will make you sigh more than you can. laugh.
Our main character Jacob, one of several slightly different main characters you can choose from, was written as a cool guy and full of confidence, but ended up being a nerdy guy with a truckload of Dad jokes. When he returns to his base and notices that there are fewer survivors in the room, he asks: “Where is the last of us?After this obvious and not-so-funny reference, don’t get upset and even wish you were playing the zombie game better.
Dead Island 2’s story is paper thin. You are trapped in Los Angeles which has been overrun by zombies. By the way, this is always called Hell-A, a not very clever discovery that loses all its charm due to excessive use. You get bitten, but you survive and don’t actually turn into a zombie. With your newfound immunity, you want to save the world and are looking for a doctor who can make a vaccine out of you.
It’s not all that much and the story is further weakened by pointless side tracks. For example, in a hotel you meet a group of bodybuilders, who are hiding from the undead hordes outside their doors. One of them asks you to check if the two workout buddies are still alive, while the other wants you to find weapons to defend their hideout. And now for the big quiz question: One of these two missions is part of the main story, and the other is an optional side mission. Do you see the difference? Anyway, both of them have nothing to do with the overall story.
Fortunately, Dead Island 2 also needs a short story: after all, it’s all about fighting zombies. There is a lot of fun in it, because beating up a crowd of stupid opponents is still fun. Undead roam your way, you whack your bat or wrench and pry her head open. Or strike a heavy blow to his legs: his knee will be torn in two. The zombie falls to the ground and with the sole of your shoe you can open its skull.
If the zombie gets a little too close, you can dodge it with a well-timed dodge. He stumbles a little above his feet and then it’s time for the counter. Bam, ram that spear in his head! There are few things as satisfying as utterly crushing this stupid enemy. Later, you also unlock a block to counter attacks, as well as a whole host of other skills that often reward you for the way you kill zombies.
It feels great, but not cool enough to keep you interested in the full game. At some point, you’ve watched those petty fights with all those slashing corpses, and you’d prefer to quickly get through them on your way from one mission to the next. There isn’t enough contrast in the enemies, so it quickly starts to feel like a foul business. Give zombies an explosive vest, an exploding battery, or make them a little faster, but they’re still dumb zombies. Dodge, swat, smash: the jig stays the same. Interesting new monsters were only introduced in the last few hours of the game, but that’s actually too late.
So you should mainly look for diversity within yourself, in the many different weapons you can use. All over the world you’ll find rafters, rafters, golf clubs, and samurai swords, to name a few. You can then upgrade them in the workbench, for example, to make them do fire damage, or to make them hit harder, so that zombies fly faster.
These weapons will break if you hit them for too long, but have enough room in your inventory to always have a weapon on hand. In addition, you can fix them in workbenches with a small amount, so you don’t have to do without your favorite racket. You can even settle for a slightly larger amount, while still keeping the first lead pipe strong enough to last the entire game.
Unfortunately, your creativity is limited to what the game comes up with for you. You can’t pick up everything to hit, which makes the game less exciting than Dead Rising, for example. There is also little damage that could be done in the area. Your first visit to the music room in the luxury Villa Bel-Air is a huge letdown: pianos can’t be broken and you can’t pick up guitars to hit zombies with a sensitive string.
The environments are full of opportunities to creatively attack your opponents. There may be live wire in the pool and you can electrocute swimming zombies. Or you see gasoline pouring out of the car, and you can easily blow it up with a grenade. They are beautiful trips, but unfortunately you cannot make these kinds of traps yourself. You have to do what the developers came up with for you.
The game isn’t particularly impressive graphically – especially the facial expressions are stiff and look dated. On the other hand, the different neighborhoods in Los Angeles – sorry, Hell-A – look just fine. From luxury villas in Bel Air to beach and movie studio visits, the sunny resort is a nice place to spend a few hours. By the way, this is not a big open world, but small pieces that you explore in an hour or two. Fortunately, there are quite a few side missions to distract yourself with, so you don’t explode into the game too quickly.
You can also choose to experience the adventure in co-op, although we didn’t try that out. With a maximum of three players, it’s always fun to play mindlessly, but that doesn’t necessarily make the game any better.
We probably shouldn’t have expected more from a game that was first announced in 2014 and has since gone through three different development studios. The game feels dated, with little creativity and destruction in environments and text that was already a decade old.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. Dead Island 2 isn’t that good, but it’s fun. It’s like playing a bad B-movie: you sob your way to it, but eventually you kind of develop a soft spot for it.
Dead Island will be available on April 21st on PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Series X | S and PC. For this review, the game has been tested on PlayStation 5.
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