Dead Island 2 - Not an Island

CriticalGaming

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California is not an island. That's all I'm gonna say about that.

Anyway Dead Island 2 has come out after 12 years and three separate development studios. The sequel to Techland's 2011 zombie melee FPS is finally out and it's you know....more of the same I guess. Dead Island 1 had a level of satire and unseriousness to the whole thing that I think Techland didn't really want because they broke away to make their own game which was basically the same in all concepts but with a far more serious tone in Dying Light.

DI2 keeps the satire and doubles down on the zombie carnage. So the game is an FPS game based almost entirely on melee weapons made from makeshift shit you find lying around. Things like wrenches, poles, pipes, hatchets, etc etc. These weapons all have different aspects to them such as pipes having more impact damage when you hit a zombie with them which makes the zombie stagger more, or blades which will cut zombie parts off and dealing more raw damage in general. I would say that the different weapons allow you to specialize your play style but that's not really the case. Due to the RPG-like numbers game being played here you'll just use whatever weapon does the most damage in most situations and not think about anything beyond that.

Unfortunately my favorite thing in the world of video games, weapon durability, makes a heavy return here however it's not nearly as bad as Breath of the Wild's horseshit. This is due to a couple of reasons, mainly even the crappiest weapons will last you a good ten minutes of zombie bashing before breaking, and better weapons can beat zombies for so long that when they finally break you'll have forgotten that they even COULD break. The final thing is that at any workbench in the game you can repair your favorite weapons, meaning you don't ever have to give up a weapon you like. Even better there is a Level-match system which allows you to bring your favorite low-level weapons up to your current level so they never go obsolete. Additionally the crafting bench allows you to add attachments and mods to weapons such as a zapper which builds up lightning on zombies and will stun them after a few hits.

But the most entertaining aspect of DI2 is the sheer playground aspect of how you can kill zombies. See zombies in a pool? Throw a battery into the water and watch them fry. Hitting a propane tank will send it rocketing off like a missile, hit a zombie with it and KABOOM. Even your weapons can have combinations, throw a water balloon on a zombie then hit him with your shock weapon and enjoy. Zombie standing by a window? Running dropkick his ass out the window then.

There is a lot of mayhem to be had. However there are a few problems with the combat. Because you are in first person it can be hard to keep track of zombies around you if you get swarmed, plus your melee swings can sometimes be disorientating. The game also vastly swings between no challenge at all, to super zombie swarm ridiculously hard which is really jarring. The dropkick is overpowered as it instantly knocks a zombie down which means anytime you are fighting only 1 or 2 zombies at a time, you can drop kick them and beat them to death as they try to get up, putting you in zero danger. But this tactic doesn't work when they throw a swarm at you because there are too many and the dropkick also knocks you down for a second.

The characters themselves are fun and the narrative is cheek enough to be amusing most of the time though. The game strikes me as a fun game to turn on for an hour or two and just bash some zombies around, then move on to something else. While the carnage can be fun, there is also still a level of janky that layers over the game like a thin level of sludge. Moments of cool zombie kills are tainted by a game that's really just average. There is nothing I can point at directly and call outright bad, but there is also nothing great about the game either. It's alright.

Dead Island 2 is the definition of "Mid". Which honestly is a lot better than I thought it would be considered the development cycle of that game, and maybe that's a win for someone.
 

BrawlMan

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Dead Island 2 is the definition of "Mid". Which honestly is a lot better than I thought it would be considered the development cycle of that game, and maybe that's a win for someone.
I never been too big on the slang "mid" or shortening of the word middle. It's too lazy of a slang, to describe something that is average or middle of the road. I'll pick this game up at some point, but we all know it's literally just a 360/PS3 game that was supposed to be on PS4, but got moved to PS5 and stayed on last generation consoles. If your zombie game is better than most of the zombie crap that came out throughout the early 2010s and 2013, and better than Dead Rising 4, then it's good in my books. I know my older brother is probably going to pick this up at some point, and I'll just go over to his place and play it. Next time developers, put Dead Island 3 on an actual island. Hell, have it take place in Michigan and be on Mackinac Island. In fact, it don't even have to be a sequel, it could be a spin-off or DLC title.
 
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hanselthecaretaker

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I only know this island because I make a couple of coffee mugs for the gift shops there.
It would be fun to set this type of game there because it’s a pretty unique place that is small enough to probably scale 1:1 or even half and not get boring. A fairly upscale resort/vacation island with no vehicles allowed except emergency, so either walking, biking, or horse carriage is how people get around. It has a nicely paved loop around it by the lake, which would be cool for time trials or some shit, some decent elevation and geography, plus a big old fancy hotel for indoor horror and mayhem ala “The Shining”.


@BrawlMan you might just be onto something here! Maybe a future DLC. I could also imagine a winter setting on tricked out snow deathmobiles with chainsaw blades on the tracks or something. Think of how much all that zombie blood spilling on the snow would pop visually.
 
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thebobmaster

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So...the game devs have defended setting the game in LA despite the title, saying that because of the quarantine and army and such, it's a metaphorical island. Talk about your stretches.
 

CriticalGaming

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So...the game devs have defended setting the game in LA despite the title, saying that because of the quarantine and army and such, it's a metaphorical island. Talk about your stretches.
To be fair, it would be hard to plop the setting onto another Island without it feeling just a copy of the first game. So I "get it", badly chosen names are still bad though.
 

thebobmaster

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To be fair, it would be hard to plop the setting onto another Island without it feeling just a copy of the first game. So I "get it", badly chosen names are still bad though.
I understand as well. I just feel like it's a cop-out, like "she breathes through her skin". Just admit you wanted to do something different, even if it goes against the title. I respect honesty more than half-assed justifications.

ETA: An example of "don't even bother justifying it", for example, was a webcomic author who was asked why the female lizard anthros he drew had breasts when reptiles lack such characteristics. His answer? "I like boobs."
 
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CriticalGaming

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ETA: An example of "don't even bother justifying it", for example, was a webcomic author who was asked why the female lizard anthros he drew had breasts when reptiles lack such characteristics. His answer? "I like boobs."
Seems like a cool guy :)
 

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So...the game devs have defended setting the game in LA despite the title, saying that because of the quarantine and army and such, it's a metaphorical island. Talk about your stretches.
To be fair, it would be hard to plop the setting onto another Island without it feeling just a copy of the first game. So I "get it", badly chosen names are still bad though.
Like I said before, they should have just called it Dead California/LA and moved on.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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I understand as well. I just feel like it's a cop-out, like "she breathes through her skin". Just admit you wanted to do something different, even if it goes against the title. I respect honesty more than half-assed justifications.

ETA: An example of "don't even bother justifying it", for example, was a webcomic author who was asked why the female lizard anthros he drew had breasts when reptiles lack such characteristics. His answer? "I like boobs."
The George Kamitani gambit.
 

meiam

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To be fair, it would be hard to plop the setting onto another Island without it feeling just a copy of the first game. So I "get it", badly chosen names are still bad though.
Isn't mostly just copying the first one? I watched a bit of a lets play of it, and it was shockingly similar.

Honestly if they were going to make change, moving from island to peninsula (Gasp!) while keeping everything else the same is the wrong way to do it, imo. Better to keep the island concept and set it on a different type of island. Maybe one close to the pole for some cold based gameplay (freeze enemy, need to keep body temp up). How about one with an erupting volcano in the middle?
 
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BrawlMan

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Honestly if they were going to make change, moving from island to peninsula (Gasp!) while keeping everything else the same is the wrong way to do it, imo. Better to keep the island concept and set it on a different type of island. Maybe one close to the pole for some cold based gameplay (freeze enemy, need to keep body temp up). How about one with an erupting volcano in the middle?
Ohhhhh how about "Dead isLAnd 2" !?
You both put more thought into it, than either of all three developers.
 
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CriticalGaming

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You both put more thought into it, than either of all three developers.
I dont envy the devs trying to make a game that got shuffled around between studios like this. The fact that the game isnt a buggy pile of shit is a miracle tbh.

And even though this game is very 6/10, that is still far better than most other games developed through the same turmoil. For that i have to give it a little bit of credit.
 

meiam

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Well apparently its doing relatively well for lower tier AAA game. I might play it one day, but it seems like a "wishlist until -50-75%" kinda game. Still happy for the dev, hopefully they recoup the cost from the crazy development hell it went trough.
 

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This seems to be one of those "we waited x amount of years for this?" kinds of games.

The final thing is that at any workbench in the game you can repair your favorite weapons, meaning you don't ever have to give up a weapon you like. Even better there is a Level-match system which allows you to bring your favorite low-level weapons up to your current level so they never go obsolete. Additionally the crafting bench allows you to add attachments and mods to weapons such as a zapper which builds up lightning on zombies and will stun them after a few hits.
God, this should be implemented on every zombie survival game, or any games with breakable weapons for that matter! Actually, it should've been part of BOTW in the first place. I am playing BOTW for the first time and I am dreading the weapons breaking all the time!

It seems that nearly all zombie games are geared towards fun mayhem, or co-op play because of course things are better when playing with friends. Rarely do I see serious stories being told. The only examples I can think of are TLOU and Days Gone, and even those have their issues. TTG tried with The Walking Dead, and it eventually fell apart. So could it be telling a serious, gritty, "what makes us human" type of story nearly impossible for zombie games?
 

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So could it be telling a serious, gritty, "what makes us human" type of story nearly impossible for zombie games?
It's not so much as nearly impossible, such as oversaturation, zombies being a goofy and unrealistic premise to begin with, and nearly every other zombie story being more up their ass than George A. Romero ever could.



 
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