Dead Island 2 Eyes-On Preview [E3 2014]

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Four different characters, each with their own individual classes and skills, were shown in loading screens, but only one was used in this demonstration. It also wasn’t made clear as to who it was, although that might’ve been intentional. Being that this was such an early build, we were told to expect placeholders and repetitive zombie types. In fact, a non-immune bus driver who acts as an ally in the game, along with his mo-capped cat (yes, you read that right), wasn’t even a part of what we saw. A placeholder NPC was there instead.

The playthrough was surprisingly lengthy, and gave us a good taste of what to expect, that being a much improved take on the Dead Island series’ addictive first-person RPG action, wherein players are never safe. Zombies can now break down doors if given enough time, and come in different varieties, ranging from the recently deceased (complete with working muscles) to former long-term cemetery residents. Their AI is better, too, as they react to sounds and can be lured into traps as a result.

Other new features that were either shown or talked about included arrows and blades that stick into foes’ bodies, the ability to punt the undead into the air, and dual-wielded weaponry. That’s not all, though, as human enemies also exist this time around, in the form of thieving rangers, and can be taken out by unleashing zombies upon them. And, if that’s not enough to excite you, there’s going to be some sort of 8-player co-op mode, too.

Dead Island 2‘s new location — a representation of the state of California, which has been blocked off from the rest of the United States due to its high rates of infection — also looks very promising. It’s full of colour and North American charm, and comes with all of the sunlight that you could ever want.

Given the criticism that was levied against Techland’s first two Dead Island games, I figure that my excitement regarding the series’ spring 2015 return likely isn’t shared by a ton of others. I truly hope it is, though, because even though most of what I saw from Dead Island 2 was around a year old, it still managed to make me extremely happy.

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