Hands-on: Dead Island 2 – Gamescom 2022

I can’t believe I’m typing this but I finally played Dead Island 2. After years of delays and some different developers, Dead Island 2 finally is real and is releasing this February. It was the biggest surprise of the Gamescom Opening Night Live and after playing it, I’m convinced this will live up to its hype.

Dropped into the action

Before I could play the game, the team gave me some details of where I was in the game. The demo is one of the later levels but due to its more linear design, the team thought it formed the perfect playground for a short Gamescom demo. Although the level itself is quite linear, it’s packed with zombies. Dead Island 2 doesn’t want you to go from one point to another, preparing for some zombies you’ll eventually have to defeat. No, in Dead Island 2, you’re dropped straight into the action and you’re constantly surrounded by zombies. No time to catch a breath here, if you want to stay alive, you better fight for it. Since the demo is rather deep in the game we had access to several amazing weapons and boy did we need those! The hordes of zombies aren’t exactly easy to take down but even in some of the more difficult sections I never stopped having fun.



A big part of that fun are the weapons, weapons that could inflict some serious damage. I had access to some classic such as a katana, pistol and automatic rifle but things got really interesting when I discovered my fire-ax, electric wolverine claws or my Shaolin fighting rod. The weapons in Dead Island 2 are clearly hand-crafted and the emphasis lies on melee weapons. Guns and ammo are hard to find so if you want to defeat the zombies, you’ll need to get close and personal. To keep the action as entertaining as possible, the team really went all out when it comes to dismemberment of the human body. If you slice through an arm with your katana, the arm will fall off, do the same with the legs and you made your enemy a lot slower. Each weapon has a charged attack and special attack which inflicts some crucial and cinematic damage to your enemy. Combining those special and heavy attacks with normal melee attacks often form the path to victory but it’s never easy to survive. During my demo, I got introduced to different types of zombies, which made it a lot harder to adapt and survive.

Different zombies

My demo took place on the iconic Santa Monica Pier where a zombie clown was causing trouble. I was tasked to retrieve a certain blood bag but had to get past tons of zombies in order to get there. At first, I was fighting regular zombies but to more I advanced, the crazier it all got. I faced with sprinting zombies, toxic shooting zombies, zombies that could use electricity as a weapon, and some tank-like zombies that could send shockwaves all over the place when the Hulk smashed the floor. Where other games in the genre would introduce these types at a slower pacing and let you face off with them one on one, Dead Island 2 brings a real challenge by throwing different types of zombies at you all at once. If you want to survive a situation like that, you’ll need to use your weapons to their best abilities, switch between melee and guns and don’t forget to heal and search for items that could come in handy in your environment. This all happens in a first-person perspective and since your character is rather agile, it’s all pretty fast-paced and dynamic. It took the developers years to create this experience but this is by far the most challenging and fun zombie game I played recently.



Early conclusion:

This is the one we’ve been waiting for. Dead Island 2 is way better than I would have hoped for after all of those years and I can’t wait to see what kind of crazy zombie madness the team has in stores for us. This one is very high on my most-wanted list!